Sotheby's readies for Old Masters Week auctions
It’s back to business for Sotheby’s as it prepares for its consistently remarkable, rich and exhaustive annual Old Masters Week auctions, which takes place between January 29th and February 3rd in New York.
The auction house will be offering a considerable number of works of art from luminaries that dominated the world of art between the fourteenth and nineteenth centuries, cementing their names forevermore in the history books.
This includes the Venetian maestro Francesco Guardi; the German painter Hans Memling; the Italian master Giovanni Battista Tiepolo; the iconic J.M.W. Turner; the legendary Peter Paul Rubens; and, among other brilliant visionaries, the commanding El Greco.
Of particular note in this auction is Christ Blessing, which had been executed by Memling. The panel had only been discovered early in 2012, having remained in the same New England collection for over 150 years.
The painting was simply not known to scholars, making it a remarkable find. As such, Sotheby’s invested a considerable amount of time painstakingly authenticating the work, after which they concluded that it was certainly composed in a manner unique to Memling.
This judgement was made by Francois De Poortere, an expert at Sotheby’s, who, after making his own examinations, discussed the matter further with leading academics including Til-Holger Borchert, chief curator at Musea Brugge in Belgium; Peter van den Brink, director at Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen in Germany; and Dr Maryan W. Ainsworth, curator of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
All agreed that the portrait of Christ was authentic and could therefore be attributed to Memling, who is viewed as being one of the leading artists of the northern renaissance.
Other highlights of the sale include the portrait of Mariano Goya, The Artist’s Grandson, assumed to be one of the last ever paintings produced by the Spanish artist.
Estimated to sell for between $6 million to $8 million (approximately £3.7 million to £5 million), the serene masterpiece has been out of the public eye for nearly 60 years, and would greatly benefit from being showcased by its new owners.
Another dynamic offering comes from the Italian high baroque artist Pietro Testa. Aeneas on the Bank of the River Styx draws heavily from Virgil’s Latin epic poem Aeneid, which also served as a story of his own eventful life. Its pre-sale estimate is $3 million to $6 million (£1.9 million to £3.7 million).
True to form, Sotheby’s has collated a commanding sale of Old Master works. Such an auction should see it start the new year with the kind of vigour that will set a standard for everything to come in 2013.
Cadogan Tate specialises in art transportation, fine art storage and art logistics, helping galleries, museums and collectors manage their collections.