Sunday, 2 March 2014

Upcoming Auctions

The Seeger Collection at Sotheby's next week is a huge and diverse sale ranging from fossils to Nelson's teapot and Orson Welles' own copy of the Citizen Kane script. My choice would be three splendid sculptures: an extraordinary tenth century English relief (est. £70k - £100k); a sixteenth century Florentine Hercules and Antaeus with a bargain estimate of £30k - £50k, pictured above; and an outstanding and wonderfully rude Paduan bronze oil lamp (below, £80k - £120k). This tiny masterpiece was previously attributed to Riccio (as were all good Paduan bronzes at some time or other), and is now anonymous. It's worth clicking the link and zooming in - you can really appreciate its magnificent quality in the high-resolution online image. The rest is rather mixed, but I also love these propaganda posters.
Sotheby's is selling this wonderful Landscape with a Coach by Philips Koninck in a print sale later this month, printed on vellum and enlivened with wash (estimate £10k - £15k). I went to the British Museum last week to see their Koninck prints and drawings. Landscape with a Coach is by far my favourite. I look forward to seeing the Rembrandt prints at Sotheby's and Christie's, the latter including a good impression of his great landscape The Three Trees.
Virgin swooning rescued by the holy women
Christie's Old Master Drawings sale in Paris includes a highly finished drawing by Polidoro de Caravaggio study for The Road to Calvary (above), related to Raphael's Lo Spassimo, now in the Prado. It's estimated at €150k - €250k. Such a rare, important and imposing drawing could go for much more; there aren't many opportunities to buy important Raphael school drawings this visually stunning. But lots of really good old master drawings sell for (relatively) peanuts. I particularly like this sheet with two drawings by Raphael's collaborator Perino del Vaga, estimated at €4,500 - €6,500. To put that in context, Bonham's is selling a particularly unattractive Lowry drawing with an estimate of £70k - £100k. 

Christie's also has a superb sixteenth century Venetian Head of a Bearded Man is estimated at €20k - €30k, pastels by Jean Valade and Maurice-Quentin de la Tour, and a charming dog by Oudry. But the real treat is later in the year, when they start selling the private collection of former head of the Amsterdam printroom I. Q. von Regteren Altena including a major early Rubens and twenty drawings by Jacques de Gheyn II, a great draughtsman who is poorly represented in British collections.

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