Peregrination of a Pearl
2011 SOLD 11.8 M$ including premium
It entered quickly into the Spanish royal collection, where it was considered as the biggest pearl in the world. Pear-shaped, it was then weighing 223 grains.
Mary I of England, wife of Philip II of Spain, used it very elegantly as a pendant to a brooch. Philip IV of Spain preferred it as a hat pin. It went to France during the Spanish war of Joseph Bonaparte, and Napoleon III sold it to the English aristocracy.
This wandering pearl has been known for two centuries under the name La Peregrina. It lost twenty grains when it was reworked to improve the security of its setting.
Richard Burton bought it in 1969 at Sotheby's auction as a gift to Elizabeth Taylor.
It was mounted as pendant in a pearl necklace that did not please its new owners. Burton and Taylor then made designed by Cartier the magnificent necklace of pearls, rubies and diamonds, where it is again hanging as pendant.
This necklace, estimated $ 2M, is for sale on December 13 in New York by Christie's. It is illustrated in the article shared by Auction Central News.
POST SALE COMMENT
This is a new successful step in the fabulous history of the pearl. Sold $ 11.8 million including premium, its necklace achieved the highest result in one of the best jewelry sales in auction history: total $ 116M including premium for only 80 lots.
1500 Between Last Supper and Mona Lisa
2017 SOLD for $ 450M including premium
The picture shows Christ holding the orb of the world in his left hand and blessing with the raised fingers of his right hand. The mystical message without the divine attribute of the halo competes with the holy shrouds recognized as authentic at his time while adding attitude and gesture. The orb that prophesies the rescue of the world is a reflective crystal ball through which the viewer perceives the palm of the hand.
This painting had belonged to King Charles I of England. It was probably hanging in the private apartments of Queen Henriette who was born in the French royal family. Its previous whereabouts are unknown. A possible hypothesis is a French royal order during the Italian wars. King Louis XII was so impressed by the Last Supper that he wanted to take the wall to France.
The analyzes provided a lot of information on the realization and history of this painting. The perfection of the expression is concentrated in the lips and the gaze, anticipating the Mona Lisa. The mouth was drawn by the technique of pierced drawing used by other great masters of that time including Raphael and Andrea del Sarto. One of the eyes was softened by a spread of color pushed by the wrist of the artist.
Leonardo cared little for the supporting materials. The conservation woes of the Last Supper are famous. The original panel of Salvator Mundi was early split because of a knot in the wood. The accident caused awkward repainting on the face. Anonymous owners then extended these repaints to the point that only peripheral regions including the hands were still visible in their original quality.
All of that has been conscientiously repaired. Fortunately the sfumato remained in very good condition under the disagreeable layers that were removed. This signature Leonardo technique makes it possible to compare the Salvator Mundi with the Mona Lisa which is the culmination of his art. The perfectionist preparation of his paintings could last several years. A date around 1500 is plausible for the Salvator Mundi.
Christ the savior of the world by Leonardo, oil on panel 66 x 46 cm, will be sold by Christie's in New York on November 15, lot 9 B. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Simon Marmion's Successor
2014 SOLD 3.6 M$ including premium
Simon Marmion was one of the best manuscript illuminators of the second half of the fifteenth century. He managed a workshop in Valenciennes, in the County of Hainaut that went politically and artistically under Burgundian influence. When he died in 1489, Jan Provost married his widow and succeeded him.
On January 29 in New York, Christie's sells an Annunciation painted by Provost around the very first years of the sixteenth century. At that time, the artist had two workshops, in Bruges and Antwerp, and was a member of the guilds in both cities.
The Annunciation was a favorite theme of ancient painting, offering the opportunity to stage a friendly meeting between two young people, kind and charming. This one is much pleasant.
This oil on panel 52 x 40 cm has the anecdotal freshness of an illumination. We admire the detail of the angel wings treated naturalistically like the feathers of a bird, and the quality of the drawing of a small vase with flowers that anticipates by decades the importance of this theme in Flemish art.
The Annunciation is estimated $ 2M, lot 156 in the catalog.
POST SALE COMMENT
This very interesting painting from the Flemish Renaissance was sold for $ 3.6M including premium.
1504 Michelangelo's Lost Battle
2011 SOLD 3.2 M£ including premium
The theme was chosen: the epic battles of the Florentines against Pisa and Milan. Two large walls were entrusted to the best Italian artists of the period, Leonardo and Michelangelo.
The eldest, Leonardo, 54, chose a heroic scene of the battle of Anghiari, a terrible clash of riders for the control of a standard.
Michelangelo, 29, finds in the Battle of Cascina an excuse to show naked soldiers. Surprised by the enemy while they are bathing in the river, they take various attitudes justified by panic.
24 preparatory drawings for the Battle of Cascina are known. One of them, the only privately owned, is for sale by Christie's in London on July 5. It is a double sided sheet, 21 x 18 cm, estimated £ 3M.
This drawing in black chalk shows on the recto a muscular male back, illustrated on the release shared by AuctionPublicity. The verso includes interspersed sketches.
Michelangelo realized a cartoon of his project, but left almost immediately for Rome. The cartoon was destroyed. Leonardo began the fresco of Anghiari but failed to overcome the technical difficulties and gave up.
POST SALE COMMENT
Despite the fame of the artist, Christie's was able to find a fair estimate. This drawing was sold £ 3.2 million including premium.
1505 The Best Artists from Ghent and Bruges
2014 SOLD 13.6 M$ uncluding premium
One of these masterpieces is known as the Rothschild Prayerbook. It was sold for £ 8.6 million including premium at Christie's on July 8, 1999. It is estimated $ 12M, for sale by Christie 's in New York on January 29.
It is a book of hours for the use of Rome (meaning that is based on Roman liturgy), made around 1505 in Ghent or Bruges. In a small format 23 x 16 cm, this book with 252 leaves in luxurious vellum includes 67 large illustrations.
From an iconographic point of view, it is a fabulous collection of religious and liturgical scenes, showing in very fresh colors the life and customs of its time. Decorative borders offer an extended variety of topics.
The styles of these images clearly show that several workshops have co-operated, and comparison with other manuscripts and paintings can identify that it was made by the most renowned artists of their time. Their co-operation in such collective artworks was an extraordinary and unique business of which no direct witnessing has surfaced.
The main illustrators of the Rothschild Prayerbook were Gerard Horenbout who worked at Ghent and Alexander Bening, a member of the guilds of Bruges and Ghent. Simon Bening, son of Alexander, to whom a few images are attributed, will be the last great Flemish illuminator. The style of Gerard David, the leading painter in Bruges at that time, is recognized on several images.
POST SALE COMMENT
This masterpiece reaches once again a great price : $ 13.6M including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Christie's :
1506-1510 Notebook by Leonardo da Vinci, "Codex Leicester"
1994 SOLD 30.8 M$ including premium by Christie's
1508-1511 Raphael and the Vatican Muse
2009 SOLD 29.1 M£ including premium
The author of the work we are discussing today is Raphael, the youngest of the three. For five centuries, all the art critics have praised him and noted the perfection of his paintings. His works were the subject of preparatory drawings very sharp, detailed and contrasted, at the exact size he wanted for the final motif.
Knowing the above, we understand better why some drawings are composite, for example hand and head . But the black chalk drawing 30.5 x 22.2 cm that Christie's will sell in London on December 8 is more important.
This pretty young woman head with flying hair in full frame is a preparation for a character of a Muse. It still have the perforations made by the artist to project the outline through the paper on the frescoes of the Vatican (1508 to 1511). It is estimated 12 million pounds.
This sale passionates the press. Here are the articles shared by Bloomberg, by Guardian and by Telegraph.
POST SALE COMMENT
We were here in the presence of a real historical work, because of the role played by this drawing in the process of decoration of the Vatican.
The result is also historical from the point of view of auction.
Sold £ 29.1 million including premium, it is the world record for a work on paper, and the second highest price for a work of ancient art, according to the information provided by Christie's.
#Raphael was #BornOnThisDay in 1483. In 2009, we offered an auxiliary sketch by #Raphael. The drawing, one of the best of Raphael’s surviving sketches set a #WorldAuctionRecord for a work on paper at £29,161,250 https://t.co/GDloR0vDil pic.twitter.com/pfYMt2hbGe— Christie's (@ChristiesInc) April 6, 2019
1510 Cranach, Precursor of the Reformation
2012 SOLD 5.1 M$ including premium
Lucretia is the perfect synthesis of two opposite qualities designed to bring the best of the virtuosity of Cranach. She must be physically erotic, as her beauty has fueled the frenzy of the king's son. She must also be psychologically pure, since she could not survive the stain.
The oil on panel, 60 x 49 cm, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 26 is exceptional. The catalog describes two arguments for dating it circa 1510, so making it the earliest of the many Lucretias of Cranach.
On technical side, the support is a special assembly of strips of lime wood that has been produced during a very short period.
On image side, it is a very neat portrait with a flexible line, which anticipates the commercial versions executed on order. The heroine has a sad and stoic face at the precise moment when she drives the tip of the knife to her bare breast and when the first drop of blood flows almost imperceptibly.
This masterpiece is estimated $ 4M. Here is the link to the catalog.
Luther enters history in 1517. One can imagine that he was sensitive to the approach of this painter who glorified the virtues without referencing to the saints. Cranach became the best artist of the first generation of Lutheran reformers.
POST SALE COMMENT
The catalog was convincing: Sotheby's has assessed the importance of this painting in the work of Cranach the Elder. The result, $ 5.1 million including premium, is deserved.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1510 The Box of an Ottoman Gemologist
2010 SOLD 2.4 M£ including premium
The box is a useful object. In ancient Asia, if it was made for an emperor or a sultan, it could reach an incredible elegance.
Such a piece has just appeared on the market, for sale by Sotheby's in London on April 14. Its origin is located in Ottoman Turkey around the year 910 AH, 500 years ago. Its inscriptions indicate that it was designed to contain scales used for weighing gemstones.
Inlaid with ivory, turquoise and gold and set with rubies, this rectangular box, whose central part is illustrated in the press release shared by ArtDaily, is measuring 17.3 x 8.8 x 3.2 cm. Its partitioned ornamentation and refined vegetable motifs assess a combined influence of Ottoman art and of art of the Safavids, who just seized power in Persia. For this reason, it may be assumed that the craftsman who made it came from Tabriz.
Such a treasure, one of a kind, must yet have a price. It begins with an estimate of £ 500K.
POST SALE COMMENT
The most luxurious antiques have fervent fans. Result: £ 2.4 million including premium.
1511 The Altarpiece of a Saxon Donor
2012 SOLD 4.3 M£ including premium
The central panel, 88 x72 cm, shows St. Anne with the Virgin and Child. The external and internal panels of the wings, 91 x 33 cm, are showing saints along with a postmortem portrait of the donor.
These portraits are beautiful. All these characters have a strong psychological dimension, as we perfectly appreciate when revealing the artist: Lucas Cranach the elder, himself, perhaps without the participation of his studio. At that time, the master had doubtless already assimilated the influence of Raphael.
The arrangement of these five works in a folding triptych seems natural, yet it is unclear what was the original presentation. In the seventeenth century, they had been reframed as a single row. It is remarkable that they were never separated. The set is estimated £ 4M.
POST SALE COMMENT
Atypical lots are difficult to sell. Sold £ 4.3M including premium, this one remained just below its lower estimate.
I invite you to play the video in which Sotheby's has grouped this lot with a painting by Hans Baldung Grien.
Baldung Grien's painting presented in this video was sold £ 2.1 million including premium.
1516 Poems on planting bamboo by Li Dongyang
2019 SOLD for $ 4.6M including premium by Christie's
1517 Portrait of a Medalist
2016 SOLD for $ 3.25M including premium
Traces of raw wood indicate that this precious work had once a lid, for being used as a portable medallion. This structure is now quite rare, perhaps because such small pictures disappeared. A portrait of Melanchthon made by Holbein around 1530 retains its lid. The portable art was however common during the early Renaissance, including the folding religious triptychs.
The sitter is known: his name was Valerio Belli. He was a medalist and engraver of gems. His face is recognizable, with his Roman nose and broad eyebrows. In his left profile, hair and beard are similar as in a medal self-portrait inscribed Valerius Bellus Vicentinus.
The portrait on wood remained in Vicenza in the families of the medalist and of his executor until 1706. In 1643, the owner indicated a signature F.R. (fecit Raphael) which later disappeared but certainly cannot be a confusion with another painting in that inventory.
The authenticity of that signature by Raphael was not questioned at that time, 97 years after the death of Belli. This family tradition is also supported by an old handwritten inscription on the reverse of the wood indicating Fatto dell'ano 1517 in Rom(.) / Rafael Urbinate. No document proves that Raffaello Sanzio ever met Valerio Belli.
This portrait is considered by experts as an authentic work by Raphael of Urbino while being the only profile portrait by the master. It is estimated $ 2M. I invite you to watch the video shared by Sotheby's.