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    Sale 2157

    European Furniture, Works of Art, Tapestries and Carpets

    16 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1

    A PAIR OF ITALIAN CARVED GILTWOOD FIGURES OF ANGELS

    18TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF ITALIAN CARVED GILTWOOD FIGURES OF ANGELS
    18TH CENTURY
    Each in mid-flight and with open arms
    35 in. high (89 cm.), approximately (2)


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    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PROFESSOR AND MRS. CLIFFORD AMBROSE TRUESDELL

    The severely restrained facade of Il Palazzetto, the Truesdell House in Baltimore, gives little away. But stepping within its confines immediately recalls another era - the late 19th and early 20th century, when American buyers such as J. P. Morgan, Henry Clay Frick, and Samuel Kress were assembling great works of art. Connoisseurship was an essential skill for building such a collection, something acquired only by spending hours examining the objects themselves-an almost non-existent luxury in this day and age-and a skill that was clearly put to use in forming this extraordinary collection of Italian, French, Dutch and English works of art. The collector, Professor Clifford Ambrose Truesdell, was himself extraordinary - an enfant terrible in the field of mathematics, an expert on baroque music, and an accomplished humanities scholar who spoke six languages and read classical Greek and Latin. He was, quite simply, a Renaissance man.

    Professor Truesdell embraced enlightened European culture and lifestyle. Il Palazetto was a majestic stage set comprising impressive Italian, French, Dutch and English paintings, bronzes, enamels and furniture from the 16th through the 18th centuries. His love of Italy was no doubt entwined with the fact that he won all of the top Italian awards in his field, and his personal papers are now in the Library of the University of Pisa. His Italian furniture - either bold and curvaceous, silvered and gilt, or restrained early walnut forms - formed a staggering backdrop for his Renaissance and Baroque paintings and bronzes. Among the highlights are a late 16th century walnut center table with boldly carved lion's mask monopodia and a silvered stand that spills carved leaves from the stretcher, illustrating the exhuberance of Baroque Rome.

    The hallmark of a truly enlightened collector was the possession of a cabinet to hold the smallest, and often most precious items. The Dutch oyster-veneered cabinet on stand is one of the best examples of work produced in Amsterdam in the late 17th century. Its etched mirrored glass panels and architectural interior create a sophisticated backdrop for these objects and is an object to be coveted in is own right.

    These European masterpieces were complimented by a fascinating group of English furniture with notable examples of 17th century marquetry and walnut, as well as mid-Georgian carved giltwood which will be offered in the 7 April sale of Important English furniture. Professor Truesdell disdained 'modern' conversational settings and chose to be faithful to Georgian precedents, formally aligning the furniture around the perimeter of each room

    The Truesdell furniture and works of art form a rare group-long after many similar collections have been scattered-and, having remained off the market for more than 40 years, they present buyers with a tremendously exciting opportunity to acquire the rare and the fantastic.

    PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF PROFESSOR AND MRS. CLIFFORD AMBROSE TRUESDELL
    (LOTS 1-43)