New York – Christie’s announces Classic Week in New York, which brings together seven auctions featuring 19th century European Art, Old Master paintings and Antiquities. Three distinguished private collections will be offered in dedicated sales: the Desmarais Collection of fine and decorative art; the G. Sangiorgi Collection of important and rare ancient gems; and the Estate of Lila & Herman Shickman’s 19th century European and Old Master paintings. The exhibitions at Christie’s Rockefeller Center Galleries open to the public on April 25, and the auctions will take place April 29 – May 1.
This season features a remarkable selection of fresh to market works from private collections including Old Masters from the dealer Richard Feigen and the artist Frank Stella. Among the works with imperial connections on offer include Jacques-Louis David’s The Distribution of the Eagle Standards commissioned by Napoleon; Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s portrait of Madame du Barry, the last mistress of King Louis XV of France; a Roman amethyst intaglio with a portrait of Demosthenes, a rare masterpiece signed by Dioskourides, the chief gem engraver for Emperor Augustus, and a Roman marble portrait bust of Emperor Didius Julianus.
Masterpieces in Minature: Ancient Engraved Gems formerly in the G. Sangiorgi Collection | April 29 at 10am
The sale comprises 40 lots of the most sought-after cameos and intaglios from one of the most celebrated collections still in private hands spanning from the 16th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. A major highlight in this sale includes The Roman black chalcedony intaglio portrait of Antinous (circa 130-138 A.D.), one of the finest gems still in existence. Other highlights within this sale include exceptional pieces from the Marlborough collection (1765-1875), including a Roman Sardonyx Cameo with a draped bust of Julio-Claudian Prince (circa early 1st century A.D.), and The Roman Sardonyx Cameo of Medusa (circa 1st century A.D.). Rounding out this sale of timeless and ancient artifacts is the Roman Amethyst Intaglio with a portrait of Demosthenes (circa late 1st century B.C.).
Antiquities | April 29 at 11am
Leading the Antiquities sale is a Roman marble portrait bust of Emperor Didius Julianus from 193 A.D. which has everything collectors desire; it is in suburb condition; it has original surface polish; it has prestigious provenance from the collection of the late Patrick A. Doheny; and it has been published since the 1950s. Another top lot of the sale is an Egyptian limestone group statue for Sa-Userwy and his son Sen-Min from the Middle Kingdom, circa 1878-1750 B.C. from a private Belgian collection. The sale features property from a Princely Collection which is led by The Portalegre Bracelet; a magnificent gold bracelet from the end of the European Bronze Age and perhaps the only example of its type still in private hands. From the same collection comes a selection of Egyptian works including an alabaster jar and a serpentine cylinder seal, both from the Old Kingdom, and a green-glazed steatite commemorative scarab for Amenhotep III from the New Kingdom. Among the Greek works offered is an exquisite gold lion head pendant which is on par with the finest work from the Classical period. Vases featured in the sale are an Attic red-figured Nolan Amphora attributed to the Alkimachos painter, circa 470-460 B.C. and an Attic red-figured Column-Krater attributed to the Pig Painter, circa 475-465 B.C.
European Art | April 30 at 2pm
The European Art sale features a strong selection of Barbizon school paintings led by a late snowy landscape by Gustave Courbet, Le chasseur d'eau, which was formerly in the Havemeyer collection. Other notable Barbizon school pictures include six works by Jean-Baptise-Camille Corot and two exceptional paintings by Léon Augustin Lhermitte. The top lot of the sale is William Adolphe Bouguereau’s L’Attente, depicting a female figure inspired by antiquity, a motif Bouguereau was famed for throughout his career. Additional sale highlights include Henri Gervex’s Une séance du jury de peinture – étude, a study for the artist’s Salon entry of 1885 which is in the collection of the Musée d'Orsay, as well as Giovanni Boldini’s, L’amica del marchese, one of a series of intricately detailed paintings inspired by the artist’s visit to Versailles in 1875. The sale also includes a selection of British paintings, led by George Clausen’s important Holiday Time of 1885, which has not been exhibited publicly for more than 125 years. The cover lot of the catalogue is Louis Marie de Schryver’s beautiful Marchand de fleurs, la rue du Havre, Paris, an outstanding example of de Schryver’s paintings of Parisian flower sellers which was painted at the height of his career.
The Desmarais Collection: A pied-à-terre in New York | April 30 at 10am
The Desmarais Collection: A pied-à-terre in New York encompasses a remarkable selection of furniture, paintings and porcelain from the distinguished Canadian couple Paul and Jacqueline Desmarais, which was decorated by the internationally acclaimed interior designer Juan Pablo Molyneux. Comprised of more than 150 lots of 18th and 19th century European furniture and Sèvres porcelain, highlights in this collection include: A Louis XVI Ormoulu-Mounted Bois Satine, Amaranth, Sycamor and Marquetry Commmode by Jean-Henri Riesener, as well as a A Sevres Porcelain Bleu Celeste Taillandier Ornithological Part Dessert Service. In addition to the beautiful porcelains and decorative pieces in this collection, this sale also features French paintings, including François Boucher’s Vénus et les Amours and Élisabeth-Louise Vigée le Brun’s Portrait of a young girl, half-length.
Old Masters | May 1 at 10am
The Old Masters sale features works from the personal collection of renowned and influential art dealer Richard Feigen featuring early Italian and Baroque paintings, as well as 18th century British landscapes. The collection includes Annibale Carracci’s important early work, The Virgin and Child with Saint Lucy and the Young Saint John the Baptist; Lorenzo Monaco’s The Prophet Isaiah, a gold-ground tondo originally belonging to his celebrated altarpiece in the Accademia, Florence; Guercino’s Vanitas Still Life, the only known still life by the artist; and John Constable’s double-sided sketch, The Skylark, Dedham, with a Study of a Cow Standing in a Stream on the reverse. The sale also features one of the most exciting Dutch Golden Age paintings to appear on the market in years; Double-portrait of a husband and wife, half-length, seated at table, playing tables by Jan Sanders van Hemessen sold from the collection of Frank Stella. Two exciting rediscoveries are offered at auction for the first time: Jacques-Louis David’s The Distribution of the Eagle Standards, is a modello for the artist’s important and monumental work commissioned by Napoleon, which X-rays reveal insight on his artistic process with the reworking and removal of Empress Josephine, as well as an angel swooping above, from the final painting now residing in Versailles. One of the most remarkable tales of rediscovery in modern art history is Hans Baldung Grien’s Lot and his daughters, a work known to scholars since the early 20th century, as having been cut into fragments, three of which have been reunited and shown together here for the first time since their dissemination. Works by Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, Fra Bartolomeo and Joos van Cleve round out the highlights.
Old Master Paintings and Sculpture | May 1 at 2pm
The Old Master Paintings and Sculpture sale includes a wide array of works created between the 14th to the 19th centuries and offered at accessible price points. Highlights include sculptor Ridolfo Schadow’s newly discovered Neoclassical masterwork, The Sandal Binder; a rare still life by the 17th-century Spanish painter, Blas de Ledesma; a striking Judith and Holofernes by the Milanese woman artist, Fede Galizia; a rediscovered canvas showing The Rape of Europe by Michele Desubleo; a pair of polychrome wood reliefs attributed to Hans Klocker and his workshop; a set of four farmyard scenes from the collection of Tommy Hilfiger; and a freely painted pair of oil sketches of the children of the Earl of Derby by George Romney. The sale will begin with a group of nineteen works from a distinguished private collection, which are offered without reserve.
Masterworks from the Estate of Lila & Herman Shickman | May 1 at 11am
Masterworks from the Estate of Lila & Herman Shickman offers a carefully comprised collection from one of the greatest American art dealers of the 20th century encompassing 15 works Old Master and 19th century European paintings. The collection is led by two still-life masterpieces; Juan van der Hamen y Léon’s Still life with flowers and fruit, one of the most important Spanish still-lifes remaining in private hands; and Luis Meléndez’s Still life with artichokes and tomatoes in a landscape. Additional top lots include still-lives by Willem Kalf and Abraham Mignon, and Two studies of the head of a young man from the studio of Sir Peter Paul Rubens, which had been on loan at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A standout example of the 19th century works is Jean-François Raffaëlli’s Notre Dame et le quai de la Tournelle, which captures the spectacle of fin-de-siècle society in the French capital.
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