On 5th June, Sothebys
will sell the original receipt from the Spanish artist Francisco Goya for Flight of the Witches, the painting which featured in the Danny Boyle film Trance, starring James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Sothebys Deputy Chairman Lord Mark Poltimore, who plays the chief auctioneer at fictional auction house Delancys. The receipt, dated Madrid, 27 June 1798, and in Goyas hand, reveals that the artist received payment of six thousand reales for a celebrated series of six oil paintings about witches and witchcraft including "Vuelo de brujas" (Flight of the Witches).
The six works were either commissioned by Goya's patrons the Duke and Duchess of Osuna, or purchased by them very soon afterwards. All six remained at Alameda de Osuna until 1896, when the ducal palace and its library was sold by public auction. Flight of the Witches is now in the collection of the Prado museum in Madrid. The Old Master painting featured in Boyles art heist movie Trance, which was released earlier this year. In a dramatic auction scene, the work, which is subsequently stolen, is sold for £27.5 million. Mark Poltimore brings the hammer down on the tiny work, to a round of stunned applause from the saleroom audience.
The other five works in Goyas series include Bewitched by Force ("El hechizado por fuerza" or "La lámpara del diablo"), which is held in the National Gallery in London. Two of the other paintings are in the Fundación Lázaro Galdiano in Madrid: "El Aquelarre" ("The Witches' Sabbath") and "El Conjuro o Las Brujas" ("The Spell"). The two remaining have been tentatively identified as "La cocina de las brujas" ("The Witches' Kitchen"), in a private collection, and "El convidado de piedra" ("The Stone Guest"), which is apparently untraced.
The receipt is estimated to achieve £25,000-30,000 in Sothebys London Music and Manuscripts Sale.
Mark Poltimore commented: I cant promise the kind of fireworks we saw in the Trance saleroom, but Im sure well see our own auction drama as collectors vie for such a compelling piece of art history. Works from Goyas fantastical witchcraft series are held by some of the worlds greatest museums and here we have an intimate record of their transition from the artists studio into the hands of his patrons.