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Sotheby's to sell original receipt for Goya painting in Danny Boyle's art heist movie Trance
The receipt is estimated to achieve £25,000-30,000 in Sotheby’s London Music and Manuscripts Sale. Photo: Sotheby's.

LONDON.- On 5th June, Sotheby’s 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 Sotheby’s Deputy Chairman Lord Mark Poltimore, who plays the chief auctioneer at fictional auction house Delancy’s. The receipt, dated Madrid, 27 June 1798, and in Goya’s 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 Boyle’s 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 Goya’s 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 Sotheby’s London Music and Manuscripts Sale.

Mark Poltimore commented: “I can’t promise the kind of fireworks we saw in the Trance saleroom, but I’m sure we’ll see our own auction drama as collectors vie for such a compelling piece of art history. Works from Goya’s fantastical witchcraft series are held by some of the world’s greatest museums and here we have an intimate record of their transition from the artist’s studio into the hands of his patrons.”

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