NEW YORK, NY.- Sothebys
sale of Old Master Drawings in New York on 29 January 2014 will present a rich survey of three and a half centuries of European drawings, particularly from the Italian and Netherlandish schools, during Old Masters Week. Leading the sale are two very different, yet equally magical images by Giandomenico Tiepolo, who captures the spirit of 18th century Venetian life like no other artist. Incontro al molo: a codega showing the way to a noble couple on a molo is a magnificent and superbly preserved drawing and one of the finest Venetian drawings of any type to have appeared on the market in a generation (est. $600/800,000). This amusing and delightful work, dated 1791, is one of the artists Scene di vita quotidiana and represents an elegantly dressed couple stepping out of their gondola onto a molo. The exhibition will open to the public on 25 January 2014 in our New York galleries.
Tiepolos Punchinello collapses on the road is one of an immensely lively and varied series of 104 drawings illustrating scenes from the life of Punchinello, the famous character from the Commedia dellArte (est. $400/600,000). These drawings are among the most celebrated and desirable of all the artists works This endlessly inventive series of drawings, though never bound, remained together and complete from the late 18th century until they were dispersed in the 1920s;only rarely do outstanding examples from the series such as this come on the market.
A further highlight of the sale is a rare work of immense power an oil on paper portrait sketch by the 16th century Sienese master, Domenico Beccafumi. Head of a bearded man seen in profile (est. $350/450,000) is a relatively new addition to Beccafumis small corpus of works in oil on paper, the majority of which are head studies. It featured in the recent exhibition, Renaissance Faces: Van Eyck to Titian, at the National Gallery, London.
From a lovely, small private collection, put together with great care, come several fine Italian drawings, including a rare, red and black chalk portrait of the playwright Ottaviano Castelli, drawn in the 1640s by the great Baroque sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini (est. $150/200,000). Bernini has used his favorite media, a combination of red and black chalk heightened with white, a technique which he seems to have used for the majority of these portrait drawings. Excluding selfportraits, the only other portrait drawings by Bernini whose sitters have been identified are the Portrait of Cardinal Scipione Borghese and the Portrait of Sisinio Poli, both in the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, and the Portrait of Pope Clement X, Altieri, in the Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig.
From a very different artistic milieu comes the beautiful pastel portrait by the Swiss master Jean-Etienne Liotard, depicting the rather dashing English gentleman Edward Tucker. Portrait of Edward Tucker, which has not been seen on the market since the 1930s, is one of the most refined and sophisticated of all Liotards depictions of English sitters, and is also one of the best preserved, even retaining what seems to be its original frame (est. $120/180,000).
The subject of Rinaldo and Armida (est. $80/120,000), taken from Torquato Tassos epic poem Gerusalemme liberata, was very popular in 17th and 18th century France, both in painting and in the theatre: Lullys 1686 opera was widely performed and revived, and the artist of the drawing, François Boucher, himself worked on the sets of the 1761 production, and possibly also on those of 1746 and 1747, at which time he was officially working for the Opéra. Boucher also chose this theme for his morceau de réception, the grand canvas, now in the Louvre, which he submitted to the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture following his election in January 1734. The present drawing is a wonderfully energetic and extremely well preserved example of Bouchers fully formed mature style.
Hans Bols Panoramic landscape with Thamar and Judith, within a decorative border (est. $60/80,000) is an extremely refined drawing and the study, in reverse, for the fifth plate in a series of 24 prints of similar compositions, executed by Adriaen Collaert after drawings by Hans Bol. None of the other drawings have come on the auction market in recent years, except one which was sold in New York in 2001. The remarkable decorative borders distinguish this series of compositions by Bol from the rest of his drawings and from any other drawings being produced in the Netherlands at the time.
LÉtude, an extremely attractive drawing, is characteristic of Pierre-Paul Prudhon, both in type of figure and in the medium (est. $30/40,000). It is a preparatory study for one of the ten paintings of allegorical figures which were a commission from the Prefecture of Paris for decorations around a semicircular gallery set up at the Hôtel de Ville on 10 June 1810 for an evening party in honor of the marriage of Napoleon and Marie-Louise of Austria.