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Jean-Luc Baroni to present an exhibition of master paintings and drawings at Carlton Hobbs Gallery
The Allegory of Virtue, Love Defending Virtue Against Ignorance and Prejudice, an oil on canvas by Jacopo Ligozzi.

LONDON.- Jean-Luc Baroni Ltd., one of the world's leading international fine art specialists, proudly announces an exhibition of masterworks, which will run during Master Drawings Week from January 25 to February 1, 2014, at the Carlton Hobbs Gallery, 60 East 93rd Street, New York City. Composing the show are 55 rare and highly important old master paintings and drawings from the 16th to the early 20th centuries.

“What makes this exhibition especially exciting is that there are a number of long-unseen or newly rediscovered works—by Ligozzi and Reni, to name two—that have been either unrecorded or were thought to have been lost or destroyed long ago,” says Baroni. “In particular, I am proud to be unveiling a Fra Bartolommeo drawing that has not been before the public in nearly two centuries.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition are:

The Allegory of Virtue, Love Defending Virtue Against Ignorance and Prejudice, an oil on canvas by Jacopo Ligozzi, one of the most original artistic personalities of late-16th- and early-17th-century Florence. All his life obsessed with sin and death, Ligozzi in this work shows the figure of Virtue standing defenseless, beseeching the winged putto above her for help. This imposing painting, measuring over 11 feet tall, was commissioned by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Francesco I De’Medici in 1584-5 for the Casino di San Marco in Florence. The sheer size, quality and subject matter, as well as its provenance, confirm that this allegory is probably the most important picture ever painted by Ligozzi.

Head of a Friar Wearing a Cowl by Fra Bartolommeo is an unforgettable work in black chalk and stumping, heightened with white and with a partial outline in red-brown chalk. This drawing has not been on the market since 1830 and for most of its existence was wrongly attributed to Raphael. Now it is recognized as a masterpiece by Fra Bartolomeo, one of the great masters of the High Renaissance.

The Assumption of the Virgin Mary, an oil-on-copper work by Guido Reni, is one of the artist's early masterpieces, painted when he was only 20 or 21. The complexity of the composition, the quality of the paint and the glittering colors—applied with delicate yet assured brushstrokes and great attention to detail—are a further indication of Reni’s extraordinary ability, even at such an early age. This is the first of three depictions Reni made of the Assumption—the others being in the Prado and the National Gallery in London—and was only recently rediscovered.

Shown in the United States and offered for sale for the first time, Portrait of Luigino Gianchetti as a Violin Player by Antonio Mancini is considered as one of the artist’s highest achievements. About this Roman artist, who was born 1852 and died 1950, no less an authority than John Singer Sargent once said: “I have met in Italy the greatest living painter.” Mancini is considered to have been at the forefront of Italian Realism, as well as an innovator of the use of thick impasto, an early manifestation of which can be seen in the treatment of brocade and fabric in the lower right corner of this portrait.

Après le bain (femme s’essuyant) by Edgar Degas, a pastel on paper laid down on board and stamped Degas in the lower left, stands among the finest examples from the great artist’s celebrated series of bathers. Unlike his depictions of the ballet or of horse racing, the bather scenes were usually staged in Degas’s private studio. Despite this staging, Après le bain, femme s’essuyant effectively re-creates the spontaneity of a woman at her toilette and provides the thrilling voyeuristic experience of watching her unaware.

Macbeth’s Three Witches, or The Weird Sisters is an extraordinary painting from between 1783 and 1787 by Johann Heinrich Fuseli, and it illustrates the pivotal moment in Macbeth when the brave Scottish general encounters the Three Witches. By virtue of its expressive and naturalistic character, this painting differs notably from the three other versions Fuseli executed on the subject.

Early drawings by Lucien Freud are among the best produced by the artist and are extremely rare. A Walk to the Office, a work of Conté crayon on paper, is being presented in the U.S. for the first time. Executed with astonishing skill and subtlety in 1948, this drawing demonstrates Freud’s brilliance as a draftsman and was made, along with four others, to illustrate William Sansom’s surreal novel The Equilibriad.

Says Baroni in conclusion about the exhibition: “Those who come to the exhibition will not be disappointed. They will encounter a wide range of astonishing works, some with fascinating back-stories. These works are by important artists, and by lesser known ones as well, but they all meet the same criteria: the highest quality, condition, and beauty I can find and afford.

Long established as a specialist in fine paintings and drawings by Old and Modern Masters, Jean-Luc Baroni belongs to the third generation of a family of connoisseur art dealers. The family business first opened in Paris in 1919, and moved to Florence in 1967. In 1982, Mr. Baroni went into a 20 year-long partnership with the eminent British firm Colnaghi. He has been working from his gallery in St. James’s, London for over 10 years.

The gallery holds regular exhibitions, produces substantial catalogues that are fully researched and illustrated, and participates in a number of International Art fairs such as Tefaf - Maastricht, the Salon du Dessin and the Master Drawings Week in London and in New York. Alexandra Chaldecott, who worked in the Old Master Drawings Department at Sotheby's for more than a decade, contributes to the team.

As part of the service offered by the gallery, Jean-Luc Baroni uses his extensive experience to advise clients on establishing, augmenting and maintaining their private collections.

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