DESA Uncium auction house to offer Antonio Canova's "Dancer with Finger on Chin"

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DESA Uncium auction house to offer Antonio Canova's "Dancer with Finger on Chin"
This 19th century sculpture used to be exhibited in the National Museum in Warsaw from 1938 to 2005. Its estimated value is PLN 8 million (around EUR 1.7 million, more than USD 2 million).

WARSAW.- Antonio Canova’s “Dancer with Finger on Chin” will be put up for an auction in Poland on October 29. This 19th century sculpture used to be exhibited in the National Museum in Warsaw from 1938 to 2005. Its estimated value is PLN 8 million (around EUR 1.7 million, more than USD 2 million).

“Dancer with Finger on Chin” has not been exhibited publicly for 13 years. Antonio Canova is considered to be one of the most outstanding European sculptors; recently his works have quoted record-high sums on the art market. Last year, in London, one of the artist's works was sold for a record amount of almost EUR 6 million. Two years ago another work was sold for EUR 4.3 million.

It is often said that Canova is “the greatest sculptor of all times and all nations”. The artist is praised as “the new Phidias”. He was the court artist of Venetian nobility and the Vatican City. Catherine the Great invited Canova to visit her court but the artist rejected her proposal as he was working on a sculpture ordered for her envoy, prince Yusupov. He also produced sculptures for Napoleon. Canova was heavily inspired by the art of ancient Greece and Rome. In the early 19th-century, Canova frequently produced idealised pieces of art with erotic undertone, the “Dancer with Finger on Chin” presented at the exhibition being one of them.

The sculpture masterfully captures the beauty of the female body and the gracefulness of a dancing woman. The work dates back to 1806-1815. It constituted a part of the art collection of Witold Tadeusz Czartoryski, and earlier – the collection of Izabela Czartoryska. The Czartoryski noble family is one of the oldest Polish princely families. Izabela Czartoryska was Canova’s first Polish customer. While staying at Rome, she ordered a sculpture of the young prince Henryk Lubomirski portrayed as Cupid. Today the sculpture is exhibited in one of the palaces belonging to the family.

Apart from Canova’s sculpture, some other pieces of art will also be put up for auction, including Magdalena Abakanowicz’s “Caminando” installation consisting of twenty sculptures, all of them produced by the artist. This work belonged to Robin Williams, a famous actor who died tragically in 2014. Only a few days ago, one of the most prestigious museums in the world – the Tate Modern gallery in London – announced that next year it would house a grand exhibition of Magdalena Abakanowicz’s works. The value of “Caminando” is estimated to be from PLN 7 to 10 million (EUR 1.6-2.3 million, USD 1.8-2.6 million).

The Modern and Contemporary Sculpture auction will consist of 72 works of more than 50 artists, Igor Mitoraj and Władysław Hasior to name a few. The auction will take place on October 29, 2019, at 7 p.m. in DESA Uncium auction house in Warsaw.

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