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Christie's announces an online collection sale of Old Master pictures
Sebastiano Ricci (Belluno 1659-1734 Venice) and Clemente Spera (Novara C.1661-1742 Milan), A capriccio with figures conversing by classical ruins. Estimate £25,000-35,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- Christie’s announced a prestigious online collection sale of Old Master pictures, ‘Discovering Old Masters: The Legacy of Piero Corsini’, live from 23 September – 7 October. Piero Corsini (1938-2001) was one of the most successful and charismatic art dealers of his day, and this auction offers a curated selection of works from the Renaissance to the 19th century, featuring predominantly Italian works, with paintings and drawings ranging across all artistic themes, from genre, religious and mythological works, to portraits, landscapes and still lifes.

Maja Markovic, Head of Sale, Old Master Pictures, comments: ‘Piero Corsini was one of the most successful and charismatic art dealers of his day, and this auction is a testament to both the insatiable curiosity of his collecting and his connoisseurly intuition for discoveries. The paintings in this sale, many of which have been stored away since his death, are part of Corsini’s legacy and his journey of discovery in Old Master Paintings’.

Born in Florence, Corsini began to acquire and study Old Masters from the age of 18. For the next 25 years he dealt privately from Florence, before moving to Manhattan, New York in 1981 where he opened a semi-private gallery in a brownstone on East 63rd Street. Specialising in Italian Renaissance and Baroque pictures, Corsini built a formidable reputation, staging annual exhibitions and selling to museums and institutions all over the world.

Corsini was an inveterate buyer at auctions at both ends of the scale, buying major recognised Old Master paintings as well as lower value works that caught his ever inquisitive eye. The paintings in this sale are part of Piero Corsini’s legacy and his journey of discovery via Old Master pictures during his lifetime.

Highlights from the forthcoming sale:

A capriccio with figures conversing by classical ruins by Sebastiano Ricci and Clemente Spera, whose collaboration achieves a masterfully dynamic atmosphere, bringing to life both the figures and the classical ruins around them (estimate £25,000-35,000). Sebastiano Ricci’s painterly brilliance is evidenced in a further highlight in his Temptation of Saint Anthony, a subject he so favoured for its merging of both the scandalous and the moralising (estimate £25,000-35,000).

Francesco Fidanza plays with the atmospheric effects of light and shadow in his nocturnal seascape A moonlit Mediterranean harbour with fishermen pulling in their catch, which reveals a harbour with fishermen working in the light of a full moon and betrays the artist’s direct knowledge of the Neapolitan follower of Claude-Joseph Vernet, Carlo Bonavia (estimate £15,000-25,000).

The Flight into Egypt by Francois Perrier, is a singular testament to the artist’s iterant lifestyle and is a mélange of various influences, including the elegance of Vouet, the earthy naturalism of Roman painters – in particular of Annibale Carracci, Lanfranco and Pietro da Cortona – and the classicism of antique statues and reliefs (estimate £8,000-12,000). Baldassare Franceschini’s Orpheus, the legendary Greek hero endowed with extraordinary musical skills, is an excellent example of the artist’s consummate skill as a brilliant colourist and an inspired observer of the natural world (estimate £10,000-15,000).

The sale is expected to realise in the region of £1million - £1.5million. A view will be taking place at Christie’s, London from 24 – 30 September.

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