The New York Times devotes a lot of space to promoting France’s Tajan auction house and its purported discovery of a Leonardo drawing plumping for a price above $15m for the work.
While they’re at it, they take a shot at some previous Leonardo discoveries which either failed to generate sales excitement or may not be what the owners hope:
According to Dr. Bambach, the drawing — which she hopes will be bought by a French museum — represents the first “Leonardo, full stop” discovery (as she put it) in this medium since 2000, when Sotheby’s in London offered a slighter sheet from around 1506 to 1508 that had black chalk and pen studies of Hercules and whirlpools. It failed to sell against a low estimate of 400,000 pounds, or what was then about $600,000, but sold later for about $550,000. The drawing (also attributed by Dr. Bambach) is now jointly owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York collector Leon Black and his wife, Debra Ressler.
As for a much-debated mixed-media profile portrait of a young woman, known as “La Bella Principessa,” which eight years ago was valued by the London dealer Simon Dickinson at as much as $150 million, Dr. Bambach commented, “It does not look like a Leonardo.”
An Artistic Discovery Makes a Curator’s Heart Pound (The New York Times)