Sotheby’s has announced the sale of a previously unknown work by Velazquez for its July 3rd Old Master sales in London. The painting is being offered with a £2-3m estimate.
On 3 July, Sotheby’s will bring to auction a newly-discovered painting of Olimpia Pamphilj by Spanish master, Diego Velázquez. Lost for almost three centuries, this captivating portrait once formed part of the illustrious collection of Don Gaspar Mendez de Haro y Guzman, 7th Marques del Carpio – one of the greatest patrons and collectors of arts in 17th-century Italy. Last recorded in 1724, it subsequently disappeared without trace. The whereabouts of the painting remained completely unknown until one day, an unattributed work, sold in the 1980s as ‘anonymous Dutch school’, was brought into Sotheby’s Amsterdam office. An intriguing old cypher hidden on the back of the painting prompted Sotheby’s specialists to begin a process of research and discovery – all of which ultimately lead to the realisation that this striking portrait was the long-lost original by Velázquez: a painting much revered in its day and executed during the artist’s ‘golden period’.
The Velazquez is joined by another rediscovered work found by a Sotheby’s staffer going through works submitted to the auction house’s digital valuation tool:
Cristiana Romalli, Senior Director and Italian specialist in Sotheby’s Old Master Drawings Department, paused at an intriguingly accomplished sketch. It looked to her like an accomplished work by major Mannerist artist, Rosso Fiorentino, whose drawings are extremely rare. Cristiana retired home to read Giorgio Vasari’s ‘Lives of the Artists’, chronicling the lives of the leading Italian artists of the early 16th-century. And there she found a reference to this work, since then unrecorded – lost from the canon of art history.
Rosso Fiorentino’s The Visitation (est. £500,000 – 700,000) (Old Master & British Works on Paper Sale): This newly discovered 16th century work by the Italian Mannerist painter is an extremely rare example of a chalk drawing by Rosso Fiorentino, and the first compositional study by the artist to appear on the market for half a century. Long thought lost, it is an important and vital addition to the artist’s corpus of drawings.Delicately executed in black chalk, the ten-figure composition was created by Rosso on the request of Aretine painter Giovanni Antonio Lappoli, who had been granted in 1524 a commission for a private altarpiece for the family chapel of the wealthy Aretine citizen, Cipriano d’Anghiari.
The Old Master sale is one of Sotheby’s strongest with an overall estimate of £46-65.9m/ $59.5-83.7m
Thomas Gainsborough’s Going to Market, Early Morning (est. £7-9m): one of the finest masterpiece by the artist remaining in private hands and one of the finest British landscapes by any artist likely to ever come to market. Painted in 1773, the work is one of an important group of three landscapes from the same moment showing travellers going to or returning from market. The subject and composition of the picture demonstrate Gainsborough’s natural affinity with, and sympathy for, the rural poor and the landscape.
J.M.W. Turner’s Landscape with Walton Bridges, (est. £4-6m), a rarely-seen late work by the artist which foreshadows the advent of Impressionism just a few decades later. One of only a handful of late works by the artist left in private hands, this painting belonged first to Turner’s landlady and partner Sophia Booth. It was later bought by one of the greatest collector in American history, becoming one of the jewels in the crown of the celebrated Morgan Collection in New York.
A rare compositional study for John Constable’s celebrated The White Horse (est. £2 – 3m): the ‘six-footer’ masterpiece, now in the Frick in New York, that launched Constable’s career
Peter Paul Rubens, Head of a Young Warrior(est. £2.5-3.5m): Painted in the early 1610s, Head of a Young Warrior shows Rubens in complete control of his medium, his brush, and his subject. The characteristically vivacious and energetic study was most likely kept in the artist’s studio as a prop throughout his life for use in larger compositions, including his painting of Saint Ambrosius of Milan barring Emperor Theodosius from entering the Cathedral in Milan, painted circa 1615-1617, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.