Sotheby’s put out a relese today about the newly discovered chalk version of Dante Rosetti’s Prosperine (right.)
On 19 November 2013, Sotheby’s will offer a defining image of the Pre-Raphaelite art movement and one of the most internationally recognisable images of the nineteenth century, in a London auction of British & Irish Art. Proserpine by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) has come to represent the artist in his final and fullest identity, and of all his subjects that of Proserpine occupies a seminal position in the artist’s oeuvre. The re-emergence at Sotheby’s of a version in coloured chalks is concurrent with the major Pre-Raphaelites exhibition taking place at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow – the international show first staged by Tate Britain last year and held earlier this year at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
Rossetti considered Proserpine the most beautiful of all his inventions and the various versions he produced are crucial to our understanding of his art. It is also the picture in which Rossetti wove his most allegorical symbolism. The model for the work, Jane Morris – wife of William Morris – became his inspiration and muse. The present version, formerly in the collection of William Graham, Rossetti’s most loyal and devoted patron, comes to the market for the first time in over forty years, with an estimate of £1.2 – 1.8 million.
The Guardian adds a little detail on the owner:
The picture was first bought by one of the artist’s great patrons, William Graham, a Glasgow MP who eventually owned 37 Rossetti paintings. The present owner, possibly inspired by his friend LS Lowry’s love for Rossetti, bought it from the Stone Gallery in Newcastle upon Tyne, which became renowned for sticking with the Pre-Raphaelites no matter how far they fell out of fashion.
“I knew of some of his paintings but I didn’t realise he had Proserpine. When I walked into his room, and saw it just hanging on the wall of a perfectly ordinary house, not a mansion, my legs nearly went from under me. It has never been hung in the light, never injudiciously cleaned, it is immaculate, a wonderful thing.”