New York Top Art. Courbet, Bouguereau, Corot… 19th Century Art sale offers at Sotheby’s. 9 May 2014.
New York. Sotheby’s 9 May 2014 19th Century European Art sale offers a comprehensive view of the category, featuring both iconic, well-known works and new discoveries by the biggest names of the genre including Courbet, Bouguereau, Corot and Alma-Tadema. Leading the sale is the cover lot of the catalogue, Bonhomme venant de peindre sa barrière (Man Having Just Painted His Fence) by Jean-François Raffaëlli, included in the 1881 Impressionist exhibition alongside his friend and contemporary, Edgar Degas (est. $700,000/1 million, above). This extraordinary image is one of the masterpieces of Raffaëlli’s career and comes from an Important Private American Collection. Highlights will be on view at our New York headquarters beginning 2 May 2014.
The auction includes seven paintings by one of the most significant painters of the 19th Century, Gustave Courbet, creating a mini retrospective of his work. These paintings span his early career through to the end of his life when he was working on the Normandy coast and features many of his most iconic genres. Leading the Courbet selection is Deux bateaux sur la plage (est. $700,000/1,000,000, bottom of page 1), which features a seascape of Étretat, painted during a prolific and busy time for the artist. Further highlights by Courbet include Mademoiselle Jacquet, a commissioned portrait painted in Belgium during the 1850s (est. $700/900,000), as well as Falaises d’Étretat, painted in 1869 during his last trip to the region (est. $400/600,000).
Four works by Giovanni Boldini date from the early 1870s through the late 1880s, showcasing the richness of his work in multiple genres including landscape, portraiture, and works on paper. Leading this group is La Senna (On the Seine) from a Private Collection in Milan, an exceptional landscape executed during his first years in Paris in the 1870s (est. $400/600,000, left). The scene is probably set in Bougival, just outside of Paris, where Boldini went several times to paint and which was known as “the cradle of Impressionism,” as Monet and Renoir both painted in the region. Additional works by Boldini include a watercolor and gouache on paper, Girl Wearing a Red Shawl (est. $150/200,000) and Portrait of Harriet Valentine Crocker Alexander from the Collection of the Late Ambassador Charles S. Whitehouse, Marshall, Virginia (est. $180/200,000).
When the Heart is Young by John William Godward is an important British picture from the period, but was untraced for well over a century after it was exhibited at Thomas McLean Gallery in 1902 (est. $400/600,000, right). As its title suggests, every aspect of Godward’s painting forms a complete vision of youthful beauty.
Marie-François Firmin-Girard’s submission of Le Quai aux Fleurs to the Salon of 1876 propelled him to international fame (est. $300/500,000, left). The expansive, panoramic work set along the Quai de la corse, one of Paris’ many flower markets, was hung at a prominent spot at the entrance to the Salon. It was so popular that police were required to control the throngs of guests crowded in front of it. It also comes from the Collection of the late Ambassador, Charles S. Whitehouse and has not been on the market in recent memory.
Jean-Léon Gérôme’s impressive painting, Cléopâtre et César, was exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1866, and whose subject was taken from Plutarch’s Life of Ceasar (est. $800,000/1.2 million, right). By 1872, this painting hung in the impressive collection of California banker Darius Ogden Mills and descended through his family until being sold in 1990.