NEW YORK—Paintings by El Greco, the Spanish Renaissance master, and Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, the Italian Baroque master, among other works, will lead a slew of high-profile old masters sales at major auctions houses in New York in late January and early February.
While Christie’s is considered the world’s premier auction house, boasting the highest annual sales, Sotheby’s specializes in old masters works, topping Christie’s in this pre-eminent category.
For the last 11 years, Sotheby’s has sold more in the category of old master and British paintings than any other auction house. It also holds the world auction record in this field for Rubens’s “Massacre of the Innocents,” which sold for $76.5 million in July 2002.
Sotheby’s highlights this year include Batoni’s biblical painting “Susanna and the Elders,” estimated to sell for $6 million to $9 million, and Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A.’s magical watercolor “View of Heidelberg with a Rainbow,” estimated to sell for $4 million to $6 million. They will be on sale at the Important Old Master Paintings and Sculpture auction Jan. 31–Feb. 1.
At an auction dedicated to the property of old master connoisseur Giancarlo Baroni at Sotheby’s on Jan. 29–30, “The Entombment of Christ” by Domenikos Theotokopoulos, known as El Greco, is estimated to sell for $1 million to $1.5 million.
At the same sale, Bernardo Bellotto’s tranquil “A View of the Molo, Looking West, with the Palazzo Ducale and South Side of the Piazzetta” is expected to sell for $800,000 to $1.2 million.
In their Old Master Drawings sale on Jan. 30, Sotheby’s will offer Rubens’s surprisingly artful “Anatomical Studies of Three Male Figures,” estimated to sell for $700,000 to $900,000, and William Blake’s frenetic poetry illustration, “The Gambols of Ghosts According with Their Affections Previous to the Final Judgment,” estimated to sell for $400,000 to $600,000.
The works will be on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue headquarters beginning Jan. 25.
Christie’s most significant offering will be a 61-lot sale entirely devoted to the exquisitely detailed prints of Albrecht Dürer, the German master of the Northern Renaissance. Highlights include Dürer’s brooding but now in vogue work “Melencolia I,” which is estimated to sell for $400,000 to $600,000, and his depiction of the angel of retribution, “Nemesis,” which is estimated to sell for $200,000 to $300,000.
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