NEW YORK—Sotheby’s will hold its spring sale of 19th century European art on Friday, May 4, offering 110 quality works. Public viewing of the auction in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries begins Friday, April 27.
A diverse group of artists are represented, including William Bouguereau, Giovanni Boldini, John William Godward, James-Jacques-Joseph Tissot, Jean Béraud, Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, and Gustave Courbet.
Timed to coincide with Sotheby’s May auctions of impressionist and modern art, the sale provides further insight into the cultural and artistic developments in the 19th century. The end of the century was a tipping point, where the art world began to divide, and the traditional techniques of great masters started to be disregarded by more-popular art movements, leading to the state of modern art today.
The sale includes superb works by some of the greatest artists in history, many of whom are the same artists included in Christie’s 19th century European art sale on April 23, so it will be interesting to compare results. The following are some of the highlights.
Descriptions From Sotheby’s
‘The Morning Ride.’ Works from the estate of noted collector Mrs. Monique Uzielli will be led by James-Jacques-Tissot’s “The Morning Ride,” estimated at $2 million to $3 million.
This painting was last offered at auction in 1944, at Parke Bernet in New York. Like many of the works in this sale, the painting has re-emerged in the market after decades in a private collection. Depicting the bright, fleeting azalea blossoms of spring, the painting is well-timed for the May auction.
‘L’Orientale à la Grenade.’ A selection of six paintings by William Bouguereau will be highlighted by “L’Orientale à la Grenade,” a rare example of the artist’s Orientalist subject matter. It’s estimated at $500,000 to $700,000.
Bouguereau seems to have been particularly fascinated by Egypt, and the girl’s intricate silver jewelry is typical of North African design.
This work had not been seen in public for nearly a century after descending through an American family.
Also featured in the May sale is “Orpheline à la Fontaine,” from 1883, estimated at $700,000 to $900,000. Bouguereau painted the work in La Rochelle, his birthplace and summer holiday destination. While the identity of the model is currently unknown, she was probably a local girl from La Rochelle and was the inspiration behind some 10 summer pictures painted between 1879 and 1883.
‘Fair Reflection.’ Unrecorded until now, “A Fair Reflection” marks an important discovery in the oeuvre of John William Godward, and is estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.
The large-scale oil undoubtedly marks the most significant painting undertaken by the artist in 1915 and is among the most ambitious from the time he spent in Italy.
Unlike most of the paintings from this period, “A Fair Reflection” did not return to London to be exhibited and sold. Instead, it remained in Italy until it was acquired by an American collector in the 1940s, descending through the same family to the present owner.