Lot 53. Jean-Étienne Liotard (Geneva 1702–1789), Portrait of Philibert Cramer, with period frame and glass pastel on blue paper, mounted on canvas, 25 x 21¼ in. (63.5 x 53.8 cm). Estimate: $400,000-600,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

NEW YORK, NY.- Christie’s online auction Old Master & British Drawings including property from The Cornelia Bessie Estate will be offered for sale 14-28 January and will feature works from the 15th to the 19th centuries, with a particular focus on drawings by some of the greatest 18th century French artists.

A rare highlight of the auction appearing on the market for the first time is Jean-Étienne Liotard’s pastel Portrait of Philibert Cramer, one of Voltaire’s publishers, which is offered by his descendants (estimate: $400,000-600,000). The dashing sitter is identified on a label on the back of the canvas as Philibert Cramer (1727-1779), who together with his brother Gabriel, were the principal publishers of Voltaire and responsible for the first editions of major works such as the novel Candide. Liotard is closely associated with the medium of pastel and the portrait is a striking demonstration of his art, characterized by originality and a sense of realism.

The estate of Cornelia Bessie features a strong group of 18th century works including an important wash drawing of The Flight into Egypt by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo which exhibits incredible freshness and was once owned by Prince Alexis Orlov (estimate: $200,000-300,000). Another highlight of the Cornelia Bessie collection is an enchanting red-chalk figure study Young woman dozing by Jean-Honoré Fragonard (estimate: $300,000-500,000).


Lot 17. Property from the Cornelia Bessie Estate, once belonged to Russian Prince Alexiy Orlov. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696-1770 Madrid), The Flight into Egypt, black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash, 16¹⁄₄ x 11⁷⁄₈ in. (42.5 x 30 cm). Estimate: USD 200,000 - USD 300,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.


Lot 39. Property from the Cornelia Bessie Estate. Jean-Honoré Fragonard (Grasse 1732-1806 Paris), A young woman dozing, traces of black chalk, red chalk, watermark ‘FINDE/ M [fleur-de-lis] JOHANNOT/ DANNONAY/ 1762’ 9¹⁄₂ x 7¹⁄₂ in. (24 x 19 cm). Estimate: USD 300,000 - USD 500,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021. 

The sale features thirteen sheets from Fragonard’s illustrations for Ludovico Ariosto’s Orlando furioso, the popular sixteenth-century epic poem, which is offered from the Collection of Nina R. and Arthur A. Houghton, Jr (estimates range from $15,000-30,000). The thirteen examples have been kept together since Fragonard’s death and are likely the largest group available in private hands. A red-chalk Study of the head of a woman by Jean-Baptiste Greuze highlights the group from The Collection of Nina Griscom (estimate: $70,000-100,000). Rounding out the selection by French artists is a large drawing by Laurent de La Hyre related to his Binding of Isaac in Reims (estimate: $80,000-120,000).


Lot 30. Property from The Collection of Nina Griscom. Jean-Baptiste Greuze (Tournus 1725-1825 Paris), Study of the head of a woman looking to the right, her hair in a cap, red chalk 14⁹⁄₁₆ x 11 in. (38 x 28 cm). Estimate: USD 70,000 - USD 100,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021. 


Lot 34. Property from The Collection of Nina Griscom. Laurent de La Hyre (Paris 1606-1656), The Binding of Isaac with inscription ‘La Hire’(on the mount). Black and white chalk on light brown paper, 12 x 153⁄8 in. (30.5 x 39.1 cm). Estimate: USD 80,000 - USD 120,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.

Among the Italian drawings are rare works such as a sketch for a painting by the 15th century Roman artist Antoniazzo Romano, an architectural drawing by architect Vincenzo Scamozzi, the pupil of Palladio, and a drawing of The Nativity by Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione. Northern drawings include Jan Siberecht’s Study of an old gnarled tree, a selection of works from the Rembrandt School, a pastel family portrait by Cornelis Troost, as well as one of the finest early copies after Dürer’s Hare.