Property from an Important Private Collection. Lot 15. Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence 1444/5 – 1510), Portrait of a young man holding a roundel, inscribed on the reverse, center: 404 (a number from an as yet unidentified inventory, possibly from the 17th or 18th century); on a label, top center: D'Alessandro Botti/ cello Fiorentino.; upper right corner and lower center: 12./ di Sandro/ Botticello/ BORN AT FLORENCE IN 1437./ DIED IN 1515; and faintly inscribed near the center of the lower edge: 1[??], tempera on poplar panel, 23 by 15 ½ in.; 58.4 by 39.4 cm. Estimate Upon Request. Courtesy Sotheby's.
NEW YORK, NY.- This January, Sotheby’s will offer works by many of the most celebrated names in European art history during its flagship Masters Week, a series of seven auctions encompassing Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture spanning more than half a millennium. Focused around two of the highest value Old Master Paintings ever offered at auction, this first major global sales series of 2021 will be headlined by Sandro Botticelli’s masterpiece Young Man Holding a Roundel, one of the most significant portraits of any period ever to appear at auction, and a defining work of the Florentine Renaissance, and Rembrandt’s rare biblical scene of Abraham and the Angels.
Two of the sales in this Masters Week series will be presented in Sotheby’s signature global livestream auction format: Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I on 28 January and Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond on 29 January. Bidders will be able to place bids with Sotheby’s specialists via phone in New York and London, or via Sotheby’s interactive online bidding platform.
Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I
Global Livestream Auction: 28 January
It was in Early Renaissance Italy that portraits of notable individuals first came to be considered high art. Florentine master Sandro Botticelli was at the forefront of this transformation, depicting his subjects in the second half of the 15th century with unprecedented directness and insight – decades before Leonardo da Vinci painted his enduring Mona Lisa. Botticelli was celebrated in his own time and sought out, from an early age, by the richest of patrons for commissions that only they could afford. But while he created some of the most arresting and penetrating portraits in the history of Western Art, only around a dozen examples have survived today – with almost all of them now residing in major museum collections. Sotheby’s will offer one of Botticelli’s finest portraits, Young Man Holding a Roundel, with an estimate in excess of $80 million, which will establish it in art market history as one of the most significant portraits, of any period, ever to appear at auction.
Measuring just 6 ⅜ by 8 ⅜ inches (16 x 21cm), Abraham and the Angels is a profoundly beautiful, gem-like painting on panel from 1646 that stands among the finest works by Dutch Golden Age master Rembrandt van Rijn ever to come to auction. The painting last appeared at auction in London in 1848, when it sold for £64, and returns to the auction block this January with an estimate of $20/30 million. Of the total 136 biblical paintings Rembrandt produced, the work is one of only five remaining in private hands, with the large majority in prominent museum collections. Among these biblical paintings, only 29 depict Old Testament scenes, with the panel to be offered representing one of only two examples in private hands.
Property of a Private Collector, New York. Lot 9. Rembrandt van Rijn (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam), Abraham and the Angels, signed and dated lower edge, left of center: Rembrandt f. 1646, oil on panel, 6 3/8 by 8 3/8 in.; 16.1 by 21.1 cm. Estimate: 20,000,000 - 30,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
The sale includes a strong selection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, from impressive portraits by Aert de Gelder and Sir Anthony van Dyck to still lifes by Rachel Ruysch, Willem van Aelst, Ambrosius Bosschaert, and Willem Claesz. Heda, whose depiction of A banquet piece with an overturned tazza and oysters ranks among the best of his lengthy and successful career (estimate $2.5/3.5 million). An extremely rare canvas of the Descent from the Cross by Hugo van der Goes highlights the Renaissance section (estimate $3/5 million), which also includes works from the great early Italian painters Apollonio di Giovanni, Taddeo di Bartolo, and Sano di Pietro, and a wonderful glazed terracotta relief of the Madonna and Child by Luca della Robbia on offer from the Albert-Knox Art Gallery (estimate $700,000/1 million). The sale also includes a number of important paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, including a pair of large landscapes by Hubert Robert, a charming painting by William Bouguereau, and a large-scale gold ground of the Greek goddess Erato by Frederic, Lord Leighton (estimate $700,000/1 million).
Lot 7. Hugo van der Goes (Ghent circa 1440 - 1482 Brussels), The descent from the cross, distemper on a finely woven canvas, 21 by 15 in.; 53.1 by 38 cm. Estimate: 20,000,000 - 30,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 2. Property from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. Luca della Robbia (Florence 1399/1400 - 1482 Florence), Italian, Florence, circa 1440-1450, Virgin and Child, known as the "Friedrichstein Madonna" type, tin-glazed terracotta, white figures on a blue ground, integral splayed box frame, glazed in white with turquoise strips and blue disks in imitation of precious marble inlay, 18 1/2 by 15 3/4 in.; 47.2 by 40cm., 47.2 x 38.9 x 10.1cm (maximum depth); depth of the frame 6.3 cm; the image and related internal strip 37.7 x 28.8 x 6.2 cm (depth of relief). Estimate: 700,000 - 1,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 45. Property of a Private Collector, Japan. Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A. (Scarborough 1830 - 1896 Kensington), Erato, oil on canvas, 67 by 42 ⅞ in.; 170.1 by 108.9 cm. Estimate: 700,000 - 1,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond
Global Livestream Auction 29 January
Part II Online Auction Open for Bidding 22 – 29 January
Hester Diamond was a fearless and visionary collector whose inquisitive nature and bold, distinct point of view is evident throughout her collection. Her daring independence of mind and curious spirit is amply reflected across these two sales.
Leading the live sale is an exceedingly rare sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father Pietro titled Autumn, one of only a handful of sculptures by Bernini and his father that remain in private hands (estimate $8/12 million). Few artists have changed art history as significantly as Gian Lorenzo, who is remembered as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo, and whose artistic achievements gave life to the new figurative language of the Baroque, which dominated all of Europe for nearly two centuries. Carved between 1615 - 1618 when Gian Lorenzo was only a teenager, the exceptional and powerful Autumn, symbolizing abundance and rebirth in the guise of an unbridled man of the woods reaching for a piece of fruit, is an indisputable masterpiece by Bernini in which Gian Lorenzo’s early talent is already amply evident. Bernini's work very rarely comes up for auction, with the last piece, a terracotta bozzetto or sketch, titled Il Moro, selling in 2002 at Sotheby’s London for $3.2 million, the current auction record for the artist.
Once belonged to Prince Leone Strozzi (d. 1632), Villa Strozzi, Rome & From the Collection of Hester Diamond. Lot 121. Pietro Bernini (Sesto Fiorentino 1562 –1629 Rome) and Gian Lorenzo Bernini (Naples 1598–1680 Rome), Autumn, Rome, circa 1615-1618, marble, height 49 ½ in .; 125.5 cm. Estimate: 8,000,000 - 12,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Amongst the significant group of paintings in the collection includes an impressive triptych of The Nativity, The Adoration of The Magi, The Presentation in The Temple by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (estimate $2.5/3.5 million) and a pair of magnificent canvases of The Sicilian Games and The Plague at Pergamea by Dosso Dossi painted for Duke Alfonso I d’Este's camerino d’alabastro in Ferrara (estimate $3/5 million).
Probably, from Real Monasterio de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, Cáceres, Spain & the Collection of Hester Diamond. Lot 103. Pieter Coecke van Aelst (Aelst 1502 - 1550 Brussels), A triptych: The Nativity, The Adoration of the Magi, The Presentation in the Temple, oil on panel, center panel: 41 ⅜ by 27 ½ in.; 105 by 70 cm, side panels: 41 ⅜ by 11 ¾ in.; 105 by 30 cm. Estimate: 8,000,000 - 12,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Commissioned by Alfonso I d'Este (1476 - 1534), Duke of Ferrara for his camerino d'alabastro, Castello Estense, Ferrara, circa 1518; By descent to his son, Ercole II d'Este (1508 - 1559); By descent to his son, Alfonso II d'Este (1533 - 1597);From whom passed to Cardinal Scipione Borghese (1577 - 1633), Rome, circa 1607; By descent to Giovan Battista Borghese (1639 - 1717), Prince of Rossano, Palazzo Borghese, Campo Marzio, Rome (nos. 222 and probably 357 in the 1693 inventory) & from the Collection of Hester Diamond. Lot 116. Giovanni Francesco di Niccolò di Luteri, called Dosso Dossi (Tramuschio circa 1486 - 1541/2 Ferrara), The Plague at Pergamea; The Sicilian Games, a pair, both oil on canvas, each: 23 by 66 in.; 58.5 by 167.5 cm. Estimate: 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
The Collection of Hester Diamond Part II features Hester’s extensive collection of exquisite minerals and gems, alongside memorabilia from her son Michael Diamond, aka Mike D of the Beastie Boys, modern design pieces encapsulating her vibrant style, and an assortment of Old Master paintings and sculpture art books that lined Hester’s floor to ceiling bookcases, offering a glimpse into the vast art historical knowledge that she forever chased. All modern design, all art books and most of the minerals in this sale are sold without reserve and all of the seller's proceeds for the Beastie Boys memorabilia lots will benefit the Good Eats Program.
Old Master Drawings
Auction 27 January
Star of the sale is an extremely rare figure study by the young Anthony van Dyck for his early masterpiece The Healing of the Paralytic, now at Neuburg an der Donau (estimate $2.5/3.5 million). The half-length chalk study of a bearded old man is the most important of all those that Van Dyck made circa 1617-20, and encapsulates all that the brilliant young artist was capable of as a draughtsman, at the pivotal moment, in his late teens, when he was interacting most intensely with his great mentor, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, and also finding his own firm feet as an artist. No other Van Dyck drawing of similar significance and quality has appeared on the market since this sheet was itself last sold at auction in 1986.
Lot 23. Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, North America. Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599 - 1641 London), Recto: An old bearded man holding a bundle beneath his arm; verso: Various composition studies. Black, red and white chalk (recto); pen and brown ink (verso); bears numbering in brown ink, verso: No 129., 367 by 231 mm; 14 ½ by 9 ⅛ in. Estimate: 3,000,000 - 5,000,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Equally rare is Francesco Guardi’s magnificent depiction of festivities in Venice, The Return of the Bucintoro from S. Nicolò di Lido (estimate $600/800,000). One of the largest and most significant drawings by the artist to remain in private hands, and unseen on the market since 1920, this is the pair to the Regatta on the Grand Canal, recently acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum.
Lot 59. Francesco Guardi (Venice 1712 - 1793), The Return of the Bucintoro from S. Nicolò di Lido. Pen and brown ink and wash, over black chalk; bears numbering in pen and ink; bears old inscription in pen and brown ink, verso: Guardi’s Views of Venice L…, 420 by 700 mm; 16 ½ by 27 ⅝ in. Estimate: 600,000 - 800,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Among the selection of British drawings are two superb, and very different, watercolors by Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. The first, Lake Lucerne at Dusk, is one of the celebrated, atmospheric Swiss views, executed during the final decade of the artist’s life, which in many ways define Turner’s image and achievements as a watercolorist (estimate $700/900,000). The last appearance at auction of this widely published and exhibited work was at Sotheby’s London in 2007, in the sale of the extraordinary collection of Turner watercolors assembled by Baron and Baroness Guy Ullens. Dating from two decades earlier, circa 1824/5, The River Washburn, near Lindley Bridge, Yorkshire, a classic example of Turner’s understated English topography, has been owned by just two families since it was made: it first belonged to Turner’s most important early patron, Walter Fawkes of Farnley Hall, Yorkshire, whose descendants sold it in 1937 to the family of the present owners (estimate $120/180,000).
Lot 69. Once belonged to Catherine, Countess of Portsmouth, née Fortesque (1786-1854) & Property from an Important English Collection. Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775 - 1851), Lake Lucerne at Dusk. Watercolor heightened with scratching out and stopping out, 249 by 367 mm; 9 7/8 by 14 1/2 in. Estimate: 900,000 - 800,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
Lot 83. Once belonged to Walter Ramsden Hawksworth Fawkes (1769-1825) & Property of a gentleman. Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775 - 1851), The River Washburn, near Lindley Bridge, Yorkshire. Watercolor over pencil, heightened with bodycolor and scratching out on gray paper, 329 by 441 mm; 13 by 17 1/8 in. Estimate: 120,000 - 180,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
From Taddeo to Tiepolo: The Dr. John O’Brien Collection of Old Master Drawings
Auction 27 January
Dr. John O’Brien has been discreetly but enthusiastically assembling his remarkable collection of 16th to 18th Century Italian drawings for the last 55 years. The collection is led by an extremely fine double-sided sheet by Taddeo Zuccaro, a powerful assemblage of studies for the artist’s frescoes in the Frangipani Chapel of the Roman church of San Marcello al Corso (begun 1558/9) (estimate $180/220,000). Other highlights of the collection include a freely drawn depiction of Felicity and Fortune by Annibale Carracci (estimate $100/150,000), as well as an outstanding compositional study by Corrado Giaquinto for his major altarpiece, The Translation of the Relics of Saints Acutius and Eutychetes from Pozzuoli to Naples, in the Duomo in Naples (estimate $40/60,000). Alongside these are no fewer than 16 excellent drawings of all types and periods by the great Venetian masters Giambattista Tiepolo and his son Giandomenico, including a particularly rare and lively compositional drawing by Giambattista for his etching of The Discovery of the Tomb of Punchinello (estimate $60/80,000). There are also a small number of French and Spanish drawings in the collection, most notably a complex and powerful drawing of The Lamentation of Christ by Jusepe de Ribera (estimate $40/60,000).
From the Dr. John O’Brien Collection. Lot 214. Taddeo Zuccaro (Sant' Angelo in Vado, Marches 1529 - 1566 Rome), Recto: Two groups of figures, studies for the Frangipani Chapel, San Marcello al Corso. Verso: Studies for the lunette above the altar in the Frangipani Chapel and an architectural design for a wall decoration. Black chalk and brown ink and gray and brown wash (recto and verso); corners cut, 340 by 262 mm; 13 1/2 by 10 1/4 in. Estimate: 180,000 - 220,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
From the Dr. John O’Brien Collection. Lot 221. Annibale Carracci (Bologna 1560 - 1609 Rome), Felicity and Fortune. Pen and brown ink over traces of black chalk, 182 by 168 mm; 7 1/4 by 6 5/8 in. Estimate: 100,000 - 150,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
From the Dr. John O’Brien Collection. Lot 253. Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Venice 1696 - 1770 Madrid), The Discovery of the Tomb of Punchinello. Pen and brown ink and wash over traces of black chalk, partially indented for transfer; bears old attribution in brown ink, lower left: Tiepolo; 297 by 215 mm; 11 3/4 by 8 1/2 in. Estimate: 60,000 - 80,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
From the Dr. John O’Brien Collection. Lot 224. Corrado Giaquinto (Molfetta 1703 - 1766 Naples), Study for the Translation of the Relics of Saints Acutius and Eutychetes from Pozzuoli to Naples. Pen and black ink and gray wash heightened with white, over black chalk, on prepared beige-pink paper; bears old attribution verso: Cav. Corrado G. and in later hand: Corrado Giaquinto; 442 by 287 mm; 17 3/8 by 11 1/4 in. Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.
From the Dr. John O’Brien Collection. Lot 220. Jusepe de Ribera, called lo Spagnoletto (Játiva, Valencia 1591 - 1652 Naples), The Lamentation of Christ. Pen and brown ink on blue-gray paper, within brown ink framing lines; bears the remains of an old attribution in brown ink, lower left: Fapresto(?) and bears numbering in brown ink on the old backing: D/.6;129 by 169 mm; 5 by 6 5/8 in. Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USD. Courtesy Sotheby's.