The Old Masters sales in London this summer offer works by European and British master painters before 1800 and some before 1900. With leading lots from Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Bonhams, and many fresh-to-the-market pieces, the auctions promise to be one of the most exciting of recent years.
Sotheby’s Old Master Evening Sale
Ehrenbreitstein, Joseph Mallord William Turner, 1835
The oil painting by British artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner, is the focus of the Sotheby’s Old Master Evening Sale on July 5. Painted in 1835, Ehrenbreitstein is a late work dating from a period that is widely considered Turner's best. Other works from this time is now hanging in the world's greatest museums, with only a minute number of this importance and quality remaining in private ownership.
The painting depicts the ruined fortress of Ehrenbreitstein near Coblenz – a place of special significance for Turner. Though he made many drawings and watercolours of German views, this is the most important oil painting of a German subject that Turner ever painted. Sotheby’s estimates it will be sold for £15 to 25 million and even predicts that it could make a record for a British-born artist.
Sale Date and Time: 5 July, 7:00 pm BST
Christie’s Old Master Evening Sale
The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi, Francesco Guardi
Christie’s has its own highlights for its Old Master Evening Sale in London on 6 July, which includes Francesco Guardi’s magnificent masterpiece The Rialto Bridge with the Palazzo dei Camerlenghi. The Italian painting master illustrates a spectacular scene with iconic landmarks that would have greeted tourists in the 18th century as they entered Venice from the south. Through his delicacy of touch and masterful suffusing of colour, the artist created an expression of atmosphere like no other view painter of his time and made the most accomplished works in his early maturity. Having been offered for sale only once before, this painting is expected to fetch more than £25 million this time.
Sale Date and Time: 6 July, 7:00 pm BST
Bonhams Old Master Paintings
The Old Master Painting Sale by Bonhams also offer a series of master work. A rediscovered work by Italian Renaissance master Parmigianino is a sketch of three female nudes, with an estimation of £15,000 to 20,000. The 16th century work was found among an album of drawings assembled in the 19th century.
Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola was a Mannerist painter and printmaker active in Florence, Rome, Bologna and his home town of Parma. This sketch relates to Parmigianino's depiction of the Wise and Foolish Virgins on the vault of the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Steccata in Parma.
Despite this short career – died at 37 in 1540 – he is regarded as one of the most original artists of the Italian Renaissance. He was extraordinarily versatile, producing paintings, frescoes, great numbers of drawings and, towards the end of this life, etchings from his own drawings.
Sale Date and Time: 5 July 2017, 2:00 pm BST.