European Painting Auction Features John William Godward & Nicolae Grigorescu Paintings

. October 7, 2011 . 0 Comments

Bonhams announce its sale of European Paintings, October 26 in New York, simulcast to San Francisco. The sale will feature a wide range of paintings spanning several centuries and artistic periods.

The sale is led by works from the 19th century and highlighting the group is “The Trysting Place” by British painter John William Godward, one of the most significant painters of the classical revival (est. $200,000-300,000). In this work, a woman finds a note from her lover at their secret rendezvous place. Sorry to have missed him, she responds by drawing a heart on the edge of a pilaster. Unique to the artist’s oeuvre, this work is considered an “answer painting” to his earlier oil of 1906, “Au Rendezvous.” True to his goal of portraying peace and feminine beauty, this painting is an ideal representation of his artistic aesthetic.

Another significant 19th century highlight of the sale comes from Romanian artist Nicolae Grigorescu. “The Bull Cart,” featuring day-to-day peasant life with the backdrop of a rural landscape, is only the second known painting by the artist to come to public auction in the West (est. $100,000-150,000), making it a piece of great interest among Romanian collectors. After abandoning the idea of becoming an academic painter and leaving the studio of Sebastien Cornu in Paris, Grigorescu was greatly influenced by numerous French painters in the village of Barbizon, near the Forest of Fontainebleau. It was there that he was influenced by Jean-Francois Millet’s renderings of working peasants, Corot’s trees and Troyon’s animals. Discovering his appreciation and love of the simple lives of peasants, he started to paint en plein air, developing his own language for landscapes, which made him a role model for future generations of artists. Grigorescu is considered today to be the founder of modern Romanian painting.

Madalina Lazen, Bonhams Senior Specialist of European Paintings New York, comments that, “The significance of “The Bull Cart” by Nicolae Grigorescu lies in the fact that it is the first major work by the great Romanian master to appear on the North American art market. It is not only rare but also of exceptional quality. It has been in private hands for over 50 years. A household name in Romania, Grigorescu continues to gain recognition in the West. Bonhams is thrilled to introduce his work to a wider audience.”

Three other highlights in the 19th Century section of the sale include: French artist Joseph Garibaldi’s “The Old Port of Marseilles,” which depicts the port of his native city, a popular subject throughout his career (est. $75,000-100,000); German artist Franz von Stuck’s “A Portrait of Marianne Mechler,” a strong example of the artistic style of portraying sensuous females for which the artist is known (est. $60,000-80,000); and “A Still Life with Peaches, Grapes and Hazelnuts” by German artist Johann Wilhelm Preyer, one of the most important German still-life painters of the 19th century (est. $30,000-50,000).

Works of note in the Old Master section of the sale include “A Venetian Veduta with Strolling Figures” by Italian artist Francesco Albotto (est. $25,000-35,000). Several variants of this composition are known to exist; one being in the Museo del Castello Sforzesco, Milan, but the present work differs in some details from the other variations, making it a draw for collectors. A second Old Master highlight comes from the hand of Cornelis Kick, an Amsterdam artist and Dutch Golden Age painter who was trained by his father. Known for his flower pieces, the present painting, “A Still Life with Roses, an Iris, a Tulip and Other Flowers in a Vase resting on a Ledge,” is an ideal example of the artist’s work (est. $15,000-20,000).

In the Sporting section of the sale, one can find James Ward’s “Sir Richard Sutton’s Chestnut Hunter” (est. $12,000-18,000). Known for his animal portraits, James Ward’s oil on panel painting depicts the horse of the avid sportsman Sir Richard Sutton, the man some say had no equal when it came to hunting and shooting.

Edwin Lord Weeks’ “An Egyptian Caravan” leads the Orientalist section of the auction. Lord Weeks is one of the most distinguished and celebrated painters among American Orientalists. He showed an interest in painting and travel from a young age while growing up in Boston. Though exact details of his extensive travels are not well documented, the bulk of the artist’s oeuvre tends to reflect his later travels to India and the Middle East, which is what makes this present work highly sought after. The painting depicts a camel caravan en route along the pyramids of Teti, and illustrates Weeks’ skill for capturing majestic scenes possibly executed onsite or drawn from his archive of sketches. Another highlight in the Orientalist section of the sale comes from the French artist Georges Washington. “Arab soldiers at an Oasis” is an oil on canvas depicting mounted traveling soldiers resting at a small body of water within a vast landscape under a bright blue sky (est. $20,000-30,000).

The illustrated catalog is available online for review and purchase at
www.bonhams.com/us.

Category: Fine Art

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