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Vlaho Bukovac Painting Doubles Its Estimate

An important and rare self-portrait of the Croatian artist Vlaho Bukovac (1855-1922) and his family made £90,000 – over double its estimate in Bonhams sale of 19th Century European Paintings held on 16 April 2008 in London.

vlaho-bukovac.jpgThe painting, which was bought by a private collector, is the second highest price for a painting by the artist. Painted on the terrace of the Bukovac’s family home in Cavtat, the artist depicts a closeknit family group looking towards his beloved hometown. The intimacy of the scene conveys the powerful sense of belonging that Bukovac must have felt on his return to his birthplace after years of living in England.

Bonhams currently holds the record price for Vlaho Bukovac, having sold a stunning painting of a reclining nude for £100,800 in June 2006.

Buckovac’s patron was the philanthropist and industrial magnate, Samson Fox of Harrogate (1838-1903), ancestor of the incredibly talented acting dynasty. In the late 1880’s, Bukovac was “discovered” by Fox, who was undoubtedly instrumental to his considerable public success. Fox was one of the greatest Victorian entrepreneurs; he formed the Leeds Forge Company and went on to be an internationally distinguished engineer, inventor and ironmaster.

Bukovac often stayed with Fox at his home in Harrogate, Grove House and photographs of the interior of the house show rooms filled with works by the artist. While some of these paintings are accounted for today, the whereabouts of others still remain unknown. Lady Beresford-Peirse, founder of the International Trust for Croatian Monuments, who is herself Croatian and married to a Yorkshireman, has championed Bukovac for many years. It is her ambition to discover the whereabouts of missing Bukovac paintings once owned by Samson Fox.