19th Century European Painting Sale Brings More than $ 2.5 Million at Bonhams

Bonhams announce the results of its Fall European Painting sale in New York. The highly anticipated event on October 29, 2010 brought in more than $2.5 million.

Simulcast to San Francisco, the fall auction offered a broad range of European Works of Art with an emphasis on the Eastern aesthetic and 19th Century landscape, portrait and genre paintings as well as Old Master pictures. Paintings from the Collection of Ms. Blanche Thebom, one of the great operatic legends of the postwar era and leading dramatic mezzo-soprano of the Metropolitan Opera for more than 20 years, were also featured during the sale.

Deborah Coy, Director of European Paintings at Bonhams New York, said, “The auction demonstrated renewed interest in the 19th Century European Paintings category. There was active private participation in the U.S. and overseas, with bidding from countries such as: Switzerland, Turkey, Bulgaria, Holland, Italy, France, Great Britain, Russia and Poland; prices were strong across all schools.”

The top lot was a Japanese princess going to church, circa 1906, by Gyula Tornai, which sold for $176,000, far above the pre-sale estimate of $70,000-90,000. Painted circa 1906, the 96 ½ x 52-inch painting depicted the elder sister of Mutsuhito, Emperor of Japan from 1867 to 1912, accompanied by her servants as she enters a Buddhist shrine. Executed in the vivid colors characteristic of the artist and painted on a heroic scale, A Japanese princess going to church is a tour-de-force of color and composition. In this painting, Tornai has given the viewer a glimpse into a world totally foreign to the European sensibility and despite the broad brushstrokes and dynamism of composition the artist has created a world of hushed devotion and reverence.

As well, two new discoveries by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo titled The head of a boy, turned half left (est. $20,000-30,000, sold for $76,250) and The head of a boy, his right hand to cheek (est. $20,000-30,000, sold for $61,000) performed well. The drawings, evidently of the same model are heightened with white on blue paper. Both of the drawings may be traced first to the Bossi-Beyerlen collection, and thence to the collection of Eduard Sack (1857-1913). They are listed in Sack’s celebrated monograph of 1910.

Works of note also included The Madonna nursing the Christ Child Attributed to Master of the Parrot (est. $35,000-55,000, sold for $82,350) from the Collection of Ms. Blanche Thebom; A view of Borresö from Himmelbjerget, Denmark by Peder Mork Mönsted (est. $60,000-80,000, sold for $79,300) and A cottage in a snowy landscape by Louis Apol (est. $25,000-35,000, sold for $76,250).


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