Botticelli valued at $40 million sold at Sotheby’s auction

A long-ignored painting, now considered a “honorable masterpiece” by Italian renaissance master Sandro Botticelli, is set to become the art market’s first eye-catching auction price of the day. year 2022.

Botticelli’s Temperament on Dashboard “Man of Sorrows,” half-length depiction of the risen Christ raising his hands in blessing, was the star of a sale of old Sotheby’s paintings and sculptures on Thursday. Last seen at auction in 1963, the painting is sure to secure a price of at least $40 million, thanks to a pre-arranged “irreversible bid” from a guarantor. Tuesday.

This is the second-biggest ticketing Botticelli Sotheby’s offers within a year. Last January, “Portrait of a young man holding a round bullet,” from the estate of New York-based real estate mogul and art collector Sheldon Solow, sell to 92.2 million dollarsrecord price for a Botticelli at auction – as well as an old master painting at Sotheby’s.

The old masters are unfashionable like them to rich collectors, has been overshadowed by luxury items such as sneakers and handbags as a sales category that generates revenue at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s. But impressive prices are still achievable at auction for centuries-old paintings that are marketed as quality works signed by some of the most famous names in art history. art. In 2017, a widely restored panel painting of “Salvator Mundi,” Christ as the “Savior of the World,” was cataloged by Christie’s as a long-lost masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. , sold for $450.3 milliona record for any piece of art put up for auction.

Sotheby’s describes “The Man of Sorrows” as a late work by Botticelli from about 1500, a period that according to Giorgio Vasari’s 1550″The Lives of Artists,” Florentine painter influenced by the Dominican preaching of fire and brimstone Girolamo Savonarola, became a disciple of the missionary sect. The writings from Botticelli’s later period have been seen by modern scholars as imbued with an intense religious fervor. Sotheby’s solemn composition is notable for the halo of grieving angels around the thorn crowned head of the Risen Christ.

Guy Jennings, senior director of Art group, an art consulting and art finance firm based in London. “It is a difficult painting, but it is expressive and very rare.”

The last time “Man of Sorrows” was auctioned off as a Botticelli nearly 60 years ago, it sold for the relatively modest $26,000. Ronald Lightbown, the leading Botticelli scholar of the time, later listed the painting as “school and workshop paintings” in his complete 1978 catalog of the artist’s works. It was classified as “late workshop productions from Botticelli’s circle” in Frank Zöllner’s 2005 monograph on the artist.

But like “Salvator Mundi,” which was included in 2011-2012″Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan” exhibiting at the National Gallery in London, “Man of Sorrows” has benefited from the recognition of the work at a major museum exhibition.

In 2009, a long omitted painting from an unnamed family collection was included as a signed work in the exhibition, “Botticelli: Likeness, Myth, Devotion,” at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany .

Bastien Eclercy, the curator of Städel’s Italian, French and Spanish paintings before 1800, wrote in the exhibition catalog that “the rediscovered painting from a private collection” does not represent only “an important new example of Botticelli’s late period,” but also adds a “striking aspect to our understanding of Christ’s depiction in the Renaissance. “

Accreditation was confirmed by Laurence Kanter, curator of European art at the Yale University Art Gallery, and Keith Christiansen, former curator of European painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, according to Sotheby’s.

Todd Levin, a New York-based art consultant who specializes in both contemporary and older works, said: “This is a unique opportunity to access a work of art that is critically important. history. “The possibility that this could be due to Botticelli makes it particularly desirable. There are precious old championship trophies left in private hands. ”

Levin also pointed out that Sotheby’s latest sale of Botticelli underscores how the major auction houses have thrived amid challenging trading conditions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Driven by technology-based live and online-only auctions, Sotheby’s reports revenue of $7.3 billion in 2021, the highest total in the company’s 277-year history.

Sotheby’s was acquired by French-Israeli telecommunications magnate Patrick Drahi in 2019 in a $3.7 billion leveraged acquisition. Last month, Bloomberg reports that Drahi is considering turning privately held Sotheby’s into a publicly traded company again.

When asked to comment on the Bloomberg report, the auction house said in a statement: “Sotheby’s does not comment on rumors or speculation.” Botticelli valued at $40 million sold at Sotheby’s auction

Fry Electronics Team

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