Sotheby's Presents Annual Masters Week Sales Series

Monday, January 29, 2024
Sotheby's Presents Annual Masters Week Sales Series

Spanning paintings, drawings, sculpture, furniture and more, Sotheby’s annual Masters Week sales kick off next week, underscored by works from renowned private collections including Élisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun’s remarkable self-portrait from private collection of preeminent scholar Joseph Baillio, as well as the collections of Jimmy Younger, Ian Irving, and Jordan Saunders.

This season’s Master Paintings sale is headlined by a strong group of pictures by Spanish artists, led by Luis Meléndez’s lush still-life of Artichokes and Tomatoes in a Landscape - one of only six large-scale still lifes that are set within outdoor settings (estimate $2-3 million); as well as a newly discovered early painting by El Greco, executed circa 1568 or 1569, almost immediately after the artist’s arrival in Venice from Crete (estimate $400-600,000). The sale is further highlighted by a beautiful marine by Salomon van Ruysdael (estimate $2-3 million); a group of five British and Italian works recently deaccessioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art and being sold to benefit the Acquisition Fund; and two paintings from the Jacques Goudstikker collection, which were recently restituted to Goudstikker’s heir. This season’s sales are rounded out by recent re-discoveries, rare self-portraits by pioneering women artists, and some exceptional works on paper. 

The One will return for its second iteration, a unique, cross-category sale concept that tells an extraordinary story of excellence in craft, artistry, and endeavor from the great civilizations of antiquity to the sports and entertainment worlds of today. Through each object offered in the sale, The One showcases the very best examples of human ingenuity, achievement, and excellence. Led by The 2nd May 1840 Penny Black - the first piece of mail sent using a prepaid stamp -  the sale features an array of objects ranging from a gild and painted cassette dating to 1280 - 1290; The Hope Cup, a magnificent cup carved from the largest block of jasper ever seen, exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1855; and The Dynasty Collection – the complete set of Michael Jordan's Air Jordan Ix Championship Sneakers  (1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998).

Sir Anthony van Dyck, Self-Portrait Estimate $2-3 million 

A recently re-discovered Self-Portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck, painted in 1637-1639, represents what appears to be the artist’s penultimate self-portrait. The work was also likely a gift to King Charles I from van Dyck, who probably hoped it would be hung in Whitehall Palace alongside a portrait of his former master and rival Sir Peter Paul Rubens. The British Parliament sold the work after King Charles I’s death to Remigius van Leemput, an artist who frequently copied Van Dyck’s works and possibly an assistant to the master in his studio. The painting was later restored to the British Royal family, eventually travelling to Holland with King William III, where it hung in Paleis Het Loo. Sold by the Dutch state after the death of William III, the painting then passed through various collections - including, in a curious
turn of fate - part of the collection of the Buffalo Bill Historical Center due to the similarities between the two legendary men’s mustaches. Though the attribution to Van Dyck seems to have fallen away in the 1980s, recent
restoration and research has supported a full re-attribution of this late masterpiece by Van Dyck.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, Self-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man Estimate $3-5 million

Painted by Sir Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerp around 1610-1611, this self-portrait was created while the artist was a young man, approximately age thirty-three, shortly after his return from a transformative eight-year sojourn in Italy. A recent rediscovery, the work was painted in 1610-1611, when the artist was still establishing himself as one of the foremost painters of Northern Europe. It is thought to be the second standalone portrait completed by the artist and it remained in Rubens’s possession and that of his descendants (alongside all of his self-portraits) until 1853. This artwork is likely contemporaneous with Rubens's impressive Raising of the Cross triptych, which he painted for the Cathedral of Our Lady in Antwerp. This masterpiece, which remains in place today, served as a herald of the Baroque style in Northern Europe, utilizes swift, sketch-like brushstrokes, are evident in both works, characteristic of his intimate portraits from the following decade.


Stephanie Cime

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Image of the Day

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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