Sotheby’s London 3rd December 2014 Evening sale of ‘Old Master & British Paintings’ is set to be a major highlight of the international auction’s winter season. The sale is being lead by J.M.W. Turner’s Rome, from Mount Aventine, one of the last great masterpieces of British art left in private hands and one of the artist’s supreme achievements; the work has an estimated value of £15 to 20 million.
The sale is further anhanced by another masterful Italian view, a depiction of Venice by Canaletto, as well as unique compositions by Lucas Cranach the Elder, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Sir Peter Paul Rubens. The 43 lots are estimated in excess of £32 million, and also comprise pioneering works in the history of art, including an early example of Dutch flower painting and one of the first British bird’s-eye view paintings.
Discussing the forthcoming Masters auction, Alex Bell, the Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sotheby’s Old Master Paintings Department stated: “It is hard to overstate the importance of Rome, from Mount Aventine. There are no more than half a dozen major works by Turner left in private hand and none is of such exceptional provenance or in better condition. The picture is so well preserved that every fingerprint of the artist, every flick of his brush, every scrape of his palette knife can still be clearly seen. The groundbreaking exhibition of “Late Turner” at the Tate and Mike Leigh’s sensational “Mr Turner” have reasserted the powerful modernity of the British painter and this work is another poignant example of the timelessness of his oeuvre.”
Bell continued: “Turner perpetually engaged with the art of both the past and the present and it is a rare privilege to present this sensational picture alongside the works of some of his most illustrious predecessors. Last July, we saw the market at its best and we are confident that collectors will respond with great enthusiasm to this exceptional sale.”
The pictures Turner produced from the late 1820s and 1830s until his death in 1851, are considered to be the artist’s supreme achievement. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1836, when Turner was 61 years old, Rome, from Mount Aventine is arguably the greatest and most important view of the Italian city ever painted. Rome captivated Turner for over twenty years of the artist’s life, and this atmospheric depiction of the city is a brilliant technical feat demonstrating his virtuosity as a landscape painter.
The painting was later acquired by Prime Minister of Great Britain; it has since remained undisturbed in the Rosebery collection to this day The painting is lot 44, and estimated to go under the hammer for. £15 to 20 million / €18,980,000 to €25,310,000 / $24,070,000 to $32,090,000.