Auction 245 / Fine Art Selection, 18.11.2015
“…and with this lot the first half of the auctions in Milan is over, thank you for your presence and see you for the next sales in November.”This is how Matteo Cambi ended the last auction, not in terms of importance, of Fine Art Selection: a catalogue composed of 185 lots selected from various experts in the field to satisfy the demanding requirements of national and international collectors.
The Auction House has put up on sale an exceptional selection of illuminations, fragments of a timeless art of the great Italian tradition. In fact, they cover a time span ranging from the 12th to the 17th century, ranging freely in all areas typical of illumination, both devotional and secular, in an ideal anthology of the most diverse shapes and uses: antiphonaries and missals, graduals and Pandects, books of hours and prayer books.
Under the hammer of the auctioneer, many paintings were sold with surprising results. It stands out the crayon on paper (sold for 47,000 euros) Portrait of Enrichetta d’Este by Rosalba Carriera, who began her artistic career by painting snuffboxes with little ladies figures which later became her fortune. She earned recognition across Europe and she was commissioned to paint these portraits by princes and princesses and even by the French King Louis XV. And again, an impressive painting by Domenico Fiasella depicting Alexander the Great receiving tribute from the family of King Darius, sold for 110,000 euros; or a magnificent portrait of a lady as a shepherdess, made by the soft hand of Pier Leone Ghezzi and sold for 60,000 euros.
An astonishing result was also achieved by ancient sculpture; the white marble Drunken Bacchus of Baroque School of the 17th century was in fact sold for 93,000 euros.
For the lovers of Italian and European sculpture from the 19th-20th century about twenty works were put for sale, a sort of baptism for the new dedicated department managed by Dario Mottola. Among these, some bronzes including a nice group by Evgeni Alexandrovich Lanceray depicting jockeys running, sold for over 22,000 euros, and some works by Pavel Petrovitch Troubetzkoy, a rich man of noble birth; clever entrepreneur of his own art, he never had the need to work as a sculptor for living and this economic safety allowed him to develop a personal style with complete independence, regardless of the market requests. A style based on a nervous “impressionism” of quick gestures of spatula, from which the portrait takes shape. One of all, the bust presented in the auction by the famous Russian author Lev Tolstoj, sold for 16,000 euros. Tolstoj himself dedicated these words to his friend Pavel: “Art is a human activity whose purpose is the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which man has ever come.”
Art objects performed well too, with an octagonal polychrome excavation marble top (Rome, 19th century), sold for 37,000 euros, and a large bowl of rock crystal from the 16th and 17th century, sold for 20,000 euros. Champions of the auction were also small objects, such as the pair of miniatures on ivory by Gian Battista Gigola, estimated 800-1,000 euros and sold for 8,000 euros.
The next Milan events will take place on 17-18 November with the following auctions: Silvers from Italian and European Collections, Wrist and Pocket Watches, Fine Jewels, Modern and Contemporary Art, Majolica and Porcelain Collection, Fine Art Selection, 19th and 20th-century Sculpture and a Collection of Italian Wax Masterpieces, anticipated by the usual three-day exhibition and welcome cocktail, also to inaugurate the new Cambi spaces in Palazzo Serbelloni.