In what is one of the richest and most varied Old Master Drawings sales for years, perhaps the most remarkable single sheet is the exceptional, large-scale portrait head of a young man, executed in the late 1460s or early 1470s, and attributed to Piero del Pollaiolo. An exceptionally well preserved masterpiece of Florentine Early Renaissance draughtsmanship, nothing like this drawing has appeared on the market in recent years.
Representing a totally different artistic world are the 38 lots from a Distinguished European collection, a wonderful group of drawings, most but not all of them 18th-century French, which encapsulate both the milieu in which they were created and the very personal and refined taste of the collector. The leading lights of this great moment in French art – Watteau, Fragonard, Boucher, Robert, Natoire – are all represented by very appealing works of the highest quality, but there are also extremely good drawings by less familiar artists, as well as three fine Tiepolos to add an international flavour.
Drawings from another very personal collection, that of the celebrated San Francisco patron and collector, the late Dodie Rosekrans, form another significant section of the sale, with particularly notable sheets by Parmigianino, Boucher and Gainsborough.
Another series of drawings in the sale came together at a rather earlier date: an album discovered by Sotheby’s in the library of a British country house has yielded a series of previously unknown drawings, including two important studies after the antique by Nicolas Poussin, as well as substantial sheets by Lelio Orsi and Perino del Vaga.
From other sources come a wide range of outstanding drawings dating from around 1480 to 1880, from all the main European Schools; a real feast for collectors, whatever their taste or budget.