On 5 July, Sotheby's will offer for sale one of the greatest works by J.M.W. Turner still in private hands in the Old Masters Evening Sale. Painted in 1835, Ehrenbreitstein is a late work, dating from a period that is widely considered Turner's best: other works from this time now hang in the world's greatest museums, with only a minute number of this importance and quality remaining in private ownership. The subject of enormous critical acclaim when it was first exhibited in 1835, the painting depicts the ruined fortress of Ehrenbreitstein near Coblenz – a place of special significance for Turner. Though he made many drawings and watercolours of German views, this is the most important oil painting of a German subject that Turner ever painted. Often referred to as the 'painter of light', Turner is widely regarded as Britain's foremost artist, whose unique and unprecedented style not only had a profound and lasting impact on British art, but was also a vital precursor to both the Impressionist and the much later Abstract Expressionist movements — Monet openly acknowledged his indebtedness to Turner. Major works of such quality by Turner are rare on the international market. The last example to be offered (Rome, from Mount Aventine, painted in the same year as Ehrenbreitstein and offered at Sotheby's in 2014) made a record £30.3 million (US$47.6 million) – the highest price ever achieved for any British-born artist at auction, and placing Turner alongside Rubens and Raphael as one of just three artists from the pre-Impressionist era to have achieved prices at this level. The picture will be offered with an estimate of £15–25 million (US$18.7–31.2m/€17.3–28.9m).
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