Following the success of the first part of The Road to Rome sale in New York, Sotheby's Paris sold the second part of the collection and achieved a total of €3.7 million with 78% of lots sold by value.
Among the major lots in the sale was a Roman gilt-bronze group of Laocoön and his sons, attributed to Wilhelm Hopfgarten and Benjamin Ludwig Jollage, which achieved €375,000, the highest price in the auction. Additionally, Matthias Stomer's The Death of Brutus was sold for €183,000.
Following Sotheby’s New York’s 28 January auction “The Road to Rome,” the first instalment in an artistic journey to the Eternal City seen through the eyes and paintbrushes of the great Italian painters of the late 18th century such as Vanvitelli, Anesi, Caffi and Van Lint, “Voyage à Rome” marks the second chapter in this recollection of the Grand Tour. This second catalogue continues the well-deserved tribute to an important Italian private collection, the spirit and taste of which was inspired by the classical revival.
This sale, which will take place at Sotheby’s in Paris on 4 May, will bear witness to the tradition and continuity of the artistic and cultural quest that flourished in Rome at the end of the Enlightenment. It will also bring together a wonderful group of neo-classical objects created by the most famous artisans of the period, such as Valadier, Righetti, Raffaelli and Aguatti. The decorative arts have been collected with the same fervour and passion as the fine arts, just as they may well have been centuries earlier by the aesthetes and enthusiasts who roamed the provinces of Italy.
The light of the natural landscapes and beauty of the architectural decoration were taken up by the expertise and creativity of these artisans, who knew how to blend fine materials, precious stones, bronze and micro-mosaic while striving for perfection and driven by the quest for beauty. Among the most emblematic pieces in this collection of around 240 lots is a vase signed by the famous Italian micro-mosaicist, Giacomo Raffaelli (1753-1836), illustrating Rome’s most famous ancient sites. This valuable and refined object could not have failed to captivate enthusiasts on the Grand Tour. Also featured in this sale is a bust of the Spanish ambassador to Rome, José Nicolàs de Azara, sculpted in 1790 by Francesco Righetti (1738-1819). A pendant to that of Mengs, a leading exponent of neo-classicism and a friend of Azara, the work summarises what Rome promoted in the way of intellectual exchange, virtuosity and artistic effervescence.
The section dedicated to Old Master Paintings marvellously illustrates the poetry of the Roman campagna and the gentle quality of the Italian light when painted by vedutisti such as Paolo Anesi, Jacob de Heusch and Hendrick Franz van Lint. Beautifully crafted and in excellent condition, this collection has clearly been assembled by someone passionate about painting.