Lot 1
  • 1

Álvaro Pires de Évora, called Alvaro Portoghese

150,000 - 250,000 USD
435,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Álvaro Pires de Évora, called Alvaro Portoghese
  • The Annunciation
  • tempera and gold ground, on panel
  • 12 by 8 5/8 in.; 30.5 by 22 cm.


In the collection of the family of Heinz Kisters (1912-1977), Kreuzlingen, Switzerland;
By whom sold to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (1876–1967);
By descent to Adenauer's heirs, by whom sold back to Heinz Kisters;
His sale ('Collection formed by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, the property of Heinz Kisters’), London, Christies, 26 June 1970, lot 16, where unsold;
Thence by descent to the present owner.


Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie, Meisterwerke aus Baden-Wüttenbergischen Privatbesitz, 9 October 1958 - 10 January 1959, no. 9;
Arquivos Nacionais Torre do Tombo, Lisbon, Álvaro Pires de Évora : um pintor português na Itália do Quattrocento, 3 February - 3 April 1994, no. X. 


Staatsgalerie, Meisterwerke aus Baden-Württembergischen Privatbesitz, exh. cat., Stuttgart 1958, p. 13, cat. no. 9, reproduced fig. 83;
H. Kisters, Adenauer als Kunstsammler, Munich 1970, p. 42, reproduced p. 43;
F. Zeri, ‘Qualche Appunto Su Alvaro Pirez’, in Mitteilungen des Kunsthistorischen Institutes in Florenz, 1973, p. 192, reproduced p. 193, fig. 5;
R. Fremantle, Florentine Gothic painter. From Giotto to Massacio. A guide to painting in and near Florence 1300 to 1450, London 1975, p. 436, reproduced fig. 899;
M.S. Frinta, 'A new work by Alvaro Pirez', in Bulletin du Musée National du Varsovie, vol. XVII, 1976, no. 2, p. 35;
F. Todini, 'Alvaro Pirez d'Evora', in AKL – Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Volker, 1986, vol. II, p. 480-81;
M. Tazartes, 'Alvaro Pirez d'Evora', in La pittura in Italia. Il Quattrocento, vol. II, Milan 1987, p. 741;
F. Zeri, Giorno per giorno nella pittura. Scritti sull'arte Toscana dal Trecento al primo Cinquecento, Turin 1991, p. 120, reproduced fig. 181;
A. Tarturferi, 'Alvaro Pirez d'Evora', in M. Boskovits (ed.), The Martello collection. Further paintings, drawings and miniatures, Florence 1992, p. 12;
F. Todini, 'Alvaro Pirez d'Evora', in Allgemeines Künstlerlexikon. Die bildenden Künstler aller Zeiten und Völker, vol. III, Munich and Leipzig 1992, p. 18-19;
P. Dias, 'A fortuna crítica de Álvaro Pires de Évora', in F. Paulino (Ed.), Álvaro Pires de Évora. Um pintor português na Itália do Quattrocento, exh. cat., Lisbon 1994, p. 106, reproduced p. 107, and p. 164, cat. no. 12, reproduced. p. 165; 
G. Freuler, 'Alvaro Pirez', in J.Schoch (Ed.), Engel, Zurich 1999, p. 115;
M. Mrotzek, Alvaro Pirez - ein Maler der Spätgotik in der Toskana, diss., vol. I, Heidelberg 2009, p. 210-212, cat. no. 28;
Das Konstanzer Konzil. 1414–1418: Weltereignis des Mittelalters, exhibition catalogue, Karlsruhe 2014, pp. 72, cat. no. 5, reproduced.

Catalogue Note

This small panel, meant for private devotion, was probably once the left wing of a diptych.1 Zeri first dated this Annunciation to Alvaro's later years between 1430 and 1434. As Mrotzek notes, this mature period is marked by a significantly increased observation of small details and decoration, and of the individualized physiognomy of his figures. Mrotzek recognizes the present Annunciation as one of Alvaro's highest quality works.2 Zeri notes that the figure of the Madonna Annunciate reveals the significant influence of Lorenzo Monaco, while the wings of the angel appear to be a direct quote from Simone Martini's Annunciation in the Uffizi, Florence.3 Alvaro was born in Portugal, and believed to have perhaps trained in Valencia. He is thought to be the artist Vasari calls 'Alvaro di Piero, a Portugese' and describes as painting in Volterra and Pisa at the same time as Taddeo di Bartolo, under whose biography the mention of Alvaro appears.4

1. Whereabouts of a right hand panel of the original diptych is unrecorded.
2. See Mrotzek 2009, p. 212.
3. See Zeri, 1973, p. 364.
4. G. Vasari, Lives of the Painters, Sculptors and Architects, translated by Gaston du C. de Vere, republished London 1996, vol. I, p. 235.