A Love of Old Master Portraiture Helps Define a Family Collection

25 January–31 January | New York
Sir William Beechey, R.A., Portrait of Miss Mary Payne, Later Mrs. Dolphin, Full-Length, in a White Gown and Holding a Thrush as an Eagle Swoops Toward Her, in a Wooded Landscape.
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As selections from a distinguished American Collection of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture comes to auction, we take a closer look at selections from the carefully curated group which reflects a fascination and love for history. Featuring stunning formal portraiture, the collection will be offered in the upcoming Master Paintings Evening Sale (30 January | New York) as well as the Master Paintings & Sculpture Day Sale (31 January | New York) and will be on view in Sotheby’s New York galleries from 25–30 January.

A Love of Old Master Portraiture Helps Define a Family Collection

  • Marie-Victoire Lemoine, Portrait of Madame de Genlis (1746-1830). Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    This sumptuous portrait of a young and attractive girl, holding flowers to her chest as her undershirt delicately falls open, depicts Madame de Genlis, a writer who later became the first female governess to the royal princes, charged with the education of the sons of Philippe, duc d'Orléans. Marie-Victoire Lemoine painted Madame de Genlis with a soft yet commanding beauty, elegantly and directly looking out at the viewer in this sensual depiction of the young writer.
  • Sir William Beechey, R.A., Portrait of Miss Mary Payne, Later Mrs. Dolphin, Full-Length, in a White Gown and Holding a Thrush as an Eagle Swoops Toward Her, in a Wooded Landscape. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Sir William Beechey studied under Johan Zoffany at the Royal Academy in the 1770s, and also drew inspiration from the elegant portraiture of Sir Joshua Reynolds. The unusual subject of the painting, with Mary holding a thrush in her arms and guarding it from an eagle, was inspired by Henry Hart Milman's 1818 epic poem Samor, Lord of the Bright City.
  • John Hoppner, R.A., Portrait of the Hon. Miss Emma Crewe Seated with Her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, in a Landscape with Kettle with Burning Embers to Right. Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    The Honorable Emma Crewe was the daughter of John, 1st Lord Crewe and Frances Anne Greville, a famously beautiful Whig hostess. Sir Joshua Reynolds painted Anne several times as well as Emma's son John, 2nd Lord Crewe, who posed as Henry VIII. This portrait was likely made toward the end of Hoppner's career, before Emma's marriage to Foster Cunliffe Offley in 1809. A smaller version of this painting is in a private collection in England.
  • Thomas Hudson, Portrait of a Gentleman in Masque Dress with Italianate Landscape Beyond. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Thomas Hudson was the most popular and successful portraitist in England during the middle decades of the 18th century. The gentleman here wears extravagant Italian clothing and holds a mask, which appears in others of Hudson’s portraits and may have been a studio prop. Hudson traveled to Italy himself in 1752, although he would also have seen a similar costume in portraits made in Italy and brought home to England by gentlemen returning from the Grand Tour.
  • François-Joseph Kinson, Portrait of Louis Antoine of France, duc d'Angoulême (1775 – 1844), Three-Quarter Length. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    Born at Versailles as the eldest son of Charles X of France, the duc d'Angoulême was the last Dauphin of France. After his father abdicated the throne in 1830, he did the same and then exiled himself from France, dying in the Veneto. Kinson was the official portraitist to the duc d'Angoulême and painted several portraits of him in different versions. The prime, full-length version of the present painting was exhibited at the Salon of 1819 and is now at the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Bordeaux.
  • Nicolas de Largillierre, Portrait of a Gentleman, Said to Be the Chamberlain de Montargu, Half-Length, Wearing a Breastplate Over a Red Velvet Jacket with Gold Embroidered Sleeves. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    Another version of this impressive portrait is in the Gemäldegalerie, Dresden (inv. no. 758). As the Dresden version dates to circa 1710, and it is likely that the present painting dates to the same period. The sitter was first identified as the Chamberlain of Montargu by Karl Woerman in 1887; though this has not been fully confirmed, the Dresden version has since catalogued the sitter as such with certainty.
  • Nicolas de Largillierre, Portrait of a Lady, Most Probably Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie (1685-1712), Duchesse de Bourgogne, Half-Length, in an Embroidered Gold Dress and a Blue Mantle. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    This impeccably-preserved, unlined canvas is remarkable in that the painted signature of Largilliere can still be seen on the reverse of the canvas. It most probably depicts Marie-Adélaïde de Savoie, who became duchesse de Bourgogne when she married Louis, Dauphin of France and duc de Bourgogne, as part of the Treaty of Turin in 1696. She was the mother of the future King Louis XV of France.
  • Hyacinthe Rigaud, Portrait of a Gentleman, Half-Length, in a Red Mantle. Estimate $20,000–30,000.
    This elegant portrait, which can stylistically be dated to circa 1605, beautifully displays Rigaud's hallmark ability to create realistic depictions of features alongside bravura rendering of material and texture. Dézallier d'Argenville, writing in the following century, noted that "when he (Rigaud) painted velvet, satin, taffeta, fur or lace, one had to touch them to realise they were not the real thing. Wigs and hair, which are so difficult to paint, were but a game for him; the hands in his paintings are particularly divine."
  • George Romney, Portrait of Ann, Wife of William Baldwin, M.P., of Malton, Seated, Half-Length, Wearing a Pink Dress. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Ann Baldwin was the wife of William Baldwin (1737 - 1813) of Hanwell, Middlesex, a lawyer and Member of Parliament with whom she had two daughters and two sons. When Romney painted the Baldwins in 1778, William was beginning what would become a distinguished legal and political career.
  • After François Girardon (1628-1715), French, 19th century. Louis XIV on Horseback. Estimate
    This impressive bronze is a reduction of the colossal equestrian statute of Louis XIV by François Girardon, commissioned in 1682 for the Place Louis le Grand, now the Place Vendôme, Paris, and unveiled in 1699. The monument was subsequently destroyed by throngs in 1792 and only one hoof remains, now preserved in the Louvre.

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