News-Antique.com - Oct 08,2009 - 22 OCTOBER, 2009 Sotheby’s autumn sale of 19th Century European Art Including Important British Paintings will be held in New York on 22 October, 2009 and will offer a selection of high-quality works representing the best artists, schools and styles of the 19th century. Works from the sale are estimated to bring in excess of $10.5 million* and will be exhibited at Sotheby’s New York galleries beginning 17 October.
Among the highlights of the sale is French Academic painter William Bouguereau’s Jeune Fille à la Cruche (Young Girl with a Water Jug) (est. $750,000/1 million). By 1885, when the artist painted Jeune Fille à la Cruche (Young Girl with a Water Jug), France had emerged from decades of great social change. Revolutions had replaced kings with presidents, transformed farms into factories, and the demands of modern business threatened the agrarian way of life. Yet, easing such concerns were finely painted portraits of country children, like the present work's model, who sits alone on a rough-hewn stone bench, resting from her task of carrying a clay water jug. In his sensitive portrayals of peasant girls, Bouguereau elevated the image of France's most humble citizens; painted as a full-length portrait and set in a vertical picture space in front of a loosely painted landscape, Bouguereau gives his model iconic stature despite the rough cloth of her dress and her bare feet. There is simultaneously a naturalistic truth to Bouguereau's representation of the young girl, her cheeks slightly flushed from her demanding labor, her small hands unable to surround the thick handle of the weighty jug (separate release available).
Bouguereau’s Le Bruit de la Mer (est. $300/500,000) presents quite a different child subject. Here the blond model wears a well tailored dress and coiffed hair and holds a shell to her ear. Shells at the time were an exotic and expensive collectible as exploration and colonialism expanded.
Gustave Courbet’s 1867 canvas La Trombe will also be offered (est. $400/600,000). Experts have divided Courbet’s fascination with the sea into five distinct periods, which correlate to visits to five different coastal towns. La Trombe dates to Courbet’s 1867 visit to Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer and depicts a menacing storm bearing down on a tiny woman on a rock. Because Courbet rarely included figures in his seascapes, the inclusion of the tiny figure makes the painting all the more interesting, though her meaning remains elusive.
This season the sale will feature a strong selection of works by British artists led by Frederic, Lord Leighton’s monumental Venus Disrobing for the Bath (est. $1.2/1.5 million). Venus Disrobing for the Bath is the first of Leighton’s important nudes, which challenged the prevailing notions of Victorian propriety in favor of unadulterated beauty. Surprisingly, Leighton’s controversial nude was defended by critics, suggesting the prestige and popularity of paintings (even those of nudes) that reinterpreted Greek myths or Classical artifacts for a contemporary audience.
John William Godward’s Beauty in a Marble Room, painted in 1894, is also among the highlights (est. $400/600,000). Godward, one of