the foremost Victorian Neoclassicists, built an illustrious career creating images of idealized feminine beauty within a Greco-Roman-inspired idiom. In Godward’s picture, we see a young auburn-haired woman posing against a highly-polished, veined marble backdrop. The implied impermanence and vulnerability of her youthful form draped in delicate, sheer fabrics provide a striking foil to ideals of strength and timelessness suggested by the marble setting.
The Victorian period was a golden age for the portrayal of children in art and literature. Children of bourgeois and
aristocratic families enjoyed great attention, and portraits of them with rosy-cheeks happily playing with faithful family pets were in great demand. Arthur Elsley was first known as a skilled depicter of canine and equestrian subjects, yet upon witnessing the success of his fellow artists’ happy childhood scenes, Elsley followed suit. In Weatherbound, the artist depicts two sisters and their faithful pet taking shelter from the snow (est. $150/200,000).
Edward Robert Hughes’ Dream Idyll (A Valkyrie) presents a seductive, strange, Symbolist scene that captivated audiences at its exhibition in 1902 (est. $100/150,000). The painting is a relatively early experiment in the Symbolist style for Hughes, whose earlier subjects were often based on Shakespearean and other literary themes. Here, Hughes creates an aesthetic mood rather than a particular story and the picture, as its title suggests, serves as a starting point for the imagination, a way to bring out what is hidden in the subconscious.
Two works by Alfred James Munnings are among the highlights of the sale, both originally from the renowned Matsukata Collection in Japan. In A Huntsman, circa 1913, Munnings records a peaceful moment for horse and rider as the foxhound searches for a scent (est. $150/200,000). In The Barn (est. $100/150,000), Munnings captures the curiosity of two horses, whose ears are pricked and heads are slightly turned towards the viewer as if we have intruded upon the scene. Munnings depiction of the subtle tonality in the horses’ coats pays tribute to the noble beasts that would soon after be marginalized with the rise of industrialization.
Sotheby’s sale of 19th Century European Art will once again offer a selection of Orientalist works by some of the finest artists of the genre, led by Leopold Carl Müller’s rediscovered depiction of A Street Scene, Cairo. (est.$600/800,000). Müller’s picture boasts a spectacular provenance – it was purchased the year it was executed by William Henry Vanderbilt and descended in his family until its sale at Sotheby’s predecessor Parke-Bernet in 1945. The painting has remained in a private collection since its sale in 1945, and was only this year discovered when Sotheby’s research revealed its full provenance. In fact, the painting remains in its beautifully carved original frame and can be seen hanging in a period depiction of the Vanderbilt’s salon in their Fifth Avenue mansion. Jean Discart’s skillful depicture of The Pottery Studio, Tangiers, will also be included (est. $100/150,000). The auction will also feature a collection of six Polish paintings from the Slotkowski Collection in Chicago. Pride in