Wednesday, December 3, 2008

If Santa Gave Me My Wish

Result at the bottom of the post.

Next week Bonhams is having an American paintings sale with a prize piece. I am a great fan of John Singer Sargent's work and to own an original would be a Santa miracle, but we can all dream. Estimated at $200/300 thousand, lets see (in these gray days,) what it goes for.

From Bonhams', "Sargent’s study Head of a Spanish Musician is perhaps the most talked about lot of the sale. The oil on canvas sketch is signed and dates from the period when Sargent was in Spain at work on his masterpiece El Jaleo, now within the collection of Boston’s Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. It is one of the few preparatory studies for the famed final work to remain in private hands. A number of other studies are with the Gardner Museum and more still at Harvard University’s Fogg Art Museum.

Boasting a rather fantastic history, Sargent apparently gave the oil on canvas to the wife of painter William Higginbottom when she admired the sketch, referring to it as ‘the Matador.’ He supposedly cut the work from its stretcher and presented it to her on the spot -- which may explain the unstretched nature of the work today. The canvas subsequently passed through that family and is said to have survived the bombings of World War II, miraculously hanging on the only wall left standing in their destroyed home. This storied piece carries an estimate of $200/300,000.

The sale day is December 3. There are a number of beautiful works for sale as can be seen here.

The painting went for $264,000.00 which includes the auction house's take, so it went for the bottom estimate. Someone got a deal and I don't think Santa got it for me.

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