Attention to all our art lovers… Preparatory sketch for The Triumph of Caesar, estimated at $12 mln, will go on sale in New York in January.
In the same week that “the last Botticelli” was offered at Frieze Masters for $30m by Trinity Fine Art, Sotheby’s is presenting a newly discovered drawing by Andrea Mantegna with links to one of London’s greatest Renaissance treasures. The painting is one of fewer than 20 known sketches by the master and is believed to be one of only two works by Mantegna that is in private hands today. Cristiana Romalli, Sotheby’s senior director of Old Master drawings, says that she “cannot conceive of a more important drawing by one of the top Renaissance artists”.
Painting was once in the collection of the German artist August Grahl (1791-1868) and has been in the same private collection since the mid of last century. It was recently exhibited in the “Mantegna and Bellini” exhibition at London’s National Gallery and at the Staatliche Museen in Berlin, where technical examination took place. The drawing, which probably dates in late 1480s, was relatively well used.
Following Hong Kong, Sotheby’s will take back the painting to New York in November, via Los Angeles. Due to its rarity, Romalli expects interest from major museums, such as Louvre Abu Dhabi, and from private collectors.
Comparative figures at recent auctions for similar Old Master drawings range from $14,1m for a study by Lucas Van Leyden (Christie’s, London in 2018) to $47,9m for Raphael’s Head of a Young Apostle (Sotheby’s, London in 2012). A Mantegna preparatory drawing, a study for the San Zeno altarpiece in Verona, sold in 1984 for £1,1m, a very large sum at the time.