Porto, who studied in Paris and Rome and exhibited at the Salon in the late 1870s, played an important role in introducing and diffusing the new aesthetics of naturalism in Portuguese artistic circles. He was also part of the celebrated Grupo do Leão, an informal association of Portuguese artists who championed naturalism.
Drawn from all over the country, Porto’s landscapes depicted the rural environment inhabited by people and animals going about their daily business.
The largest and most evocative of these are highly collectable and have made over £40,000 on the Portuguese art market.
The lot at Henry Adams came from a longstanding collection in Portugal and contained an unsigned 11½ x 20in (29 x 51cm) oil on wood showing figures washing in a river and a similar-sized unframed view across fields, dated to the year of Porto’s death in 1893. Both needed restorations.
Offered together in the September 24 sale with a modest estimate of £300-500 to reflect their condition, the pair drew interest online and on the phones from the UK and abroad before the hammer finally fell at £12,000 via thesaleroom.com.
The same estate also yielded a 21in x 2ft 9in (54 x 85cm) pair of faintly signed pastoral landscapes in pastels by Jean-Baptiste Pillement (1728-1808), whose engravings helped spread the Rococo style and the taste for chinoiserie throughout Europe.
For nearly a decade in the 1780s, the French-born artist and influential decorator lived in Portugal where he created some of his largest and most ambitious works.
He also produced many rustic themes of shepherds and farmers with their animals, often in pastel. The pair here was taken to £6500 against a £500-700 estimate.