Bronzino portrait

Bronzino portrait – estimate $3m-5m at Sotheby’s.

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Returned Bronzino comes to auction

A Bronzino (1503-72) portrait which was restituted earlier this year to the heirs of a Jewish-born German collector will be offered at Sotheby’s New York in January.

The painting, which Sotheby’s believes could be an early self-portrait by the Florentine Renaissance artist, is estimated at $3m-5m.

It was bought by the Munich heiress Ilse Hesselberger from the art dealer Julius Böhler in 1927. Despite having converted to the Protestant faith in 1908, she was forced to sell her country estate in 1938 and liquidate other assets, including this Bronzino.

She was later deported to the Kaunas Concentration Camp where she was murdered in November 1941.

The painting subsequently was acquired by the Reich Chancellery but after the war it hung in various governmental offices in both Wiesbaden and then Berlin where it was long misattributed.

After its true identity was uncovered, the work was restituted to the heirs of Hesselberger by the German government earlier this year.

NY sales series sets highest ever total

The latest auctions of Modern and Contemporary art held by Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips in New York posted a record for any series ever held.

Thanks in large part to the $1.62bn (£1.42bn) from Christie’s sale of works from the Paul Allen collection (see ATG No 2568), the sales generated a combined total of $3.2bn (£2.8bn) which surpassed the previous high of $2.78bn (£2.27m) for the series held in May this year.

In the current series, the six sales at Sotheby’s raised a total of $856.7m (£751.5m). The auction house’s top lot was Andy Warhol’s White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times), a large-scale silkscreen painting from 1963, which sold for $74m (£64.9m), below its $80m estimate.

Catalogue raisonné group ‘legacy’ talk

The International Catalogue Raisonné Association (ICRA) will hold its fourth annual conference on December 1 at Cromwell Place in London.

Titled Legacy: The Artist’s View, it focuses on artist legacies and plans to bring together artists, the children and grandchildren of famous figures, as well as museum curators and catalogue raisonné authors to discuss the complexities involved.

The keynote speaker is artist and author Edmund De Waal.

Bellmans holds first fine jewellery auction

Eleanor Harrison

Eleanor Harrison of Bellmans.

West Sussex firm Bellmans held its first fine jewellery auction on November 17, led by fine jewellery specialist and auctioneer Eleanor Harrison, who joined in the summer.

Only four of the 166 lots were unsold.

Harrison started her career in antique jewellery shops before moving onto Mappin & Webb, and later worked as an appraiser for Prestige Valuations and at Ewbank’s auction house in Surrey.

Lalique vase stolen from Leeds Castle

Lalique vase

The Lalique vase stolen from Leeds Castle.

Police are appealing for help to track down a stolen Lalique glass vase. It was taken from public display from Leeds Castle in Kent sometime between November 10-14.

The goblet or vase has been valued at around £1500.

Anyone with information is urged to call the appeal line on 01622 604100 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. Kent Police has not issued a crime reference number.

Frieze LA focus on 20th century art

Frieze Los Angeles will include a wider selection of galleries featuring 20th century art alongside a newly expanded Focus section. The event takes place in a new location at Santa Monica Airport and features 120 galleries from 22 countries.

The organisers said there will be an emphasis on “exhibitors with a specialism in the 20th century” and these participants will have stands in the Barker Hanger, which sits next to the tent on the airport property. They include exhibitors Berggruen Gallery, Marianne Boesky Gallery, Donald Ellis Gallery, Hakgojae Gallery, LA Louver, Luhring Augustine, Anthony Meier Fine Arts, and Parrasch Heijnen.

The event is scheduled for February 16-19, 2023.

Celtic coins taken in museum raid

A large horde of Celtic gold coins dating back to c.100BC has been stolen from a German museum, according to media reports. It was taken from the Celtic and Roman Museum in Manching, to the north of Munich.

The 483 coins, valued at several million euros, were discovered in 1999 during excavations of an ancient settlement in Manching and are considered the biggest trove of Celtic gold found in the 20th century.

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In Numbers

The Beatles Portfolio

The Beatles Portfolio: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney by Richard Avedon.

Image copyright: The Richard Avedon Foundation


The hammer price of The Beatles Portfolio: John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison and Paul McCartney by Richard Avedon, 1967, which sold at Phillips Photographs auction on November 22. The price including buyer’s premium of £809,000 is a world record for this Beatles Portfolio. This work is number five from an edition of six plus three artist proofs.