Christie’s 25-lot auction on January 27 titled Modern Medici: Masterpieces from a New York Collection featured winning bids from both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Rijksmuseum.
The Dutch institution was the buyer of the 20in (51cm) cast of perhaps the best-known work of the Flemish sculptor Willem Danielsz van Tetrode (c.1525-80).
The écorché male with its dazzling musculature was a composition that enjoyed widespread popularity in the 17th century and was studied by multiple artists including Rubens.
Nearly identical to another cast exhibited at the ground-breaking Tetrode exhibition at the Rijksmuseum and the Frick Collection in 2003, this version surfaced just a few months later and was sold at auction in New York in 2004, when it was purchased for the Abbott-Guggenheim collection at $400,000. The estimate this time was $800,000- 1.2m and the hammer price $1.2m/£972,000 (or $1.5m with buyer’s premium).
With the same estimate, a bronze by Florentine sculptor Giovanni Battista Foggini (1652-1725) was knocked down to the Cleveland Museum of Art at $700,000 (£567,000). This 2ft (60cm) high cast tells the gruesome Greek myth of Apollo who chose to flay the satyr Marsyas after winning a musical battle.
The four other known versions of the composition in bronze (two in the British Museum) all have variations in the execution and modelling. This one, dated to the 1690s, had been in a private collection in Europe for three generations before it was sold privately in 2018.
Both lots were subject to a minimum price guarantee agreed by Christie’s with the vendor.