Bouguereau painting with artist provenance leads Freeman’s Feb. 14 auction
PHILADELPHIA — Freeman’s biannual European Art & Old Masters auction brings the best of the Continent, England and Scotland to market, and the Tuesday, February 14 edition will be led by La Fleur Preferee (Favorite Flower), a striking life-size outdoor portrait of a farm girl by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), estimated at $400,000-$600,000. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The painting was executed in 1895, at the height of Bouguereau’s career, and boasts an extensive provenance, having originally been bought directly from the artist. The work comes to Freeman’s from a private collection in North Carolina and has been in US collections for more than a century, underscoring the artist’s longstanding popularity among Americans. This quintessential canvas is an unmissable opportunity for Bouguereau collectors.
Also on offer in the February 14 sale is Deux Meres de Famille, a mother and child scene by Elizabeth Jane Gardner Bouguereau, an important 19th-century French painter. This fresh-to-market work, which is estimated at $40,000-$60,000, was exhibited at the Salon in 1888. Gardner Bouguereau was an early and influential Parisian expatriate, one of the first American women to exhibit at the Salon, and the wife of William-Adolphe.
The European Art & Old Masters sale presents a range of distinguished paintings, including Pont-Aven, a lively cityscape by the noted French Post-Impressionist Gustave Loiseau. Also on offer is Canal in Spring by Frits Thaulow, who combined Impressionism with naturalism to execute landscapes with an aesthetic all his own — initially in his native Norway, then primarily in France.
Daniel Ridgway Knight’s romantic riverside scene The Signal, a highlight of the auction lineup that has an estimate of $50,000-$80,000, foregrounds the artist’s traditional, academic attention to detail and his focus on perhaps his most popular subject matter: peasant women. James Tissot’s Sur la Plage, an enigmatic seaside scene carrying an estimate of $40,000-$60,000, highlights the lush theatrical dress in which the artist often costumed his models.
The auction features several centuries of artistic production, with some works — such as an elegant chalk-on-paper portrait of a woman by the studio of Paolo Veronese — dating back as early as the 16th century. Other esteemed pieces by Old Masters in the sale include the oil-on-copper Crying Madonna attributed to Carlo Dolci and a selection of portraits of the Campbell family by William Aikman.
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