Morisot, Van Gogh, Degas to lead Freeman’s auction Feb. 18

Berthe Morisot (French, 1841–1895), ‘Apollon Révélant sa Divinité à la Bergère Issé’ (after François Boucher), oil on canvas, 25 1/8 x 31¼in. Estimate: $150,000-$250,000. Freeman’s image

PHILADELPHIA – On Feb. 18, Freeman’s will hold its inaugural auction of European Art and Old Masters at its new 2400 Market St. location. The tightly curated 50-lot sale will showcase Continental and British works spanning from the 16th to the early 20th century. Bid absentee or live online through LiveAuctioneers.

A variety of mediums will be featured, including early prints and works on paper, paintings and sculpture – some being important rediscoveries by celebrated artists such as Niccolò Codazzi (1642-1693), women artists Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670) and Emilie Preyer (1849-1930), Max Liebermann (1847-1935), Armand Guillaumin (French, 1841-1927) and Montague Dawson (British, 1890-1973).

One of the highlights of the sale will be Berthe Morisot’s Apollon Révélant sa Divinité à la Bergère Issé (after François Boucher) (above; Lot 37; $150,000-$250,000) – a striking late work completed in the fall of 1892. The painting is one of two paintings that Morisot copied after François Boucher, an 18th-century artist she particularly revered and studied. So distinctly Rococo in theme and technique, the present work made an impression on Claude Monet, who insisted on including it in the artist’s retrospective show in 1896, and which later inspired him his famous Nymphéas series. This painting remained in the Morisot family’s collection until it was purchased by the present owner from the artist’s grandson, giving it impeccable provenance.

Also on offer will be Bald-Headed Orphan Man, Facing Right by Vincent van Gogh (Lot 32; $120,000-$180,000). Completed in The Hague in January 1883, the charcoal drawing follows the artist’s move from his hometown in Etten – an important moment in the artist’s creative development. It depicts Adrianus Jacobus Zuyderland, a 72-year-old pensioner of an alms house who would become van Gogh’s most frequently used model. Here, Vincent captures a certain sense of pride in the downtrodden old man, perhaps revealing a sense of his own calm defiance.

Vincent van Gogh, ‘Bald-Headed Orphan Man, Facing Right,’ pencil and black wash on paper. Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Freeman’s image

A fresh-to-market bronze by Edgar Degasen titled Grand Arabesque, Deuxième Temps (Lot 48; $120,000-$180,000) will also be featured in the sale. Purchased from Alex Maguy Gallery in 1966 by the grandparents of the present owner, the sculpture has never been seen at auction before, remaining in the same family’s collection until the present date. The work presents a carefully modeled dancer in arabesque, one of ballet’s most challenging poses. As Degas preferred to work in clay and all his bronze castings are posthumous, the present work is an interesting pieces showcasing the artist’s ability to capture all the strength and delicacy of the ballerina’s pose in a three-dimensional work.

Edgar Degas (French, 1834-1917), ‘Grande Arabesque, Deuxième Temps.’ Estimate: $120,000-$180,000. Freeman’s image

The sale will also showcase numerous attractive 19th-century landscapes, including an unusually large Venetian vista by Rubens Santoro (Italian, 1859-1942), which depicts Saint Mark’s Basilica in the distance (Lot 35; $50,000-$80,000) as well as two Dutch scenes by Willem Koekkoek (Dutch, 1839-1895) (Lot 26; $50,000-$80,000 and Lot 27 $25,000-$40,000). Other landscape paintings of international repute will include an impressive landscape by Danish artist Peder Mørk Mønsted (1859-1941) (Lot 38; $20,000-$30,000) and a newly unearthed painting of a chapel in Valdai County by Russian Symbolist painter Nikolai Konstantinovich Roerich (1874-1947) (Lot 39;$30,000-$50,000).

Venetian vista by Rubens Santoro (Italian, 1859-1942), oil on canvas. Estimate: $50,000-$80,000. Freeman’s image

Along with 19th-century works, Old Master paintings will be well-represented through a rare and iconic woodcut of The Rhinoceros (Lot 1; $12,000-$18,000) by Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), a striking copy of a lost devotional piece by an artist in the circle of Quentin Massys the Elder(Dutch, 1466-1530) (Lot 4; $40,000-$60,000) and a bountiful still life by David de Coninck (Flemish, 1644-1701) featuring jewel-toned fruits, animals and architectural elements in an extensive landscape (Lot 8; $20,000-$30,000).

This copy of a lost devotional piece by an artist in the circle of Quentin Massys the Elder (Dutch, 1466-1530) is expected to sell for $40,000-$60,000. Freeman’s image

Freeman’s Raphaël Chatroux is the auction curator. For details contact him at rchatroux@freemansauction.com or (215) 563-9275.