Sotheby’s is to offer one of the most important works by JMW Turner still in circulation.
Titled Ehrenbreitstein (1835), it’s a rendering of the ruined fortress of the same name in the city of Koblenz, Germany.
The scene around the fortress, which shows the tomb of General Marceau, is inspired by a verse from Lord Byron’s Childe Harold.
Very few major works by Turner remain in private hands
Turner travelled regularly in Europe. He would often spend the summer touring, returning to Britain in the winter to paint.
Most of Turner’s major paintings are housed in museums. In fact, this is one of only six remaining in private hands.
His record at auction is £30.3m ($37.7m), set for Rome in 2014.
Ehrenbreitstein is valued at £15m-25m ($18.7m-31.1m), although it’s worth nothing that Rome outperformed a similar estimate of £20m ($24.9m).
The present lot is an equally important work and looks primed to set a new record when it comes to auction in London on July 5.
Julian Gascoigne, Bonhams’ senior specialist in British paintings, said: “Turner is one of those seminal figures who changed the way we see and think about the world.
“An artist rooted in the aesthetic philosophy and culture of his time, perpetually engaged with the art of both his predecessors and contemporaries, he was at the same time possibly the first ‘modern’ painter; who directly inspired the Impressionism of the nineteenth century, and presaged the Abstract Expressionism of the twentieth.
“These late works in particular, with their bold application of colour, treatment of light and deconstruction of form, revolutionised the way we perceive the painted image.”
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