Property from the estate of Giancarlo Baroni auctioned at Sotheby's, New York to last night (January 29) to get Old Masters Week underway, with Le Demoiselle d'honneur, a portrait by Edourd Manet's pupil, Eva Gonzales, the undisputed top lot.
The shimmering pastel on canvas brought $2.5m - an impressive 324.4% increase on the work's $600,000 top-end estimate and a record price for a work by the artist.
Eva Gonzales (1859-1883) was Manet's only pupil and although neither she nor her teacher ever exhibited with the impressionists in their controversial exhibitions in Paris, both Gonzales and Manet are considered key figures in the movement.
Gonzales, who tragically died in childbirth aged 34, a mere six days after the death of her mentor, Manet, is known for her pastel portraits, which often featured her sister and her husband, the graphic designer, Henri Guerard, in naturalistic poses.
Here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we are lucky enough to be able to offer a letter written by Pierre-August Renoir, which offers a rare glimpse into the thoughts of one of impressionism's leading exponents.
Bernardo Bellotto's 1722 Venice, A View of the Molo, Looking West also sold with strong results, bringing $1.3m against a $1.2m high estimate, while El Greco's circa 1575 The Entombment of Christ sold for $902,500, just shy of its $1m low estimate.
Baroni's passion for art was legendary, and his collection provides insight into the mind of one of the pre-eminent collectors of recent years. Such strong results are not only testament to the health of the art market, but to Baroni's discerning eye and passion for the finest quality.
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