Several notable costume paintings, including Vittorio Reggianini's The Appreciative Audience, will highlight Bonhams' May 8 European Paintings sale in New York.
Reggianini's (1858-1939) oil will star with an estimate of $80,000-120,000 as a superlative example of the artist's work.
"The Appreciative Audience has everything Reggianini collectors are looking for. The piece features gorgeous fabrics, glowing marbles, and expertly rendered expressions on all five figures. It really captures that feeling of nostalgic fantasy," explained Bonhams' Madalina Lazen.
Costume painting is an offshoot of romanticism, where painters endeavour to capture the essence of more elegant times through brilliantly realised depictions of sumptuous interiors and clothing.
Francesco Vinea's (1845-1902) A Romantic Dream will also appear in the sale, valued at $40,000-60,000. A massive piece showing a sleeping maiden surrounded by cherubs while receiving a visit from a prince, it is a classic example of the genre, with the silk of the maiden's dress and the prince's armour painted in magnificent detail.
However, the expected top lot of the sale does not conform to the costume painting genre, but is a fantastic depiction of the Dutch artist Constant Dutilleux working at his easel in a field. Completed by the leading Barbizon School painter Jean-Baptiste-Camilled Corot, it will sell with a $150,000-200,000 estimate.