Exceptional Figures Old Master Drawings from a Private Collection Paris, 24 March 2021

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Exceptional Figures
Old Master Drawings from a Private Collection Paris, 24 March 2021

Paris – Christie’s is pleased to announce its traditional Spring Old Master Drawings sale which will take place on 24 March. This sale will feature an exceptional collection of some thirty works on paper mainly assembled in the 1990s by a young European connoisseur couple living in New York at the time.

GIOVANNI-BATTISTA FRANCO, IL SEMOLEI (circa 1510-1561) Two studies of skeletons pen and brown ink, brown wash 42,7 x 27,9 cm Estimate: €200,000-300,000

Great lovers of contemporary art and close to the artists occupying the contemporary art scene, such as Andy Warhol or Jean-Michel Basquiat, the couple also had a strong interest in Italian drawings, ‘buying with their hearts’. By instinct, and following the advice of Charles Ryskamp (1963-1987), at the time director of the Morgan Library in New York, they attended auctions and the important galleries of Old Masters in search of a strong image without ever letting themselves be guided by fashion or convention.

The ensemble, mostly composed of Italian sheets of the sixteenth- and seventeenth centuries, and often presenting figure studies, still reflects today the eclecticism of a multi-disciplinary taste of great modernity.

Among the highlights of this sale, we can mention an astonishing Two studies of skeletons (ill. above) finely executed in pen and brown ink by Giovanni Battista Franco (circa 1510-1561), estimated at €200,000-300,000. The drawing comes from the former collection of the sculptor and historian of medieval and curator at the Louvre, Anatole Marquet de Vasselot (1836-1918).

Additional highlights include a Study of a man yelling a particularly strong drawing in black and red chalk by Camillo Procaccini (1551-1629), estimated at €60,000-80,000. Some of the works in the collection are French in origin, not the least of which is Time-fighting youth executed with pen and brown ink, signed and dated 1588 by Jacques Quesnel (died 1629), a rare French artist whose drawing is the only work known by him today. It is estimated between 80,000 and 120,000 euros.

Finally, the Netherlandish School will be presented through one of the other highlight of the sale, a scene depicting Ovid’s Metamorphoses by Hendrick Goltzius (1558- 1617), preparatory to an engraving and illustrating the striking scene where Lycaon is transformed into a wolf (estimate: €200,000- 300,000).


Sale: March 24, 2021, at 3 pm

Exhibition: From 18th to 23rd March Christie’s: 9 avenue Matignon, 75008 Paris

About Christie’s

Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie’s has conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting Private Sales for clients and online sales are offered year-round across all categories. Christie’s global presence is spread across a network of international salerooms and 61 representatives and offices. provides detailed articles and videos on the objects offered for sale alongside the latest advances in digital viewing tools to make Christie’s accessible to all.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price – see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.

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