|Fra Bartolommeo, Madonna and Child|
Some of the highest estimates are for paintings previously ascribed to other names, or reappearing after decades in obscurity. Such "rediscoveries" often raise questions about attribution -- which, after all, is largely a matter of scholarly consensus reached over time -- and the auction house has rolled out some big names to argue the new attributions. Some of these big-ticket items are on public view for the first time.
Here are some examples:
The new attribution and the bulk of the Christie's catalogue entry are courtesy of Carlo Falciani, who organized the 2011 glorious, first retrospective of Bronzino's paintings. Falciani said he saw it when he was working on the exhibition, which begs the question -- why didn't he include it in the retrospective?
Fra Bartolommeo, Madonna and Child (top), mid-1490s (estimate: $12-$18 million). The catalogue lists no exhibitions for this painting, which was unknown until it was published in 1992. It shows a tender moment when the Christ child is climbing up to receive a kiss from his mother, their faces framed against a luminous sky.
Here are a few other standouts:
|Chardin, The Embroiderer, 1730s, $3-$5m|
|Lucas Cranach the Younger, Madonna and Child with St. John, after 1537, $1.5-$2.5m|
|Antonio Joli, View of the Bay of Naples, ca. 1770, $400-$600k|