€15m Leonardo drawing discovery
December 12 2016
Picture: New York Times
The New York Times has news of a previously unknown drawing by Leonardo, which has been deemed the real deal by the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Apparently it was found by a Paris auction house, Tajan, after a collector walked in off the street:
In March, Mr. Prate [Tajan's Old MAster specialist] recalled being “in a bit of a rush” when a retired doctor visited Tajan with 14 unframed drawings that had been collected by his bibliophile father. (The owner’s name and residence somewhere in “central France” remain a closely guarded secret, at his request.) Mr. Prate spotted a vigorous pen-and-ink study of St. Sebastian tied to a tree, inscribed on the mount “Michelange” (Michelangelo).
“I had a sense that it was an interesting 16th-century drawing that required more work,” said the elegantly suited Mr. Prate, speaking in the boardroom of Tajan’s Art Deco premises, near the Paris Opera.
He eventually asked for the view of Dr Carmen Bambach of the Met, who said:
“The attribution is quite incontestable,” Dr. Bambach said, even though the drawing has no pre-20th-century ownership history. “What we have here is an open-and-shut case. It’s an exciting discovery.”
A closely related drawing is in Hamburg.
The drawing has been valued by Tajan at about €15m.