$80m Botticelli at Sotheby's

September 24 2020

Image of $80m Botticelli at Sotheby's

Picture: Sotheby's

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Mon Dieu! Sotheby's have announced that they will be offering an $80m work by Sandro Botticelli in their January auction in New York. The portrait of a young man holding a roundel is one of the last great works by the master in private hands, and will carry the largest estimate ever set for an old master at Sotheby's.

The painting's provenance sounds rather intriguing too:

The portrait, Young Man Holding a Roundel, is recorded as being in the collection of Lord Newborough at Caernarfon in Wales in the 1930s. It is believed to have been purchased by his ancestor Sir Thomas Wynn, the first Lord Newborough, while living in Tuscany.

It apparently hung in an anteroom unknown to the outside world, its importance unrecognised. It was bought by a dealer who sold it to a private collector whose heirs sold it at auction to the present owner in 1982 for £810,000.

Over the past 50 years it has had periods of extended loan to the National Gallery in London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.


Once again it is proven that stormy seas can bring unexpected treasures to the shores. It will be interesting to see what state the art market, and the world for that matter, will be in after the November Presidential election.


Update - More details have emerged at the end of last week regarding the painting's owner. It has been consigned for sale by the real estate magnate Sheldon Selow. Selow is reported to have purchased the work for $1.3m at auction in 1982. 

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