Sotheby's, Palace Magnani Feroni, Via Dei Serragli 8, Florence Italy
Sotheby's Italy have held a four day sale from 12th-15th October 2009, to auction a selection of of 1,800 lots from the dealing dynasty stock of the spectacular Salvatore Romano and his son Francesco Romano. The total sum exceeded the pre-sale low estimate, reaching €10,508,407 / $15,505,155 (pre-sale estimate: €10,361,060 - 15,435,780 / $15,287,744 -22,775,493).
The auction comprised of sculptures from the 14th to the 18th century, Old Masters paintings and drawings from the 1600s and 1700s, 19th-century Italian paintings, furniture and decorative objects including antique textiles and an interesting library. The collection bears witness to the legacy of one of the 20th century’s greatest Italian antique dealers.
In the Old Master paintings and drawings section of the auction, both Pompeo Batoni’s Madonna col Bambino (est. €100,000 – 150,000) and St. Gerolamo by Nicolas Tournier (est. €50,000 – 70,000) were offered.
Among the significant number of sculpture lots were a number of Haute Epoque sculptures – the great passion of Salvatore Romano and the main focus of his research, among which is the Madonna col Bambino, a magnificent white marble sculpture attributed to Maestro della Madonna Piccolomini and dating to the end of the 15th century (est. €70,000-90,000). The sculpture was formerly housed in the celebrated collection of Samuel Kress, a significant portion of which now forms part of the collection of the National Gallery of Washington.
The furniture lots included a spectacular group of four scenographic pedestals, each centred by a grotesque masque, similar to those preserved at Palazzo Pitti in Florence, dating to the 17th century and estimated at €30,000 – 50,000.
The stock had been stored on the first floor of the city's Palazzo Magnani Feroni and had laid untouched for over half a century. Sotheby's held the sale insitu, using the palazzo to display the collection for the four-day view, with the auction itself held on the terrace. It was primarily marketed a the Florentine trade, who would be hard pressed to absorb so much. A third of the sale covered by commissions in advance was an encouraging start and the event was well attended, but much of the buying came from absentee bidders. It was reported that at least 30 per cent of the buying was non-Italian, and there was a mix of trade, private and institutional bidding.
Above: Pietà with St. Giovanni and Maria Maddalena, a group of figures in wood which was and written about by Leo Planiscig in 1929 and is attributed to Giacomo Cozzarelli (1453-1515), sculptor, painter and architect and one of Francesco di Giorgio’s best pupils (est. €10,000 - 15,000).
Above: [ITALIAN, 13TH CENTURY, A PAIR OF STONE COLUMNS AND AN ARCHITECTURAL FRAGMENT, WITH AN ADDED BASE] Coppia di colonne binate in pietra e un frammento in pietra; con una base non pertinente le colonne: cm 153 secolo XIII
ESTIMATE 5,000 - 7,000 EUR
Above: ITALIA SETTENTRIONALE, LOMBARDIA, FINE SECOLO XIV
[NORTH ITALIAN, LOMBARDY, LATE 14TH CENTURY, A LIMESTONE ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENT CARVED WITH A FIGURE OF ST. LOUIS OF TOULOUSE]
Elemento architettonico in arenaria scolpita raffigurante San Ludovico da Tolosa tra due colonne stilizzate coronate da capitelli fogliacei, quello di
sinistra con giglio araldico, che sostengono un arco inscritto:"ST LUDOVICUS REG KAROL FULIUS" Altezza: cm 63; larghezza: cm 48,5; profondità: cm 18
63cm., 24¾in.; width; 48.5cm., 19 1/8 in.; depth 18cm., 7in.
ESTIMATE 15,000 - 25,000 EUR