Object Lessons: the best of London Art Week

Joseph Wright of Derby, Study of a Philosopher (around 1765-69). Old Masters Evening Sale, Sothebys, London, 4 December. Estimate: £200,000-£300,000. Courtesy Sothebys

Joseph Wright of Derby likely created this work as a study for The Hermit (around 1769, also known as A Philosopher by Lamplight, now in the Derby Museum). It was originally purchased in a posthumous studio sale by Richard Arkwright Junior, Wrights great patron famously known as “the richest commoner in England”. The study is from Wrights celebrated early period of candlelit paintings, and temporary export bans have been placed on two such works from the late 1760s in the past two years. The bar on the first, An Academy by Lamplight (1769)—sold for a record £7.3m (with fees) at Sothebys in December 2017—has since been lifted. The second, Two Boys with a Bladder (1768-1770), valued at £3.5m, still awaits a verdict from the Arts Council England.

Giovanni di Paolo, Saint Clare rescuing the shipwrecked (around 1455-60). Old Masters Evening Sale, Christies, London, 3 December. Estimate: £1.5m-£2m. Courtesy of Christies

This panel by the Sienese painter Giovanni di Paolo is one of four predellas designed to accompany a panel of Saint Claire in an altarpiece that now sits in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. Another predella from the same series is also included in this sale (est £600,000-£800,000). Both were seized by the Nazis from the collection of the Jewish telecommunications magnate Harry Fuld. Sold to the Bode Museum in Berlin in 1940, they were restituted back to Fulds family earlier this year. Should this work sell, it will likely make a record for the Quattrocento master, which currently stands at $885,750 and was achieved in 2001 at Sothebys New York.

Thomas Moran, Mount Superior, as viewed from Alta, Little Cottonwood Canyon, Utah (around 1879). Ben Elwes Fine Art during London Art WeekRead More – Source