Christie’s New York to Auction Rare Early Caravaggio

Caravaggio's Boy Peeling a Fruit (1591) Photo: All Art

Christie’s New York has announced that it will auction an extraordinarily rare, early Caravaggio entitled Boy Peeling a Fruit (1591) on January 28, as part of Old Masters Week, Art Daily reports.

The masterpiece, which depicts a young boy sitting at a table peeling an orange, has a pre-sale estimate of $3 to $5 million. Boy Peeling a Fruit is considered to be one of the earliest known paintings by Caravaggio, and it displays the artist’s signature use of dramatic lighting contrasts.

The painting has an impeccable provenance, having belonged to Sir Joshua Reynolds in the late 18th century. It also has a remarkable exhibition history. In 1985, it was featured in the seminal retrospective “The Age of Caravaggio” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which then toured to the Museo Nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples. In 2001, it was included in the exhibition “The Genius of Rome” at London’s Royal Academy, and Rome’s Palazzo Venezia.

The last time Boy Peeling a Fruit hit the auction block was in 1976 in London. The majority of artworks by Caravaggio are held in public or private collections, so it is incredibly rare for paintings of such quality and provenance to come up at auction.

Other highlights from Christie’s Old Masters Week include a series of Renaissance and Baroque clocks and sculptures from the Abbott-Guggenheim Collection, and a rare early portrait by the Renaissance painter Agnolo Bronzino.

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