More Than 50 Works From the Collection of Late, Keen-Eyed Old Master Dealer Richard Feigen Could Fetch $17 Million at Auction
An eclectic mix of works assembled by the dealer is going to Sotheby's.
The revered late Old Master expert Richard Feigen once described himself as “a collector in dealer’s clothing.” His keen eye and wide-ranging tastes will be on full display when 55 works from his holdings hit the auction block at Sotheby’s on October 18.
Feigen, who ran galleries in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles and supplied important artworks to more than 100 top museums around the world, died in February at the age of 90 due to complications from COVID-19. The sale of works from his estate is expected to bring in $11.5 million to $17 million. Highlights will be displayed in London and New York ahead of the sale.
A Sotheby’s representative confirmed that the offering has no guarantee, which is somewhat surprising given the cachet of Feigen’s name and the presumably stiff competition to win the consignment.
On the other hand, the absence of a guarantee may signal the estate’s confidence that the collection will spur competitive bidding. In 2019, Feigen sold 10 Old Masters from his collection at Christie’s to fund his retirement.
Among the highlights of the upcoming offerings are eight works by British painter Richard Parkes Bonington, including two landscapes created during the artist’s 1826 trip to Italy, estimated at $2 million–3 million and $1.5 million–2 million respectively. Feigen’s enthusiasm for Bonington reflects his “unique instinct for seeking artists that he thought were undervalued or under-appreciated,” according to Sotheby’s.
Early Italian and Baroque pictures on offer include Lorenzo Monaco’s image of The Prophet Jeremiah, which carries an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. The panel once formed part of a polyptych the artist created for the high altar of San Benedetto in Florence, whose main paneling is now in the collection of London’s National Gallery. Feigen acquired the work, which has also been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1994.
Among the pricier Italian Renaissance works in the collection is The Adoration, from the early career of Domenico Beccafumi, estimated at $300,000 to $500,000.
Meanwhile, Max Beckmann’s landscape Grosser Steinbruch in Oberbayern (Large Quarry in Upper Bavaria) (1934) is expected to fetch $1.8 million to $2.5 million. The artist painted it during a period when he and his wife were traveling to her family’s summer home at the edge of the Alps to seek refuge amid the Nazi rise to power.
Feigen’s approach to buying and selling was informed by his maturation during the inflation-heavy ’70s, Art Market Monitor notes, when dealers believed that strategic acquisitions would outperform money.
In 2016, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles paid a record $30.5 million for Orazio Gentileschi’s Danae and the Shower of Gold, which had previously been on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art from Feigen’s family trust.
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