A rediscovered painting by Titian to be sold at auction

A rediscovered painting by Titian entitled «Portrait of a Lady and her Daughter». Estimated at about $9 million

A remarkable painting by famous Italian Old Master Titian, painted over and rediscovered more than 400 years later, is expected to make more than $9 million at an auction in December. Revealed by X-rays and painstakingly restored, Titian’s «Portrait of a Lady and her Daughter» was unfinished when the Renaissance master died in 1576 and painted over with «Tobias and the Angel», probably by one of Titian’s pupils, Leonardo Corona.

The original painting shows a young woman staring calmly but resolutely out of the canvas with her left arm protectively draped over the shoulder of a young girl who is gazing reverentially upwards. There is no record of the work, probably painted in the 1550s when the elderly Titian was already the most famous and sought-after painter in Italy, but it is believed to be of the artist’s own daughter Emelia and her daughter. The first reference to «Tobias and the Angel» does not appear until the mid XVIII century when it is described as a Titian.

The canvas changed hands several times: once it belonged to Czar Nicholas I, and finally it became a part of the collection of renowned French dealer Rene Gimpel in the 1920s.
During German occupation of France in 1939, Gimpel shipped his collection to London for safekeeping, but took the secret of its temporary destination, a lock-up garage in the Bayswater district, with him when he died in a concentration camp in 1944. His sons Ernest and Jean discovered a storage place in 1946.

In 1947 and again in 1963, «Tobias and the Angel» failed to sell as a Titian at auctions by Sotheby’s and then Christie’s. Eventually Jean Gimpel sent the picture for X-ray by the Courtauld Institute, which found the underlying composition. The unique portrait was restored by Alec Cobbe and was exhibited in Madrid in 2003. The painting will go to auction for the first time in its new and original guise in London on December 8.

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Published in: on September 22, 2005 at 11:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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