Sotheby’s will have it’s Old Master sale in New York on 31 January with a large-scale painting by Pompeo Girolamo Batoni, Susanna and the Elders, 1751 (est $6m-$9m). Batoni was at his time one of the most celebrated painters in Rome. This painting was commissioned by Count Ernst Guido von Harrach of Vienna, and remained in the family’s collection for 250 years. The family consigned it to auction in 1991, where it was bought-in but subsequently acquired by the current owner in a private sale the following year. The work, which measures 99cm x 136cm, has not been seen in public for more than 40 years.
In Susanna and the Elders, Batoni captures the terror on Susanna’s face as she desperately tries to cover her naked flesh after she is caught bathing in her garden by two leering elders, who threaten to accuse her of infidelity unless she has sex with them. The painting is very much inspired by the Baroque painters of the century before Batoni.
Sotheby’s is also selling works from the estate of the Old Master dealer and collector Giancarlo Baroni (29 and 30 January), including an early El Greco panel, The Entombment of Christ, around mid-1570s (est $1m-$1.5m).