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Marcos Collection shines in upcoming Christie's sale

Fresh information has confirmed the importance of the works which will be put on the block

In the October issue mention was made of the auction of the Marcos Collection (Christie’s, New York, January 1991). Fresh information has confirmed the importance of the works from 16th-century Italy (Raphael, Titian, Tintoretto) and 18th-century Venice (Guardi, Longhi) which will be put on sale.

Turning to the “St Catherine of Alexandria” by Raphael (est.£1.1-1.5m; $1.9-2.8m) it should be pointed out that although the painting has not been convincingly discussed since the assessment by Roberto Longhi (1955) and Dussler’s monograph (1971), the preparatory drawing has been exhaustively studied. The most complete analysis of the drawing, preserved in the Louvre, was undertaken by F.Viatte in the catalogue for the Raphaël dans les collections françaises exhibition (Paris, 1983-84). It is a small cartoon in poor condition and cropped. In it is depicted a “St.Apollonia” who acquired her palms of martyrdom (plus the wheel, now lost owing to the shortening) only in a later period. The drawing is certainly in Raphael’s hand and Fischel (1913) was the first to connect it with the Marcos panel. According to Viatte it is quite plausible that this St Catherine was cut out of a “Sacra Conversazione” like the Pala Ansidei or the Pala Colonna along with the pendant representing “Mary Magdalene” (Spencer Samuels Collection, New York). However, this theory does not take account of the reduced dimensions of the painting.

In addition to the paintings mentioned interesting 14th and 15th-century works works will aslo be offered, including a tryptych by the rarely-seen Florentine Andrea di Buonaiuto, published by Boskovits (Pittura fiorentina alla vigilia del Rinascimento, Florence, 1975, fig.42), expected to make £150-250,000 ($280-470,000) and a “Madonna and Saints” by Neri di Bicci (est.£150-200,000; $280-380,000). A pair of Sienese panels are particularly intriguing: a polyptych with saints by Andrea di Niccolò, formerly the property of Dan Fellows Platt of Englewood, New Jersey, the famous collector of Italian primitives (est.£100-150,000; $170-280,000), and a small “Resurrection”, expected to fetch £35-50,000 ($65-95,000), by the artist Bernardino Fungai.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Marcos Collection shines'