Friday, December 05, 2008

Quelle Surprise! C'est un Tiepolo!

I do love stories about extraordinary artworks that have been lost -- sometimes not even known to be lost -- turning up in attics or behind bedroom doors (see my Nov 14 , 2006 post, and Dec 17, 2007).

Imagine the shock: rummaging around in Grandmamma's attic and finding a Tiepolo! Of course the rummaging was taking place in the attic of a French ch√Ęteau, so the discovery would perhaps have been less of a surprise than if the family home were a farmhouse in Kansas. Nonetheless ... how exciting!

The rediscovered masterpiece, Portrait of a lady as Flora, by the great Italian artist Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770), had been hidden two or three generations ago because of the semi-naked subject. It is thought to have originated as part of a series of pictures commissioned by Empress Elizabeth of Russia (1709-1762), probably intended for the Winter Palace.

This is one for Antiques Roadshow ... the painting was just sold at auction for $4,227,780!

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