Sotheby’s To Offer A Rare Biblical Masterpiece By Rembrandt van Rijn as a Highlight of Sotheby’s Masters Week Auctions This January in New York
Sotheby’s Presents Fearless: The Collection of Hester DiamondA Pioneering Collection of Old Master Paintings & Sculpture Contemporary Art, Modern & Contemporary Design, Exotic Minerals & More

This January, Sotheby’s will offer works by many of the most celebrated names in European art history during its flagship Masters Week, a series of seven auctions encompassing Old Master paintings, drawings and sculpture spanning more than half a millennium. Focused around two of the highest value Old Master Paintings ever offered at auction, this first major global sales series of 2021 will be headlined by Sandro Botticelli’s mast erpiece Young Man Holding a Roundel, one of the most significant portraits of any period ever to appear at auction, and a defining work of the Florentine Renaissance, and Rembrandt’s rare biblical scene of Abraham and the Angels. Two of the sales in this Masters Week series will be presented in Sotheby’s signature global livestream auction format : Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I on 28 January and Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond on 29 January. Bidders will be able to place bids with Sotheby’s specialists via phone in New York and London, or via Sotheby’s interactive online bidding platform.

Lot 103 – Pieter Coecke van Aelst, A Triptych of the Nativity, Adoration of the Magi and Presentation in the Temple. ©Courtesy of Sotheby´s
Highlighted by Two of the Highest Valued Old Master Paintings Ever to Come to Auction:

Sandro Botticelli’s Young Man Holding a Roundel

An Unparalleled Renaissance Masterpiece & One of the Most Significant Portraits of Any Period Ever to Appear at Auction – Estimated in excess of $80 Million

Rembrandt’s Gem-Like Biblical Panel of Abraham and the Angels

One of Only Two Old Testament Scenes Remaining in Private Hands – Estimate $20/30 Million

Further Highlighted by: Works from the Collection of Hester Diamond

Including Autumn, by Gian Lorenzo and Pietro Bernini

*Rare Example of the Artists’ Work Remaining in Private Hands*

Estimate $8/12 Million

A Majestic, Large-Scale Early Figure Study by Anthony van Dyck – The Healing of the Paralytic

Estimate $2.5/3.5 Million

Master Paintings & Sculpture Part I

Global Livestream Auction: 28 January
Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli Florence 1444/5 – 1510 Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Roundel. ©2020 Courtesy of Sotheby’s

It was in Early Renaissance Italy that portraits of notable individuals first came to be considered high art. Florentine master Sandro Botticelli was at the forefront of this transformation, depicting his subjects in the second half of the 15th century with unprecedented directness and insight – decades before Leonardo da Vinci painted his enduring Mona Lisa. Botticelli was celebrated in his own time and sought out, from an early age, by the richest of patrons for commissions that only they could afford. But while he created some of the most arresting and penetrating portraits in the history of Western Art, only around a dozen examples have survived today with almost all of them now residing in major museum collections. Sotheby’s will offer one of Botticelli’s finest portraits, Young Man Holding a Roundel, with an estimate in excess of $80 million, which will establish it in art market history as one of the most significant portraits, of any period, ever to appear at auction.

Lot 9 – Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Abraham and the Angels. ©Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Measuring just 6 ⅜ by 8 ⅜ inches (16 x 21cm), Abraham and the Angels is a profoundly beautiful, gem-like painting on panel from 1646 that stands among the finest works by Dutch Golden Age master Rembrandt van Rijn ever to come to auction. The painting last appeared at auction in London in 1848, when it sold for £64, and returns to the auction block this January with an estimate of $20/30 million. Of the total 136 biblical paintings Rembrandt produced, the work is one of only five remaining in private hands, with the large majority in prominent museum collections. Among these biblical paintings, only 29 depict Old Testament scenes, with the panel to be offered representing one of only two examples in private hands.

The sale includes a strong selection of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish paintings, from impressive portraits by Aert de Gelder and Sir Anthony van Dyck to still lifes by Rachel Ruysch, Willem van Aelst, Ambrosius Bosschaert, and Willem Claesz. Heda, whose depiction of A banquet piece with an overturned tazza and oysters ranks among the best of his lengthy and successful career (estimate $2.5/3.5 million). An extremely rare canvas of the Descent from the Cross by Hugo van der Goes highlights the Renaissance section (estimate $3/5 million), which also includes works from the great early Italian painters Apollonio di Giovanni, Taddeo di Bartolo, and Sano di Pietro, and a wonderful glazed terracotta relief of the Madonna and Child by Luca della Robbia on offer from the Albert-Knox Art Gallery (estimate $700,000/1 million). The sale also includes a number of important paintings from the 18th and 19th centuries, including a pair of large landscapes by Hubert Robert, a charming painting by William Bouguereau, and a large-scale gold ground of the Greek goddess Erato by Frederic, Lord Leighton (estimate $700,000/1 million).

Fearless: The Collection of Hester Diamond

Global Livestream Auction 29 January
Part II Online Auction Open for Bidding 22 – 29 January
Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Autumn, estimate $8/12 million ©Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Hester Diamond was a fearless and visionary collector whose inquisitive nature and bold, distinct point of view is evident throughout her collection. Her daring independence of mind and curious spirit is amply reflected across these two sales.

Leading the live sale is an exceedingly rare sculpture by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and his father Pietro titled Autumn, one of only a handful of sculptures by Bernini and his father that remain in private hands (estimate $8/12 million). Few artists have changed art history as significantly as Gian Lorenzo, who is remembered as the greatest sculptor since Michelangelo, and whose artistic achievements gave life to the new figurative language of the Baroque, which dominated all of Europe for nearly two centuries. Carved between 1615 – 1618 when Gian Lorenzo was only a teenager, the exceptional and powerful Autumn, symbolizing abundance and rebirth in the guise of an unbridled man of the woods reaching for a piece of fruit, is an indisputable masterpiece by Bernini in which Gian Lorenzo’s early talent is already amply evident.  Bernini’s work very rarely comes up for auction, with the last piece, a terracotta bozzetto or sketch, titled Il Moro, selling in 2002 at Sotheby’s London for $3.2 million, the current auction record for the artist. Amongst the significant group of paintings in the collection includes an impressive triptych of The Nativity, The Adoration of The Magi, The Presentation in The Temple by Pieter Coecke van Aelst (estimate $2.5/3.5 million) and a pair of magnificent canvases of The Sicilian Games and The Plague at Pergamea by Dosso Dossi painted for Duke Alfonso I d’Este’s camerino d’alabastro in Ferrara (estimate $3/5 million). 

Lot 116 – Giovanni Francesco di Niccolò di Luteri (called Dosso Dossi), The Plague at Pergamea; The Sicilian Games. ©Courtesy of Sotheby’s

The Collection of Hester Diamond Part II features Hester’s extensive collection of exquisite minerals and gems, alongside memorabilia from her son Michael Diamond, aka Mike D of the Beastie Boys, modern design pieces encapsulating her vibrant style, and an assortment of Old Master paintings and sculpture art books that lined Hester’s floor to ceiling bookcases, offering a glimpse into the vast art historical knowledge that she forever chased. All modern design, all art books and most of the minerals in this sale are sold without reserve and all of the seller’s proceeds for the Beastie Boys memorabilia lots will benefit the Good Eats Program (

Lot 34 – Aert de Gelder, Portrait of a young man behind a balustrade, possibly a self-portrait of the artist.©Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Masters Week in New York

**Exhibition open by appointment 23 – 29 January**

Sotheby’s York Avenue Galleries in New York