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Lorenzo Veneziano, St. Catherine of Alexandria and St. Sigismund of Burgundy. A pair, both tempera on panel, gold ground, 99 x 33 cm..; 38 7/8 x 12 7/8 in.; 98 x 35 cm.; 38 ½ x 13 ¾ in. Est. $600,000/800,000. Photo: Sotheby’s.

NEW YORK, NY.- Sotheby’s announced the sale of a group of some 30 outstanding Italian Renaissance and Mannerist paintings and sculptures assembled by the renowned dealer and scholar, Fabrizio Moretti. Though still only in his late 30s, Mr. Moretti has for some years been a leading figure in the field of Italian art. The works included in the sale reflect both the range and the quality for which he is best known and will present both new and seasoned collectors alike a rare opportunity to acquire works at all price points with this distinguished provenance. Proceeds from the sale will benefit two causes very dear to his heart: The Fabrizio Moretti Foundation, which works to give those with certain disabilities access to the therapeutic benefits of horses, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where funds will be dedicated to the study and conservation of Italian Old Master Paintings. Highlights will be shown in Los Angeles and London prior to the exhibition and sale in New York on 29 January 2015.

Speaking of his decision to sell through Sotheby’s, Mr. Moretti said: “Over the years, I have watched the dynamic between dealers and auction houses evolve, and while each still has its own particular and very important role to play, it is clear to me that, in this instance, a sale at Sotheby’s was undoubtedly the best way forward. The sale will provide the best possible platform via which to showcase the type of works in which I specialize, bringing them to the attention of an ever-expanding global audience of collectors. I very much hope the sale will be received with broad enthusiasm, and that this in turn will translate into important funds for two things that are close to my heart: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and a special kind of therapy – using the extraordinary healing powers of the horse.”

Among the highlights of the works to be offered in January is a pair of beautiful, exquisitely painted gold ground works by the pioneering Venetian master Lorenzo Veneziano (active 1356- 1372). Painted during the latter part of the artist’s career – probably in the 1360s or ‘70s – these highly expressive renderings of St Catherine of Alexandria and St. Sigismund of Burgundy are estimated at $600/ 800,000.

Even earlier in date is the delightful small panel showing God the Father sending forth the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, surrounded by four seraphim, by the Florentine artist Giovanni di Marco, called Giovanni dal Ponte (1385 – 1437/8). Estimated at $100/150,000, the painting was once the pinnacle to the central element of a polyptych altarpiece, now dispersed, and likely formed part of an Annunciation scene, with similar sized panels at either side, depicting the Archangel Gabriel and the Virgin. The highly decorative, 19th-century gilt additions to this work are evidence of the renewed fascination that collectors of that period had for the previously ignored, early Italian schools of painting.


Giovanni di Marco, called Giovanni dal Ponte (1385 – 1437/8), God the Father sending forth the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove, surrounded by four seraphim. Est. $100,000/150,000. Photo: Sotheby’s.

A masterpiece by 16th-century Florentine artist Girolamo Macchietti is another outstanding highlight. Estimated at $800,000/1.2 million, The Bacchanal of the Andrians is replete with highly Mannerist figures, each derived from known ancient sculptures, including the reclining Cleopatra and the Apollo Belvedere in the Vatican Museums, and the Diana as a Huntress in the Louvre. A preparatory drawing for the composition is preserved today at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.


Girolamo Macchietti, The baccanal of the Andrians. Oil on panel, 51 1/2 by 69 in.; 131 by 175 cm. Est. $1/1.5 million. Photo: Sotheby’s

Art has always been central to the life of Fabrizio Moretti. Now the owner of the eponymous, highly- regarded gallery with outposts in London, New York and Florence, he was born into a family of leading Italian dealers, and already at the age of 28 was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres – an illustrious title bestowed on him by the French Ministry of Culture for his scholarly research and services to the Arts. A lifelong admirer and supporter of The Metropolitan Museum in New York, Moretti has also donated major works to the museum, including Annibale Carracci’s St. John the Baptist Bearing Witness, and a moving depiction of The Annunciation, by the fascinating Munich-born artist, Peter Candid.

Similarly, Moretti’s understanding of the healing powers of the horse was gained first hand. Having ridden since he was 7, he has himself enjoyed the physical and emotional benefits that come from physical contact with horses. Moretti believes that “a horse manages to give a person that which life, at times, keeps distant.” In an effort to bring these benefits to more of those to whom they would be most valuable, he has founded the Fabrizio Moretti Foundation, based in Florence, Italy.