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New auction record for Pietro Lorenzetti, two paintings sold for 4.7 million

In the world of art, auctions often set the stage for the unveiling of new records. A recent auction at Tajan in Paris saw two paintings by the Sienese master Pietro Lorenzetti (active in Siena from 1306 to 1345) sold for 4.7 million euros to an important American collector. These two tempera paintings on gilded panel belong to the early 14th-century Sienese school, renowned for its elegant lines and incredible detail in the application of gold leaf.


The artworks, the subject of a long battle of offers, more than doubled their estimated value at auction. Considering, for instance, when another artwork by the same artist, San Silvestro, was sold for 3,034,800 euros (estimated at 1.5-2 million), and also an addditional painting, Sant'Elena, for 1,657,600 euros (estimated at 400-600 thousand). The significantly higher valuations are attributed to the perfect preservation of the panels, both of which were part of an altarpiece, even though sold separately.


Pietro Lorenzetti (documenté à Sienne de 1306 à 1345) Sainte Hélène Panneau de retable Peinture à l’oeuf et fond d’or sur panneau de peuplier rectangulaire au fil vertical, entouré d’un cadre en bois doré moderne. panneau seul : 69.8 x 37 x 3 CM – 27,5 x 14 x 1,2 in. Sold: €1,657,600.00 Estimate: €400,000 – €600,000 Expert: Cabinet Turquin December 13, 2023 6:00 PM CET Paris, France
Pietro Lorenzetti (documented in Siena from 1306 to 1345), Panel of the Saint Helen Altarpiece Egg painting and gold background on rectangular panel of poplar with vertical grain, surrounded by a modern gilded wooden frame,panel only: 69.8 x 37 x 3 CM - 27.5 x 14 x 1.2,Sold: € 1,657,600.00 Estimate: € 400,000 - € 600,000 Expert: Cabinet Turquin 13 December 2023 6:00 PM CET Paris, France

"We are pleased that these two paintings are now part of a Tajan client's collection known for their taste in contemporary art, and who has shown great interest since the announcement of the sale. The buyer demonstrated great determination throughout the market negotiations. We are very satisfied with this result, which far exceeds our expectations. The personality of the buyer is interesting and demonstrates how medieval art can attract even contemporary art collectors" (Thaddée Prate, director of the department of Ancient Paintings).

Contributing to the exceptional nature of the event is also the Artprice database, which indicates that Lorenzetti's previous record dates back to 2012 when a small panel depicting Christ among the Saints Peter and Paul was sold for £5,081,250 (7,966,384 $) by Christie's in London. It is second only to a Crucifixion between two female martyrs sold for 2,320,500,000 lire (1,160,250 $).


The two poplar panels came from the collection of Alfred Ramé (1806-1886), a French high magistrate, archaeologist, art historian, and avid collector. They had never been displayed to the public before. The works were purchased by Ramé in Paris in 1860 and later preserved by his descendants. This rediscovery brought to the market unique and rare masterpieces from the early 14th century, both part of a large altarpiece composed of five or seven panels, likely dismantled due to the declining popularity of such works in the 18th century and then dispersed in the 19th century.


Pietro Lorenzetti (documentato a Siena dal 1306 al 1345), Pannello della Pala di Sant'Elena Pittura all'uovo e fondo oro su pannello rettangolare di pioppo a venatura verticale, circondato da una moderna cornice in legno dorato,solo pannello: 69,8 x 37 x 3 CM - 27,5 x 14 x 1,2,venduto: € 1.657.600,00 Stima: € 400.000 - € 600.000 Esperto: Cabinet Turquin 13 dicembre 2023 6:00 PM CET Parigi, Francia
Pietro Lorenzetti (documented in Siena from 1306 to 1345), Saint Silvestre, Altarpiece Egg painting and gold background on rectangular panel of poplar with vertical grain, surrounded by a modern gilded wooden frame,panel only: 69.8 x 37 x 3 CM - 27.5 x 14 x 1.2,Sold: € 1,657,600.00 Estimate: € 400,000 - € 600,000 Expert: Cabinet Turquin 13 December 2023 6:00 PM CET Paris, France


Pietro Lorenzetti created an extensive series of paintings on gold ground, turning his works into true pieces of precious craftsmanship. Currently, the artist's catalog comprises only about thirty works, further emphasizing the rarity of available specimens in the market. Is commonly known that only one of his works is present in the collections of the Louvre, also painted on poplar panel, depicting the Adoration of the Magi and acquired by the museum in 1986.


The Sienese painter produced frescoes, altarpieces, and devotional paintings in Siena and neighboring urban centers such as Arezzo, Cortona, and Assisi. His decidedly dramatic and passionate style is admirable in the pathetic rendering of faces and gestures, and his natural talent was accompanied by a profound ability to express human emotions. Pietro Lorenzetti and his brother Ambrogio are credited for transforming the Sienese Byzantine tradition into a representation closer to the realistic intentions of Florentine artists like Giotto. Using tempera on a gold ground and extremely elaborate workmanship, without ever mixing the ground pigments, the artist perfectly mastered the technique that has allowed his masterpieces, created on wood, to survive unaltered through the centuries and stand alongside contemporary works of art today.





TAJAN Auction House

For more information: www.tajan.com

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