Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882) Proserpine Coloured chalks (£1.2-1.8 million). (Click on image to enlarge). UPDATE: IT SOLD FOR £3,274,500, A WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST.
A defining image of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Proserpine, will feature at Sotheby’s sale of British and Irish art in London next November 19. The artist considered Proserpine the most beautiful of all his inventions. The model for the work, Jane Morris – wife of William Morris – became his inspiration and muse. The present version, formerly in the collection of Glasgow MP William Graham, Rossetti’s most loyal and devoted patron, comes to the market for the first time in over forty years, with an estimate of £1.2 – 1.8 million.
The re-emergence at Sotheby’s of a version in coloured chalks is concurrent with the major Pre-Raphaelites exhibition taking place at the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow – the international show first staged by Tate Britain last year and held earlier this year at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.
The drawing depicts Proserpine, (Persephone in Greek mythology), daugher of Zeus, in a shadowed corner of her underground palace. She holds a pomegranate. The consumption of its seeds condemned her to spend half of each year in the underworld with her abductor Pluto. The spectator is placed in the position of Pluto, catching Proserpine moments after she has tasted the fruit. Her gaze has become an enigma of feminity. To Rossetti Proserpine, Queen of the Underworld, symbolises love in grief.
Simon Toll of Sotheby’s commented: “Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s haunting image of Proserpine is one of the defining images of European art – instantly recognisable and representing the artist at the zenith of his originality. In many ways it stands apart from much of the art created by Rossetti’s contemporaries, as something new and otherworldly that was unlike anything else that had been seen before it. This is one of the most important British pictures to be seen on the auction market in many years, having only been in three collections since it was created in 1880.”
UPDATE: IT MADE £3,274,500, A WORLD RECORD FOR THE ARTIST AT AUCTION.