Goya prints found by French family in their library to go on sale

Newly-discovered bullfighting prints set to make more than €500,000

 

The best auction stories are often the result of chance finds or newly-discovered lost treasures. Recently in France, a family clearing out an old library found a complete set of 33 prints by the acclaimed Spanish artist, Goya depicting bullfighting scenes, known as La Tauromaquia, that had remained undisturbed for decades in a 19th-century ledger.

The prints are now set to go under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on April 4th with a top estimate of £500,000 (€590,000). The prints are described as virtually flawless examples of the first and only contemporary edition that was printed for Goya from large copperplates etched and aquatinted by him in 1815-1816.

The prints were discovered when new heirs to the library in the aristocratic Château de Montignyin Northern France who were inspecting the family property pulled a large nondescript volume from the back of a library shelf. Séverine Nackers, head of prints, Sotheby’s Europe, said: “To find a complete set of Goya’s bullfighting prints with such historically significant provenance is a once-in-a-lifetime discovery”.

Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was a Spanish painter and printmaker. His most famous painting, The Third of May 1808, in the Prado, Madrid, shows a man being executed by firing squad during the Peninsular War between France and Spain.

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