The work of art fell from the sky. It is quite fortuitously a Caravaggio painting was discovered in an attic Toulouse. On Tuesday, a Judith beheading Holofernes was presented to the press and many experts are categorical: it is indeed an authentic Italian painter.
We propose to include this exceptional discovered in five questions.
1. How the painting was recovered?
The story is beautiful: it is the turning of water damage in a beautiful property around Toulouse that the work was found in an attic in 2014. “There are two years, I was called on the phone to my study to see an array imposing accidentally discovered in an attic. the painting had been released from a loft attic, “said Marc Labarbe, auctioneer in Toulouse.
If the work of a major painter remained hidden for so long, it is “perhaps for its particularly violent composition, not obvious to a living room or bedroom,” said the expert. “The family occupied the house from the mid-nineteenth century, knew nothing of this table” that have been reported in Spain by an ancestor of the Napoleonic army officer but also be filed in the attic before, “t suppose . it
2 How much is this table (and will get money)
A major work, major est.? Eric Turquin, expert, believes the picture to close € 120 million . If you are away from $ 250 million in the card Players Cézanne, the record, this is a very price high. in comparison, the Louvre bought in September a Rembrandt to the Rothschild family for 80 million euros.
the amount is explained by the weakness of the known catalog of Caravaggio, fifty works only are authenticated, and a market that, over this period and this condition, is picked up.
in these cases, the amount is affected by the discoverers of the work because the table is sleeping in the attic for several decades. So the Toulouse family, whose expert said on Tuesday it was “freedom from want, not be easy.” As is customary, the auctioneer also earns a commission on the sale, usually a percentage of the final amount.
3. The table can remain in France?
For now, the table can not leave the country. Facing the risk of an authentic Caravaggio leave the country, the Ministry of Culture refused the export certificate as a precaution, pending its formal expertise. For the ministry, who did examine the Louvre for three weeks, canvas deserved “retained the territory as a very important milestone of Caravaggio, whose career and allocation remain to deepen” . The certification preventing the export runs for 30 months.
But it is unlikely that the state can collect 120 million offer to the treasure. Le Figaro shows that the Ministry of Culture, however, will make an offer. But not without certainties on the table: an international committee of the best connoisseurs of the artist will then decide on the allocation.
As for institutions, a solid offer is more feasible. But preventing the export, the state and virtually creates a much smaller market than the traditional global market for this type of works and this could cool potential foreign buyers. However, the status of “National Treasure” opens the voice of philanthropy. By allowing the tax exemption for the purchase of works up to 90%, it makes a simpler transaction.
4. This work is it so good?
If authenticity is confirmed, Judith and Holophern can be a major work. It is very rare to discover paintings from this period, and more of an important painter Caravaggio.
“It is of exceptional quality and is the greatest period of the painter, around 1605, when he succeeded best to translate into painting the drama of men. He does it with this Judith and Holofernes as it did also with Death of the Virgin , which is in the Louvre, or the Seven works of Mercy , which are in Naples, “said Nicola Spinosa, world specialist of Caravaggio.
in addition, there is only fifty known works of this painter, unlike almost 400 Rembrandt. And the conservation status is very good for a table that has spent decades in an attic.
It is possible that this work is “Caravaggio”, without the work of the Italian master. It was made possible by a student or a contemporary painter. Some attribute the table Louis Finson, Flemish painter (1580-1617), a contemporary of Caravaggio.
5. How can certify the authenticity of the picture?
To certify the work, the study uses several specialists. Whose world-renowned expert of the Italian master, Nicola Spinosa, who organized several retrospective Caravaggio. And it formally recognizes the table.
According to the expert, who said he saw three times last year, the painting was in the hands of several experts including Keith Christiansen, chairman of the department of European paintings at the Metropolitan . The identification of a Caravaggio painting is more difficult that the artist did not sign his works and was often copied.
This table “is known by historians of arts ancient sources and a copy. the copy was sent in the collections of a Neapolitan bank, attributed to Louis Finson, while in 1607, the picture is reported in a letter from the painter Franz Pourbus, which precisely locates in the workshop Finson “says Site Journal of Arts . “The table appears for the last time in Amsterdam in 1617 in the inventory after the death of Finson,” the trade paper.
To authenticate discreetly, the expert has kept the painting in the greatest secrecy. Even up to the study at the Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort, away from prying eyes.