An 1835 oil painting by JMW Turner entitled “Rome, from Mount Aventine”, sold for a whopping $47 million at Sotheby’s in London. This Turner’s artwork was up for sale for only the second time in its history, and it broke a previous record for the artist, set in 2010.
“Rome, from Mount Aventine” is one of only ten major Turners to be privately owned. Depicting the river of the Italian capital bathed in morning light, it was commissioned by the artist’s patron Hugh Munro of Novar in 1828 and it was sold in 1878 for a (then) record £6,000 to the 5th Earl of Rosebery, Archibald Primrose.
Four bidders competed for this painting, described by the auction house as one of Turner’s “supreme achievements”.
“This painting, which is nearly 200 years old, looks today as if it has come straight from the easel of the artist,” said Alex Bell of Sotheby’s old master paintings department.
“The hairs from Turner’s brush, his fingerprint, the drips of liquid paint which have run down the edge of the canvas, and every scrape of his palette knife have been preserved in incredible detail.”