A major work by Uruguay’s most important painter Juan Manuel Blanes of a Gaucho has just broken the world record at auction selling for £1.15 million at Toovey’s.
Rupert Toovey said “I have known the painting for many years but congratulations must go to our fine art consultant Tim Williams whose exceptional research and tenacity in contacting collectors across the world has made this remarkable result possible, and Nick Toovey who conducted the auction.”
Tim Williams commented “Juan Manuel Blanes [1830-1901] is renowned for painting grand history paintings and portraits, as well as scenes and events that shaped Uruguay’s national identity during the years of conflict that resulted in independence from Spain.”
He continues “The Uruguayan municipal gallery in Montevideo is named Museo del Bellas Artes Juan Manuel Blanes and houses the largest collection of the artist’s work.”
Tim’s research revealed the painting’s remarkable provenance. The first owner of the painting was the notable Spanish aristocrat Baldomero Hyacinth de Bertodano, 7th Marquis de Moral. He lived at Cowbridge House near Malmsbury in Wiltshire and the painting hung there until his death in 1921. The contents of Cowbridge House were auctioned to divide the estate between five family members. The painting was included in the sale. Described as ‘A fine Oil Painting, The Gaucho on the Pampas in Argentine about 52 by 46 ins’. Baldomero’s brother, Charles Edmund de Bertodano, a notable Railway engineer, purchased the painting from the auction and it remained with his family to the present day.
Thought originally to be an Argentinian landscape the painting sold by Toovey’s actually depicts a Uruguayan scene with a Gaucho on horseback pointing, as two horsemen gallop away on the horizon. The golden glow of Blanes’ palette and the way that he paints the effect of light playing on the prairie is remarkable.
Tim explains “Blanes’ Gaucho paintings celebrate the way of life of these independent, rugged horsemen whose lives embodied the South American ‘Wild West’ and national identity in a similar way to the cowboys of the United States. The open prairie beneath an expansive sky would have contrasted with the pressured urban lives of the cosmopolitan collectors who patronised Blanes’ work.”
Commenting on the result Rupert Toovey said “This is the first time that this important painting has appeared on the market in some 102 years. A hammer price of £1.15 million is a new world record and I am delighted that the painting has been acquired by a private Uruguayan collector.”
Watch the auction below: