An early William Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905) painting entitled Idylle: famille antique is expected to highlight Christie's sale of 19th Century European Paintings which will take place on April 23 in New York.
At the time Bouguereau created the work he was already an established artist whose success resulted in important commissions from private wealthy patrons as well as the French state. The financial stability that this brought Bouguereau enabled him to persue paintings of his own interests including Idylle: famille antique.
The painting has been in a private collection for the last 50 years. It is expected to sell for $400,000-600,000.
Given the performance of Bouguereau's works in previous auctions, it would not be surprising if Idylle: famille antique surpassed its pre-sale estimate by a considerable amount.
In 2000, Bouguereau's La Charité sold for over $3.5m at Christie's, while Pietà reached nearly $2.8m in 2010.
Another highlight of the sale will be The Education of the Children of Clotilde and Clovis, produced by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema in 1868, which also carries a high estimate of $600,000.
The painting shows Queen Clotilde, the second wife of Frankish king Clovis I, sitting on her throne watching one of her three sons wield an axe. The painting is a reference to Clotilde's attempts to train her children to avenge the deaths of her parents.
Other notable lots in the auction will include Boulevard Poissonnière en automne by Jean Béraud, which is expected to bring $300,000-500,000, and Rue Royale, Paris by Louis Marie de Schryver, which carries a pre-sale estimate of $250,000-450,000.