Apotheosis of Washington, 'America's greatest fresco', brings $0.5m World Record

An auction of American Furniture and Decorative Arts held in Boston, Massachussetts, on March 4 grossed a total of $2,167,558.97 including buyer's premium. Big sale highlights included a new World Record price for Constantino Brumidi's study for The Apotheosis of Washington.

Greek/Italian-American historical painter Brumidi (1805-1880) remains best known for his mural work in the Capitol Building in Washington DC. His other achievements included restoration of the 16th century frescoes in the Vatican's Third Loggia.

The Apotheosis of Washington is now the most valuable auctioned work by the artist. The study was sold to the Smithsonian's American Art Museum for $539,500 - well above its $350,000 presale estimate.

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Apotheosis of Washington: 'the most important fresco in America'

This painting was the final study for a fresco (one of several related mural paintings for walls or ceilings) which can be viewed on the ceiling of the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building. Collectors and experts consider this to be Brumidi's masterpiece.

In fact, many consider The Apotheosis of Washington to be the most important fresco in America.

This sale is even more impressive for greatly outselling the previous Brumidi World Record price, a portrait of George Washington sold for $21,000.

The Apotheosis of Washington apparently drew interest "from all the right quarters. We're very excited that it is now in the hands of such a venerable institution in its city of origin," said the Boston auctioneer behind the sale.

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