Brazilian paintings are set to stun at Bonhams' Exploration auction

A painting entitled Panorama of Belém do Pará, Brazil by Giuseppe Leone (Joseph Léon) Righini (c.1820-1884) is just one of the beautiful Brazilian landscape paintings featuring in the next Travel & Exploration auction on December 7 at Bonhams Knightsbridge, London. 

Relatively little is known about the life and career of Joseph Léon Righini, the foremost European artist of the 19th century to portray the Amazonian landscape. 

His first Brazilian work dates from 1856, and he settled first in São Luis do Maranhão.  He spent three decades in Brazil in total, dividing his time between Belém, São Luis do Maranhão and Salvador - cities that he portrayed in such beautiful panoramas as this work on offer at Bonhams.

Righini was the greatest of the last wave of artists to portray Brazil in the mid-19th century; a time at which photography was threatening the art of topography, and it is likely that he was the first foreign artist to paint the landscape of northern Brazil.

A painting entitled A Gathering on a Lawn, Rio de Janeiro, attributed to the 19th Century artist C. J. Martin, is estimated to sell for £10,000-15,000. 

Panorama of Belém do Pará, Brazil by Giuseppe Leone (Joseph Léon) Righini - detail (click here to view the entire work)


Very little is known about the artist C. J. Martin, but from the few paintings that have been identified as his work, it is evident that he travelled to India, Brazil and Argentina.

View of the Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, by Emeric Essex Vidal (1791-1861) is also expected to attract great interest.  Vidal was a paymaster in the Royal Navy who was employed on the South American Station between 1808 and 1837.

He visited Rio de Janeiro on three occasions on board HMS Ganges and painted large panoramas of the city circa 1828 (Paulo Geyer Collection, Rio de Janeiro) as well as other Brazilian subjects. He also produced illustrations for Picturesque Illustrations of Buenos Ayres and Montevideo, published by Ackerman in 1820.

This painting has been passed by family descent to the artist's great-great grandson and is thought to date from his first or second trip in the 1820s.

In strong colour, it depicts the Corcovado where the statue of Christ now stands, and on the left the flat topped Pedra da Gávea.  The work is estimated to sell for £8,000-12,000.

"It is very exciting to have these early rare views of Brazil and I would expect them to generate a lot of interest," said Veronique Scorer, of Bonhams Knightsbridge Pictures Department.

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