Fragonard's Sappho to inspire bids at $2m in Bonhams Old Masters

Jean-Honore Fragonard's Sappho inspired by Cupid is to see top bids as collectors gather in London for July's Old Master's Week.

Jean-Honore Fragonard Sappho inspired by Cupid
This was among Fragonard's most successful composition, recreating several times for his patrons

The work comes to auction in Bonhams' July 9 sale, with an estimate of £800,000-1.2m ($1.3m-2m). The market for Fragonard, whose works are extremely rare, is particularly buoyant at the moment, as the record for his work was set at $27.9m at Bonhams in December 2013.

The work is one of several copies that Fragonard made of the composition, which was among his most successful. This example is known as the Portanova Sappho, in dedication to the socialite couple Sandra and Ricky di Portanova that once owned it.  

Another, almost identical example, was formerly housed in the illustrious Thyssen-Bornemisza, while a third version is only known from photographs.

Sappho was a great Greek poet, who is depicted being inspired by Cupid, the classical deity of love.

Another highlight of the sale is an oil painting by John Constable, one of the most sought after British artist, which was recently featured in a BBC TV programme.

Entitled A Sea Beach - Brighton, the piece's authenticity was previously thought to be uncertain, but it has since been proven by analysis of preparatory works and the deftness of Constable's brushstrokes.

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