Specialist Picks: Fine European Art

Learn about our European Art specialists’ favorite works from our upcoming Fine European Art sale, taking place live in Dallas and online on May 24.

Dr. Marianne Berardi
Senior Expert, Fine & Decorative Arts, San Francisco 

Bouguereau is famous for his pretty women and entrancing Madonna and Child imagery. I love this tender painting of a father and child (for a change of pace), and particularly admire the complex arrangement of child hands and adult hands overlapping and intertwining one another.

William Adolphe Bouguereau (French, 1825-1905)
La leçon de flûte, 1868
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $400,000 – $600,000


I love that given the flak Henrietta Rae had to endure as Britain’s foremost woman painter of the female nude of the pre-modern era, she decided with Psyche to paint a myth that had no men in it! In this work, one of the most ambitious of her career, she depicted 14 full-length female figures, either nude or semi-draped.

Henrietta Rae (British, 1859-1928)
Psyche before the throne of Venus, 1894
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $120,000 – $180,000


I find this sweeping scene of the North African desert very moving. It focuses on the elemental features of existence rather than a prettified exoticism. Sky, earth, and very scarce water are splayed out before the viewer in an almost cinematic expanse of space.

Gustave Achille Guillaumet (French, 1840-1887)
Le labourage, frontière du Maroc, 1869
Oil on canvas laid on masonite
Estimate: $15,000 – $25,000



Ariana Hartsock
Director, Fine Art, Dallas

Sur les bords de la marne is one of my favorite works of art we have offered to date at Heritage. Painted on a grand scale, the composition bears all the hallmarks of high Impressionism, painted with Lebasque’s Post-Impressionist sensibility. The work features lively, broken brushstrokes, a movement away from realism, and a fresh sense of modernity for the first year of the 20th century.

Henri Baptiste Lebasque (French, 1865-1937)
Sur les bords de la Marne, 1901
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $150,000 – $250,000


When I viewed this work for the first time in person, the exquisite, lifelike face of this young rag-seller and her direct gaze had me awe-struck. My favorite aspect of this work is the contrast between the supple, porcelain appearance of the girl’s face, and her tattered clothing and soiled feet. Brun’s young girl is the classic embodiment of the romanticized street urchin of the Victorian era.

Guillaume-Charles Brun (French, 1825-1908)
The young rag seller, 1870
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $50,000 – $70,000


It is hard not to fall in love with this work. Not only is Till’s attention to painterly detail superb, but each of his characters truly comes alive in this composition—from the delightful young peasant girl to her feathered friends, each of which seems to display its own individual personality and expression.

Johann Till (Austrian, 1827-1894)
The little goose girl
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000



Janell Snape
Junior Specialist, San Francisco

Paintings of the sea have a special resonance for me and Charles Napier Hemy could capture the look and feel of the waves like no other. In this picture, I love the immediacy of the boats just coming into view in the rough waters and the swirling of the gulls hoping for a meal.

Charles Napier Hemy (British, 1841-1917)
In the track of the trawlers, 1896
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $15,000 – $25,000


Raeburn’s skill at portraiture was undeniable and in this painting, he has captured a sweet moment between a mother and her child. I particularly appreciate how he has depicted the feeling of their close bond in a very satisfying way with just a playful, uplifted rose and a warm, motherly embrace.

Sir Henry Raeburn (British, 1756-1823)
Mrs. Graham Young and child, circa 1810
Oil on canvas
Estimate: $15,000 – $25,000

Posted by Heritage Editorial

This article was written as a collaborative effort by multiple experts within the category at Heritage Auctions.

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