14th century painting brings $295K at Weiss February auction

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. – A long-lost but well-preserved 14th century oil-on-panel painting by the Italian artist Allegretto Nuzi (1315-1373), titled The Martyrdom of St. Blaise, soared past its high estimate figure of $150,000 to hammer for $295,000 at a multi-estate auction held Feb. 23-24 by Philip Weiss Auctions.

Weiss Nuzi painting AT 3-19.jpgThe framed work, measuring 9 inches tall by 11 3/4 inches wide, was the top lot of the sale.

The top lot of the sale was this 14th century oil-on-panel painting by Allegretto Nuzi (Italian, 1315-1373); it soared to $295,000.

The Nuzi painting had been missing and presumed lost until resurfacing only just recently. The predella panel depicts the beheading of the Catholic martyr, Saint Blaise, a bishop of Sebastea in Armenia who was martyred under the reign of Licinius in the early fourth century. The work was pictured, but recorded as “homeless” in the book, Italian Pictures of the Renaissance (London, 1968).

According to literature in that and other reference books, the panel was part of of the Tuscan altarpiece that included two other predella panels – The Arrest and Miracles of Saint Blaise and The Chastisement of Saint Blaise. The “Arrest of” panel and the fragmentary remains of “The Chastisement of” sold at auction in 2003 for $145,350.

Weiss Joseph Morgan AT 3-19.jpgOther highlights from the sale follow. All prices quoted include a 13 percent buyer’s premium.

Joseph Morgan’s The History of the Kingdom of Basaruah (Boston, 1715) gaveled for $49,635.

An extremely rare slice of American literature changed hands when Joseph Morgan’s The History of the Kingdom of Basaruah (Boston, 1715) gaveled for $49,635.

Believed by historians to be the first prose fiction to be written and published in America by an American, the book is one of only four copies known to exist. The endpapers and preliminaries appeared to come from an early broadside.

Two late 19th century bronze statues by the French sculptor Emile Louis Picault (1839-1915) realized $25,990 for the pair. The pieces were titled The Pharaoh’s Gift and The Queen’s Offering. Both were inscribed on the bases and each measured about 18 1/4 inches tall by 6 1/4 inches wide. This outstanding lot came out of a prominent estate in Pelham, N.Y., that attracted much pre-sale attention.
Weiss Picault bronzes AT 3-19.jpg
This pair of 19th century bronzes by French sculptor Emile Louis Picault (1839-1915) realized $25,990.

Philip Weiss Auctions will return the weekend of April 5-6, with a sale featuring a large Disney collection, trains, Steiff, mechanical banks, coin-op and slot machines.

Also on April 6: Part 1 of The B. L. “Phil” Phillips Collection, comprising many high-end robots and space toys. For more information, call 516-594-0731, or go online to www.prwauctions.com.