Sotheby's Old Masters Sale: A Preview

Next week's Old Masters sale in New York includes a Titian, a Rubens, and an unusual portrait of a man with a Hebrew tablet proclaiming the Torah.  Here are some highlights to tickle your checkbook:

Until brief appearances this fall on a Sotheby's shopping tour, Titian's Sacra Conversazione, offered by a private collector, hadn't been publicly seen since 1978 and not seen in the U.S. since 1957 -- ironically, at the Cleveland Museum, which is dumping 32 Old Masters at this very sale.

Titian could do it all -- portraits, altarpieces, mythologies -- and his art was so highly valued in his lifetime that he kept kings waiting for his work.  But be forewarned:  He had a big workshop, and his hand here may be confined to the Madonna and Child.

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