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Pierre Subleyras
Portrait of Benedict XIV
Metropolitan Museum of Art
(purchased for $986,500
at Sotheby’s New York
Jan. 29, 2009)
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Met nets Sotheby’s Subleyras
by Paul Jeromack

One of the more remarkable Old Master pictures to surface at Sotheby’s New York this past January was a previously unknown Portrait of Pope Benedict XIV by Pierre Subleyras (1699-1749). Signed and dated 1746, the modestly sized canvas has been owned by two French collectors since the mid-19th and early 20th century and was in remarkably fresh original condition, uncleaned and unlined. Modestly estimated at $100,000-$150,000, the portrait sold to New York dealer Adam Williams for a record $986,500, and is on its way to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.