Pierre Subleyras’ Interior of the Artist’s Studio at the Akademie, Vienna, with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s sketch for The Mass of St. Basil at center and another portrait of Pope Benedict at right
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.