Leonardo da Vinci's bear drawing could reach $16.7 million in auction sale

Christie’s is selling the work in London on July 8 with a price estimate of $11.14m to $16.71m

Leonardo da Vinci's 'Head of a Bear'. Christie's / Reuters
Leonardo da Vinci's 'Head of a Bear'. Christie's / Reuters

A Leonardo da Vinci drawing is being auctioned and could reach up to $16.7 million.

The 7-centimetre square ‘Head of a Bear’ is a silverpoint drawing on a pink-beige paper.

Auction house Christie’s said it was "one of less than eight surviving drawings by Leonardo still in private hands outside of the British Royal Collection and the Devonshire Collections at Chatsworth".

Christie’s is selling the work in London on July 8 with a price estimate of $11.14m to $16.71m.

“The work has been owned by some of the most distinguished collectors in the field of old,” said Ben Hall, old master paintings chairman at Christie’s New York, where the piece is on display.

“It has been admired around the world, while shown by prestigious museums, and Christie’s is honoured to bring this Leonardo to the market this season.”

It could beat the 2001 sale of Leonardo da Vinci's ‘Horse and Rider’ which went for more than $11m, a record for a drawing by the Italian Renaissance master.

"I have every reason to believe we will achieve a new record in July for 'Head of a Bear', one of the last drawings by Leonardo da Vinci that can be expected to come on to the market," said Stijn Alsteens, a Christie’s expert in Paris.

The drawing's ownership can be traced to British painter Thomas Lawrence and upon his death in 1830, it was passed to his dealer Samuel Woodburn. He sold it to Christie’s in 1860 for 2.50 pounds ($3.50), according to the auction house.

Its current owner has had it since 2008, Christie’s said.

"Head of a Bear" will go on display at Christie's in New York on Saturday, then in Hong Kong later in the month before going on show in London in June.

Updated: May 9, 2021 08:35 AM

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