Ionian Dancing Girl, a highly important work by the great painter of classicism John William Godward, will lead Bonhams 19th Century and British Impressionist Art sale in London on March 29.
Considered among the artist’s masterpieces, it is estimated at £800,000-1,200,000.
Following in the footsteps of Frederic, Lord Leighton and Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Godward (1861-1922) embraced the concept of Art for Art’s Sake creating works of art to be enjoyed purely on their own terms with no hidden messages or moral undertones. Attention to detail was paramount and it was particularly important to the painter that the classical world he chose to portray was as accurate as possible. He was an archaeologist as well as an artist and the props that appear in his works often came from his own collection.
Ionian Dancing Girl was first exhibited in 1902 at London’s New Gallery where it drew praise for its monumental scale and unquestionable quality.
Charles O’Brien, Bonhams Director of 19th Century Painting, said: “Ionian Dancing Girl is a wonderful example of Godward’s depiction of classical beauty and of his supreme technical mastery. It ranks among his most significant works and is arguably the most important painting by the artist to appear at auction for many years.”