... Then Two Busts Come along at Once
Byline: PETER WATSON
UNDER THE HAMMER
SOTHEBY'S today announces the sale of a rare, alabaster bust by Franz Messerschmidt, the 18th-century Austrian sculptor chief ly known for his influence on such diverse artists as Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon.
Unfortunately for the salesroom, they are, for once, upstaged by the dealer Daniel Katz, who simultaneously announces a recently rediscovered and much more important bust of one of America's founding fathers, Gouverneur Morris, by the French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828). This will go on show at Katz's gallery in Old Bond Street, to coincide with London Sculpture Week, beginning on 16 June.
Houdon, who narrowly escaped imprisonment during the French Revolution, was arguably one of the greatest of portrait sculptors, depicting Voltaire, Moliere and Benjamin Franklin, among others.
This unfired terracotta, 22 inches high, was inherited in the Nineties by a Virginian, whose father bought it at auction in Washington DC in the Fifties. …