Oct 12, 2010 11:00 AM by Nichole Larkey
NEW YORK (AP) - Demi Moore is selling two 19th century European paintings at auction, including a French work the actress says inspired her because of the artist's depiction of strong women.
William Bouguereau's "Frere et Soeur," an oil painting of a young woman tenderly holding her baby brother, could fetch up to $1.5 million at Sotheby's on Nov. 4.
It was painted in 1887 by the French artist whose work is enjoying renewed interest.
Moore's other painting, "Mere et Ses Enfants" by Belgian painter Alfred Stevens, is estimated to bring up to $200,000.
While she loves both paintings, Moore said, "with the
renovation and new direction our home is taking, it is time for a change."
The actress acquired the works in 1995 at a Christie's auction, paying $178,500 for "Frere et Soeur" and $200,500 for the Stevens painting.
"I find Bouguereau to be particularly engaging for me
personally and have chosen to hold on to a smaller piece to carry with me throughout the years," said the star known for her work in such films as "Ghost," "Indecent Proposal" and "A Few Good Men."
Moore, who has appeared nude on the cover of Vanity Fair while pregnant and is married to actor Ashton Kutcher, said she was particularly inspired by Bougeureau's depiction of women "with incredible strength."
Bouguereau was awarded the Prix de Rome in 1850, which enabled him to travel throughout Italy. His study of classical sculpture is evident in the pose the figure strikes and the drape of her skirt in the large work, which measures 6-feet by nearly 3-feet.
Stevens painted several versions of "Mere et Ses Enfants," including one commissioned by the Belgian government to pay tribute to sailors lost at sea and their families. The one in Moore's possession was painted in 1883 and shows a mother in a cream-colored ruffled skirt smiling at her infant while her older daughter stands and looks out to sea.
A Stevens' retrospective at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam last year described him as one of the most well-known artists in Paris in the second half of the 19th century.
The two paintings will be sold with other 19th century masterworks, including Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema's "The Finding of Moses." It was painted in 1902 when the British artist was in Egypt. It is being sold by a private collector but was once owned by "Candid Camera" creator Allen Funt, whose Alma-Tadema collection was exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1973.
The brightly colored painting, depicting a festive procession with the baby Moses in a decorated basket, has a $3 million to $5 million pre-sale estimate.