1603 Brueghel between Carnival and Lent
2010 SOLD 2 M£ including premium
Pieter Brueghel painted the original version of the Combat Between Carnival and Lent in 1559. This work, currently preserved in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, is teeming with life and colorful, in the best manner of an artist who was the best picture maker of popular scenes of all time.
Carnival is perched on a barrel and encouraged by his followers who leave the tavern. Lent is an unpleasant nun whose friends leave the church. On the Flemish village square, away from the main story, a crowd of people is busy with everyday occupations.
To our delight, the Brueghel workshop outlived its founder. For several decades, his sons made faithful copies of his works, probably executed as and when ordered from customers. Luckily, Pieter II and Jan I were also excellent painters who, each in his own way, have significantly inflated the Brueghel catalog.
Pieter II made several copies of the Combat Between Carnival and Lent. On December 7, 2006, Christie's sold £ 3.25 million including premium an oil on canvas, 119 x 171 cm.
Exactly four years later, on December 7, 2010, also in London, Christie's sells an oil on panel of almost the same size, 118 x 166 cm, shown in the press release shared by Artdaily. Dendrochronology, this new wonder of the study of ancient art, has established that two of the five planks of the panel came from a Baltic oak also used for another work by this artist dated 1603.
This copy unknown of the market had never been exhibited. The condition is somewhat neglected (in the words of the catalog) and it merely follows an estimate of £ 2M.
POST SALE COMMENT
This nice subject was sold £ 2M including premium, despite the comments indicated in the catalog on its condition. It is a good result.
1603-1606 Questioning a Rubens
Sotheby's is selling a painting by Rubens on December 9 in London. A point is never questioned in the catalog and in the press release: it is an authentic work of the master. Otherwise, the auction house provides hypotheses.
It is the mid-length portrait of a young lady. The face and hands are completed and their quality shows that it is was made by the master. The painting was abandoned before the costume and ruff are finished, and the background is not even started. Perhaps it was a portrait from life in preparation for a commissioned work. But who is the Lady and who is the sponsor?
The style of this portrait and the clothing details are locating the image in Spain or Italy, between 1603 and 1606, while Rubens was not yet 30 years old. The canvas was stretched for better preservation, which could confirm that the work is a sketch. It currently measures 85 x 66 cm. We see it, with employees who assess its scale near life size, in the article shared by Guardian.
We do not know where the painting remained for 400 years. In the mid-nineteenth century, it was transferred from Venice to become the property of a Welsh Baronet.
Sotheby's is passionate about the unfinished nature of the work which gives valuable information on how Rubens worked. This justifies that they expect 4 million pounds.
1607 The Sword of Judith
His first version of Judith and Holofernes is an oil on canvas 145 x 195 cm painted before 1600. His image, showing the powerful jolts of the dying general with the sword deep in his throat, is very innovative.
Reality meets fiction. In 1606 Caravaggio kills a young aristocrat and flees from Rome where he is sentenced in absentia to death by decapitation. He paints shortly afterward his second version of Judith and Holofernes that the artist-merchant Louis Finson tries to sell in 1607.
This painting was known by a copy 140 x 160 cm attributed to Finson, in a carefully applied technique that could not be confused with the spirited and spontaneous brush stroke of the master. In comparison with the first version, the man is almost identical but Judith and her old female servant have a very different role.
The first version showed Judith disgusted, close to vomiting, but who will keep the courage to finish her action. In the second version, she is proudly imperious, symbolizing the implacable application of justice. Her clothes have become dark to highlight the expression of the face that becomes the main theme of the image.
The servant changed her position to better encourage Judith. With the ugliness of her pattern of wrinkles, she will remain intractable until the death of the convict, at this point in the life of the artist when he must find a strategy against a court decision.
Another example of the second version was discovered in 2014 in an attic in Toulouse by the auctioneer Marc Labarbe. The cleaning of this oil on canvas 144 x 174 cm, including the removal of opaque varnishes, revealed the qualities that were missing in the copy by Finson. Authenticated under the direction of Cabinet Turquin as the original referred in 1607, this masterpiece will be sold by Marc Labarbe in Toulouse on June 27.
The preparation of this single lot auction is the subject of a dedicated website prepared by Labarbe and Turquin. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1610-1615 The Mystic Message of Francken the Younger
The art market rediscovered Frans Francken the Younger on 21 April 2010, when a masterpiece of allegoricalpainting was sold for € 7M including premium at Dorotheum in Vienna.
A favorite theme of the artist was the scenes from the Old Testament gathering a crowd around a mystical event.
On September 23 in Zurich, Koller sells Belshazzar's Feast , an oil on panel 65 x 91 cm painted by Francken the younger between 1610 and 1615. The lot is estimated CHF 700K.
Around the king sheltered under a canopy, fine gentlemen and beautiful ladies sumptuously dressed savor an infinite variety of dishes. But the desecration has taken place, and no guest has yet noticed the mystical hand writing on the wall the esoteric announcement of the impending catastrophe.
Francken, a contemporary of Rubens and of the sons of Breughel the Elder, worked in Antwerp. The transparent cloudin the wake of the hand makes him appear as a precursor of the man who was, among other qualities, the highlyimportant mystic artist of the next generation, Rembrandt.
Indeed Rembrandt illustrated twenty years later the next step of the story, when the frightened king is discovering themessage and tries in vain to decipher it.
1610 Arrangements and Vanities
2016 SOLD for CHF 480K including premium
The chargers containing fruit, candy or oysters have now been added to the vases and baskets of flowers. The symbolic dimension is clear : the food is perishable and the resplendent cut flowers will soon wither. Faced with these vanities, the caterpillar awaiting its metamorphosis calls for a perpetual rebirth.
Young artists are gifted but such themes of meals and flowers are still considered as minor. They very rarely sign and date their works and in this early period it is often difficult to distinguish who is the author among Ambrosius Bosschaert, Osias Beert and Jacob van Hulsdonck.
Working on copper or panel, Osias Beert uses a technique of transparent colors bringing a shiny effect which is quite well suited to his theme. An oil on board 39 x 64 cm painted by him around 1610 is estimated CHF 400K for sale by Koller in Zurich on March 22, lot 3031. The cut flowers are nicely distributed between a wicker basket and a porcelain vase.
1612 Food Art by Clara Peeters
2010 SOLD 480 KCHF including premium
In Antwerp around Osias Beert, the Flemish painters of the early seventeenth century liked to show food on table top, in realistic compositions not devoid of a symbolism that is difficult to decipher today.
On June 3, 1998 in Paris, a small oil on panel, 33 x 48 cm, was the event. This work of Clara Peeters showing a pitcher and a plate of cheese reached 10.1 MF hammer price by Ferri at Drouot.
This exceptional result rewarded a beautiful and original paint, and an outstanding work by one of the few women artists of that time.
On September 17 in Zurich, Koller estimates at 400 KCHF another oil on board signed by the same artist, dating from 1612 or a little later. Of similar dimensions, 40 x 47 cm, it is also more garnished.
Apples and pears are presented in a wicker basket, grapes in a high cup. These fruits, as well as two crayfish on a plate in the foreground, show the realistic control of Clara Peeters. She is less efficient with the representation of living animals as it is assessed with a squirrel on the right, too stylized.
POST SALE COMMENT
Result in line with estimates for this painting of Clara Peeters: CHF 480K including premium.
1614 riverbank and kermesse
Jan the Elder developed in the decade of the 1610s his scenes of river under the occurence of a kermesse or a market in the village. He enjoys this theme to the point of showing himself twice in self-portrait within the scene. One of these paintings, made in 1614 and kept in the Museum of Vienna, is located in Schelle on the banks of the Scheldt. This village undoubtedly also inspired many non-localized scenes.
The other image showing the artist is a 26 x 38 cm oil on copper dated 1616 and signed. The peasants dance on the road that leads to the village. Some small boats are approaching the bank. It was sold for £ 3.5M including premium by Sotheby's on July 9, 2008.
On February 1 in New York, Sotheby's sells a 26 x 37 cm oil on copper dated 1614, lot 40 estimated $ 2.5M, in a condition announced as remarkable in the catalog. The artworks dated and signed like this one are a proof of the importance that the artist attributed to them. It is painted in the heavy impasto which allows to separate without ambiguity the autograph works from the copies.
The village is in the distance. The main theme is the many boats in the foreground ready to unload their passengers. Recently rediscovered, it had been sold in 1885 in the Hôtel Drouot under the judiciously chosen title L'Arrivée à la Kermesse.
The details are abundant, altogether realistic and sympathetic. Let us take as an example the mother who holds her toddler to a friend to secure the baby before any other passenger leaves the boat. The composition of the landscape is majestic with the broad river that goes straight to the horizon.
1615 Caravaggesque Temptation
2018 SOLD for $ 1.93M including premium
Manfredi takes his friends to taverns and drinking bouts and is probably the first to paint those scenes of bad life that characterize the first post-Caravaggesque generation. All of them are at that time far away from the official commissions they had yet come for, and reliable information is missing in their biographies. It is not exactly known when Valentin de Boulogne arrived in Rome but it was too late for him to meet Caravaggio.
The theme of the decisive moment when action is just rocking also applies to the great Christian dramas. Valentin seems to develop in parallel from his beginnings the themes of Christianity and of tavern life. He is professionally right since his reputation will grow at the end of his career through official orders. He died at 41 in 1632, following a drinking bout as reported by the gossips of that time.
On January 27, 2016, Sotheby's sold for $ 5.2M including premium over a lower estimate of $ 1.5M a Crowning with Thorns 146 x 107 cm painted by Valentin circa 1615. The action is shown at the very moment when the torturer leans to push the crown on the head of Christ. The young soldier makes his famous mocking.
Throughout his career the theme of the fortune teller is favored by Valentin. In the tight groups around the tavern table where the Bohemian-dressed woman entertains the naive client, the other partners are also typified : the musician, the drinker, the thief and sometimes the innocent child. In this theatrical alliance the teams can be reversed : in a version kept by the Louvre the pickpocket catches the purse of the Bohemian.
Also painted circa 1615 the oil on canvas 146 x 188 cm for sale by Sotheby's in New York on February 1 is one of the earliest versions with the Bohemian. The client is a soldier seen from the back with whom the spectator may identify himself as an expiatory victim. The thief winks at the spectator, the drinker offers a glass of wine and the lute player puts the victim's attention to rest.
It is the moment when the action will switch. This dramatic tension is reinforced by the artist in a remarkable distribution of the characters in three parallel obliques, without horizontal or vertical reference. This significant example of a dynamic use of chiaroscuro during the decade of Caravaggio's death is estimated $ 1M, lot 21.
1616 the traps to the innocents
2016 sold for € 505k including premium
Nevertheless the title is not incongruous. Ice can cover an invisible trap. The genesis of this fear dates back to the confrontation of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (spelling without 'h') with religious wars, a terrible ordeal for the end of the life of this great artist who desired to be a moralizer.
The prototype of The Bird Trap by Pieter the Elder is not identified with certainty although the example kept in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is a good candidate. However his Massacre of the Innocents, located almost in the same place in the Flemish village with the same snow, confirms the message of the deceptive tranquility of the Bird Trap.
A Massacre of the Innocents 122 x 170 cm by Pieter the Younger, sold for £ 4.6 million including premium by Sotheby's on 8 July 2009, is dated around 1605-1610 by dendrochronology. It is very close to the original composition by his father.
Morals turned progressively into a charming landscape without a major modification of the image when the memories of the war went to be erased. Five copies of the Bird Trap were dated by the artist between 1601 and 1626. The last of them, 40 x 57 cm, was sold for £ 3.9M including premium by Sotheby's on July 9, 2014 over a lower estimate of £ 1M.
In a study published in 2000, Klaus Ertz considered 45 autograph paintings of the Bird Trap by Pieter the Younger. The oil on panel 46 x 59 cm for sale by Dorotheum in Vienna on April 19 is an addition to that corpus. By stylistic considerations, Ertz positions it around 1616. It is estimated € 700K, lot 39.
I invite you to watch the video shared by Dorotheum.
1616 Artemisia the Musician
Living in Rome is too dangerous for a honest young woman. Artemisia Gentileschi moves to Florence in 1614 with her husband.
Her father Orazio Gentileschi, born in Pisa, is one of the best direct followers of Caravaggio. Artemisia, a precocious and gifted artist, belongs to the same trend : realism of the lines, characters at mid-length, bright colors, neutral background.
Raped in Rome, she shows her strength in Florence with the terrible theme of Judith. Her talent is recognized : in 1616 , she becomes the first woman to be accepted as a member of the Accademia del Disegno. She is 23 years old.
The fashion in painting is then to allegories for which the patrons especially enjoy the self-portraits, and music is a favorite Caravaggian theme. On January 29 in New York, Christie's sells a self-portrait by Artemisia Gentileschi as a lute player, lot 36 in the catalogue, estimated $ 3M.
This oil on canvas 78 x 72 cm was listed in 1638 in an inventory of the Villa Medici. It had probably been painted circa 1616 for the Grand Duke Cosimo II.
1616 Made by Rubens for a Friend
Lovers of Rubens art are delighted. A drawing of the master 25x18 cm is for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 26.
Cornelis Galle worked in Antwerp in Rubens' time. He had engraved this image by attributing it to Rubens, but the original had never been located.
When this drawing emerged from a private collection in France, there was a great surprise for historians: it is enrichedwith a large autograph inscription in Latin by Rubens offering it to an Antwerp senator, and dated April 1616. Thisdrawing is the beginning of the long friendship between Rubens and Paul van Halmale who was to be one of his mostloyal patrons.
The work is gently fun. The crouching Venus is nursing three winged Cupids. Everyone is naked, of course. The image is visible on the press release shared by Artdaily. The lot is estimated $ 500K.
1620 Skull and Book
2019 SOLD for $ 2.4M including premium
Around 1620 the still life is a recent genre, ever disdained by the great masters as a self-standing theme but increasingly inserted in ambitious paintings.
Guercino tries in that period the theme of the passage of time. In an oil on canvas painted circa 1618, two herdsmen look at an over-sized skull in an advanced decay, placed on a base on which the phrase Et in Arcadia ego is written. In this outdoor scene, the contrasts of lights are inspired by the art of Caravaggio.
On May 1 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 31 x 39 cm, lot 20 estimated $ 2M. The skull with same damaged teeth as on Et in Arcadia ego is the central element of this tabletop lighted in front of a black background. It is laid flat on an old rotten book, between two vases of flowers in which some roses are symbolizing the brevity of life. An hourglass completes the memento mori.
In Guercino's work, it is the only painting whose theme is limited to a still life. It was probably prepared circa 1620 to be used as a modello.
This date is plausible. In February 1621 the archbishop of Bologna becomes pope. Guercino follows his patron to Rome. Very busy with frescoes, the young artist can now devote himself to his ambition of great religious compositions for which a Vanitas is no longer useful to him.
It is one of four lots from the Feiger collection which are discussed in the video shared by the auction house.
1620 exotic curiosities in utrecht
Balthasar van der Ast is trained by Ambrosius who had married his elder sister. The family settles permanently in Utrecht in 1619. On the same year Roelandt Savery becomes a member of the artists' guild of that city.
On March 31 in Zurich, Koller sells a still life painted by Balthasar, lot 3040 estimated CHF 850K. This oil on panel in large size for its time, 77 x 107 cm, displays a wide variety of objects: fruits, flowers, seashells, insects and two parrots, announcing a new phase in the still life.
The naturalistic realism wanted by Brueghel and Bosschaert is still present, but the theme now includes novelties imported into Holland by the Dutch East India Company. This exoticism is represented here by the shells, the two birds, some fruits and the Wanli vase. Each element of botany or zoology remains perfectly identifiable.
Despite the abundance of objects the composition is clear and airy with a beautiful range of colors that may have already been influenced by Savery. The hypothesis that this painting would have been executed by Balthasar as a showcase for the variety of his know-how circa 1620 shortly after his arrival in Utrecht is appealing. When Ambrosius died in 1621 Balthasar took over.
1620-1624 The Gospel according to Ribera
2013 sold 710 K€ including premium
Ribera spreads on humanity a vision without complacency which is one of the most terrible in art history. He is a precursor of Blake, although their figurative styles and artistic techniques have nothing in common.
In the baroque trend, he shows the men in an obvious physical realism. However, he endeavours to lead his saints,mythological heroes and philosophers throughout their passion, with their bodies as twisted as figures of hell or with a haughty gaze that discharges communication.
Such an artist was necessarily inspired by the stories of the Gospels, with the dense crowd of Jerusalem hindering themovement. On January 25, 2001, Sotheby's sold $ 1.7 million a raising of Lazarus, oil on canvas 171 x 289 cm, undated.
On April 17 in Vienna, Dorotheum sells a mocking of Christ, oil on canvas 106 x 87 cm, estimated € 300K. Here is the link to the catalog.
Bleeding under the crown of thorns, Jesus is amidst the crowd in one of the most promiscuous scenes of the Passion.The boy draws to him a disproportionate tongue. These two main characters are in full light while a farther Herodplays the hesitation.
This mockery against Christ has often been used to symbolize good and evil. With his post-Caravaggian boldness, Ribera reverses the allegorical message: the offender is young and beautiful.
Recently discovered, this painting was inspected by one of the best specialists of Ribera. It was made after 1620 but not after 1624, when his art offers less stuffy compositions and lighter colors.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting was obviously worth more than its estimate. It was sold € 710K including premium.
1621 The Secrétaire d'Estat
2019 SOLD for € 3.05M including premium
This serious character had been one of the most important French administrators of his time. The tradition of service of the Phélypeaux family was very old : an ancestor was garde des sceaux of the comte de Blois in 1297.
Paul makes his career at the court. He becomes a secretary to King Henri IV in 1591 and secrétaire des commandements of the new queen Marie de Médicis in 1600. He is entrusted with the highest responsibility of the administration, with the title of secrétaire d'état, in April 1610. When the king is assassinated three weeks later, he loses that title but directly attends Marie who is now the regent. His family will remain for two centuries at the highest level of the ministers of the kingdom. It is in this family that the bronze has just been identified.
The expertise has been conducted by the Cabinet Sculpture et Collection. The bronze with a brown patina is of exceptional quality. It is 88 cm high including the base. Its thickness is unusual and it weighs more than 80 kg. It has been entirely chiseled to reveal in the most realistic way the smallest details of the skin, the beard, the hair and the clothing.
At that time bronze portraits were extremely rare in France, and reserved for effigies of the royal family and of great ministers. Paul Phélypeaux was serving the state without showing himself in public and his memoirs do not mention a project for an effigy. He died in 1621. The bronze was certainly commissioned by his widow to adorn the funeral concession in the church of St Germain l'Auxerrois. It is illustrated in this position in documents from the late seventeenth century.
The rarity of these bronzes allowed to identify the sculptor with a near certainty. Only one artist had such a know-how in Paris at that time. Born in Florence in 1580, Francesco Bordoni had worked in Giambologna's studio and moved to France shortly after the new queen. He could not ignore the work of Phélypeaux with Queen Marie and had made circa 1613 a bronze angel for St Germain l'Auxerrois.
This bust will be sold in Paris (Hôtel Drouot) by De Baecque on November 20, lot 105. I invite you to read the press release prepared by Drouot and to watch the video narrated by Maître d'Ouince and shared by Artcento.
Vous n'avez toujours pas rencontré Paul Phélypeaux de Ponchartrain ?□— Drouot (@Drouot) October 30, 2019
Le superbe bronze de Francesco #Bordoni sera proposé aux enchères par @DE_BAECQUE le 20 novembre, mais sera exposé @Drouot du 4 au 7 novembre...#Teaser
Ne manquez pas ce chef-d'oeuvrehttps://t.co/HxFiR2RXBn
La @gazette_drouot a rencontré ce matin Paul Phélypeaux, Seigneur de Pontchartrain (1569-1621) - un buste en bronze et véritable chef d’œuvre attribué à Francesco Bordoni - qui sera proposé à la vente par @DE_BAECQUE le 20 novembre prochain @Drouot— La Gazette Drouot (@gazette_drouot) September 26, 2019
Estimation: 500 000/800 000 € pic.twitter.com/hSInsTHdWb
1623 The Young Lady in Waiting
2013 sold for $ 630k including premium by Sotheby's
The catalog is irreproachable, assessing that the work had been considered as autograph before being donated to the Met. The comparison with other known images of the same child is established. The condition report indicates that an inspection under ultraviolet light was performed and that the impastos are preserved.
Estimated between $ 20K and 30K, this oil on panel 36 x 26 cm was sold for $ 630K including premium.
It is no exaggeration to consider that the new owner has rescued a masterpiece. The painting has been cleared of an opaque varnish and of an unnecessary layer of green paint. Recovering all its brightness, it shows again the details of the smile that makes this girl so similar to her mother, and the slightly wet gaze in her confident pose for her beloved father. The dendrochronology confirms the hypothesis of an original piece.
In this image that was not commercial, Rubens brought a spontaneous and authentic intimacy. The psychological effect is very successful but the pale complexion of the sitter is perhaps a threat of illness. The hypothesis of a post mortem portrait is unlikely but not excluded.
Clara Serena was the eldest and only daughter from the three children of Peter Paul Rubens and his wife Isabella Brant. At that time the biography of children was not documented beyond baptism. A drawing of a young lady in waiting to Infanta Isabella is certainly a portrait of the same teenager. Rubens was since 1621 the official painter of the court of the Infanta. The exact date and the cause of Clara Serena's death in autumn 1623 are not known. Three years later in Antwerp the plague took away the mother.
This painting is estimated £ 3M for sale by Christie's in London on July 5, lot 7. Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1624 Breast and Candle
2013 SOLD 3.4 M$ including premium
Three young Dutch artists make the traditional visit to Rome to perfect their craft. They enjoy with intensity and vividness.
Hendrick ter Brugghen, the first to come, certainly met Caravaggio. Dirck van Baburen has a reputation as a heavy drinker. Along with Gerrit van Honthorst, they are the Utrecht Caravaggisti.
Back in Utrecht, the three artists display the same themes: portraits of musicians and drinkers. Honthorst love the hot nights, and is nicknamed Gherardo delle Notti.
On June 5, an oil on canvas 78 x 95 cm painted by Honthorst in 1624 is for sale at Christie's in New York. The duet of young singers at candlelit is a rare example of an almost direct influence of Caravaggio, both by its popular and almost bawdy theme and by the light effect.
The man and woman are close to each other, but of course it makes it easier to read the song book. The mustachioed is jovial. The released breast of the woman is a sign of her low life.
The auction house remains cautious, with a lower estimate of $ 2M, but Caravaggism can also trigger high bidding.
POST SALE COMMENT
This rare painting of one of the best Dutch Caravaggians was sold for $ 3.4 million including premium, in the region of its higher estimate.
1625 The Son of Jan the Elder
When Jan the younger returns to Antwerp a few months later, he is the only one able to maintain the family business. His siblings have been decimated and his half-brother Ambrosius is still a child.
Jan the elder left an original corpus of a great variety. Jan the younger offers his customers the same themes in other variants, with a predilection for scenes with animals. He also continues the much usual practice in Antwerp to cooperate with other artists, especially with Rubens who was his godfather.
The Entry of the animals into Noah's Ark, oil on panel 60 x 90 cm made by Jan the younger with an illegible date which is probably 1625, was sold for $ 2.9M including premium by Christie's on January 27, 2010.
Pan and Syrinx, oil on panel 58 x 95 cm, was made in four hands around 1626. Rubens painted the characters and Jan the younger made landscape, flowers and animals. It was sold for $ 3.1M including premium by Sotheby's on April 22, 2015. This theme had been the subject of a similar cooperation between Rubens and Jan the elder, with a closer staging.
The allegorical series, such as the four seasons, the five senses and the four elements, interested the Brueghel family. They make it possible to display the know-how on a larger surface. The set of seasons painted in 1624 by Pieter the younger in four panels 42 x 57 cm was sold for £ 6.5M including premium by Christie's on July 7, 2016.
On July 3 in London, Bonhams sells the set of Elements painted by Jan the younger in four oils on copper 33 x 48 cm, lot 58 estimated £ 800K. Dr. Ertz concluded that it is an autograph work by Jan the younger without collaboration. The use of copper in a size rather large for that technique shows the desire of the young artist to provide high quality painting, certainly soon after he succeeded Jan the elder.
Collaborations continue, especially with Hendrick van Balen for the figures. Another set of Elements with a much simpler iconography in four panels 58 x 95 cm was sold for $ 2.2M including premium by Christie's on January 27, 2010. This cooperation between Jan the younger and Frans Francken the younger is probably subsequent to van Balen's death that happened in 1632.
An astonishing set of four oil on copper panels by Jan Brueghel the Younger will lead our Old Master Paintings sale in London on 3 July. The Four Elements have been miraculously well preserved as a quartet for almost 400 years.https://t.co/pBgQpHZDRM pic.twitter.com/I3E5TB3SPy— Bonhams (@bonhams1793) June 10, 2019
1625 Poussin crossing the Alps
Young artists eager for glory make the trip to Rome and prepare flattering paintings that could bring them into the circles of art patrons. Arrived in 1624, Nicolas Poussin manages to interest the very young Cardinal Barberini, nephew of the Pope.
His next year is difficult for health reasons. The cardinal is at a legation abroad. Hannibal crossing the Alps is amasterpiece of flattery, certainly made in 1625 to accommodate the come back of the patron.
The mighty elephant monopolizes the image. It is in standing position but on its back the prestigious leader gives the order to go forward. Poussin had never seen a live elephant, but that does not matter. His animal is an Asian elephantjust like Hannibal's favorite war beast, but it is a chance.
The elephant is ugly and repulsive. This painting is more remarkable for the strength of its rising oblique compositionwhich anticipates Rembrandt. This movement draws attention to the horizon of the Alps and also to the multitude of the invincible army that flows behind the elephant.
This oil on canvas 100 x 135 cm is estimated £ 3M, for sale by Christie's in London on July 2.
1625-1637 a merry flemish company
It is not clear if Rombouts had close contact with the Utrecht group, but his bold compositions and colors were influenced by Rubens, his compatriot at Antwerp. Many figures are creating a hot atmosphere in a diagonal or arched composition that increases the vigour.
From his return to Antwerp in 1625 to his untimely death in 1637, Rombouts offers to his customers large size paintings, often made in several copies according to the artistic practice of his time.
On January 28 in New York, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 239 x 171 cm, lot 30 estimated $ 2M.
Twelve people, men and women together, are occupied in an opulent meal. Dominating this merry company, the thirteenth companion, a tall mustachioed soldier, is carving the roast with his sword.
< 1626 An Affair in the Studio
1998 SOLD for NLG 2.36M (later € 1.07M) including premium by Christie's
The boy is not influenced by Lastman's epic themes but by the earthiness and the chiaroscuro effects of the Utrecht Caravaggisti, whom Lastman could not ignore. An allegory of the five senses painted by Lievens around 1622 depicts four men and a woman. One of the men embraces this bare breasted chubby young woman who smiles blissfully.
A little later a youth with a curly brown hair appears in Lievens' compositions. Also a painter, he was a one-year elder rival of Lievens, with less daring allegorical themes. His name is Rembrandt van Rijn.
Rembrandt is thus probably the central character lit in full face in the Card players, painted by his friend around 1624-1625. This oil on canvas 98 x 106 cm was sold for € 1.77M including premium by Sotheby's on May 8, 2007 over a lower estimate of € 150K.
The cheeky woman returns for an even more fiery embrace in an oil on canvas 97 x 84 cm. Her companion is now the young man with the curly hair. This work cannot be later than 1626 when the 19-year-old Lievens abandoned the Caravaggesque style.
This painting was sold for NLG 2.36M including premium by Christie's on May 6, 1998. This price corresponds to € 1.07M. At that time the veil of the shirt covered the breasts. This modest representation is only a repaint which was removed before an exhibition in 2008.
She has now regained her original post-Caravaggesque eroticism and the painting is estimated $ 4M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 29, lot 35. The image is shared by Wikimedia. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
Rembrandt had also been a pupil of Lastman but it was around 1625, long after Lievens. The workshop shared in Leiden for several years by Lievens and Rembrandt is not documented and is probably a legend fueled by their friendly rivalry. Visiting Leiden in 1628, Constantijn Huygens, the secretary of the Stadholder, prefers the boldness of composition and the larger than life characters of Lievens while recognizing that Rembrandt's art is more penetrating.
1626 Nymph and Satyr in Antwerp
2015 SOLD for $ 3.1M including premium
At the top of his fame, Peter Paul Rubens does not hesitate to practice this duet art. Fascinated by the human body, he perhaps has no more time to execute himself the picture of the landscape where his characters will appear.
Rubens and Brueghel realized together mythological, biblical and allegorical paintings. When Jan dies of cholera in 1625, his son Jan the younger aged 24 comes to operate his business and complete the orders. He changes the spelling of his name to Breughel, presumably to differentiate his signature from his father.
On April 22 in New York, Sotheby's sells an oil on panel 58 x 95 cm by Rubens and Breughel, lot 30 estimated $ 3M. This work on the subject of Pan and Syrinx in a landscape is not signed but the process of its creation has been described.
The panel is monogrammed by the guild of panel-makers of Antwerp and by Michiel Vriendt, the carpenter who was a supplier to Rubens. The master painted at an unidentified date the truculent god who grabs the half naked nymph. The panel was then transferred to Brueghel with the commission to add the marshy landscape where Syrinx will soon be transformed into a reed to escape the satyr, according to Ovid.
Dating it to 1626 is plausible. The theme had been used in a closer scene by Rubens and the late Jan Brueghel. The register of the younger Breughel for that year includes a painting for which he states that the figures of Pan and Syrinx had been made by Rubens.
1627 herring and tobacco
By placing on the table some ephemeral objects without any identification of the person using them, Claesz is a painter of vanities. His themes are conventionally divided into three categories: ontbijtgens with breakfast artefacts, banketgens for a more lavish meal and toebaackjes with smoking accessories.
In these interior views, the artist reinforces the austerity by a strict application of the geometry of shadows and by a limited palette of mostly dull colors. This trend which was certainly pleasing Ampzing becomes more systematic in 1627. In the same city, Heda realizes similar compositions at the same time.
On September 23 in Zurich, Koller sells an oil on panel 50 x 75 cm painted by Claesz in 1627, lot 3046 estimated CHF 500K. This composition with a rather high density of objects is both an ontbijtgens and a toebaackjes. The herring cut into slices and the glass of beer are waiting for nearly four centuries their eventual consumer.
1628 Van Dyck and the Musicians
2014 SOLD for £ 2.9M including premium
The portraits of musicians made by Van Dyck in Antwerp benefit from this dual influence of Rubens and Titian. The singers were at the same time a favorite theme of the Utrecht Caravaggians but van Dyck, looking for an aristocratic clientele, was certainly not primarily interested at cabarets.
Of Dutch origin, Hendrick Liberti was a singer and composer. His portrait was probably commissioned to van Dyck on the occasion of his appointment as organist of the Cathedral of Antwerp in 1628. It is not dated, but its dimensions, 114 x 88 cm, are similar to those of the portrait of the English musician Nicholas Lanier who was in Antwerp in 1628. The two oil paintings belonged a few years later to the fabulous royal collection of Charles I where they were probably hanging side by side.
The portrait of Liberti is for sale by Christie's in London on December 2, lot 13 estimated £ 2.5M. Less than 30 years old, the young musician is shown in mid length. He holds a sheet of music in an inspired attitude.
1628 Rembrandt launches his Career
2011 SOLD 720 K$ including premium
In 1625, a young artist aged 19 named Rembrandt van Rijn has just opened a studio in his hometown, Leiden. His firstpainting is a stoning of St. Stephen. It is a chiaroscuro separated by a diagonal, seeking by this bold composition to highlight the epic nature of the scene.
Rembrandt has understood that the Christian themes are able to bring to him the patrons and the glory. In 1628, he chose an episode in the Gospels, unglamorous but loaded with intense emotion: the restitution by Judas of the thirty pieces of silver.
He painted in oil directly on the panel, and then analyzed the result. Not good enough. He then executed various sketches to try new effects.
The double-sided drawing, 11 x 15cm, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 26 is an extraordinary relic of the creative process of the young artist. The front side anticipates the final composition of the work, again designed on a diagonal. The back bears some details including one for another painting.
Soon after, the powerful statesman Constantijn Huygens was amazed by his talent. Rembrandt's career was launched.
Let us do like Judas, not hesitating to discuss money: the drawing is estimated $ 600K.
POST SALE COMMENT
Good result for this very small drawing: $ 720K including premium. The creative approach of Rembrandt, like that of Leonardo, fascinates the art lovers.
1628 kermesses by pieter the younger
Thirty years later, when Pieter the younger started his career, times had changed. Under the yoke of Spain, Flanders was no longer a coveted country. Pieter Brueghel executed many copies from the works of his father, now valued for their picturesque scenics. He was also a great artist in his own right, featuring crowds in festivals and processions.
The new compositions by Pieter the younger are much freer than those by his father. Well differentiated areas allow to highlight the occupations of many characters, always spontaneous and often truculent. He creates several variations of the kermesse of St George without locating them in the same village. St George is celebrated a few days after Easter when spring offers all its opulence.
One of the St George fairs by Pieter the younger show the dances and drinking orgies in the square of a village. The largest painting in this variant, an oil on panel 117 x 176 cm, is dated 1628. Such a dating is rare in the art of Pieter the younger and means that he was happy with its achievement. It was sold for £ 3.7 million including premium by Sotheby's on December 8, 2004.
On July 9 in London, Christie's sells an oil on panel 72 x 103 cm, lot 45 estimated £ 2.5M. It differs from the masterpiece of 1628 in tiny details and is without doubt slightly earlier. The musician is too far, the drunkard has not started vomiting and there is no banner above the figure of the saint. It is signed Breughel, the new spelling used by the artist from 1616.
1630 Archimedes by Ribera
2011 sold 115 K€ including premium
Unsold in Paris one year ago, a painting by Ribera is now for sale in Madrid with a halved estimate. Indication of sourceleaves no doubt. As usual in such cases, I copy my previous article by changing the information related to the sale.
Giuseppe Ribera (Jusepe de Ribera) is known to museum visitors for his large paintings of religious scenes. Located in Naples, he was known by the nickname Il Spagnoletto because of his origin and his small size.
This active professional offered to his aristocratic clients a wide choice of imaginary mid-length portraits of saints.Each subject was shown in a different attitude and clothing, according to the inspiration given to the artist by the hagiography of the character. The result had a great psychological strength, often accentuated by the highlighting of half of the face, leaving the other half in shadow.
Customers were not appealed only with the saints. A large naked Prometheus writhing in pain shown in a bold top-down composition was sold £ 3.8 million including premium by Sotheby's on July 8, 2009.
Around 1629-1631, Ribera adds philosophers to his themes. A picture shows an austere Archimedes with his garment wide open over the naked chest, holding a paper in one hand and writing with the other. An oil on canvas, 126 x 96 cm, is auctioned in Madrid in the sale organized on November 30 and December 1 by Fernando Duran.
The reasonable estimate, € 90K, is certainly related to the fact that this painting, though from the hand of the master, is not the original.
Another version of Archimedes, which was created around the same time and is kept in the Museo del Prado, displays an older and much more sociable man.
POST SALE COMMENT
This painting was sold for its fair price : € 115K including premium.
1630 The Baroque Woman
In the early seventeenth century, Naples attracted artists. This city was one of the largest in Europe after Paris and theseat of a viceroyalty of the Spanish crown.
Caravaggio worked there when he was forced to flee Rome (1606). Ribera came to manage his own career in 1616.
Artemisia Gentileschi, daughter of the painter Orazio Gentileschi, went also to find clients in Naples in 1630, very successfully as she remained there until the end of her life (with the notable exception of a brief stay in England where her father had become a painter to Charles I).
Ribera offered to wealthy collectors of the Neapolitan aristocracy the portraits of men (saints, heroes, philosophers)differentiated by their supposed psychological characteristics. Artemisia Gentileschi followed a similar art with portraits of women but probably without a collaborative approach between both artists.
An oil on canvas, 66 x 51 cm, on the theme of the Penitent Magdalene, can be dated from the beginning of the Neapolitan career of Artemisia. The saint has a hand on her luxurious cloth and the other on a skull. Her quiet attitude, eyes semi closed, shows that she overcame the contradictions between worldly and mystical life.
This outstanding painting is for sale by Christie's in New York on January 26. It is estimated $ 800K.
1630-1635 Biblical Festivities
2018 SOLD for € 1.5M including premium
His complex scenes are often geometrically structured. For example Eternal dilemma of mankind: the choice between virtue and vice, oil on panel 142 x 211 cm dated 1633 or 1635, is composed in three parallel registers. It was sold for € 7M including premium by Dorotheum on April 21, 2010.
The Crossing of the Red Sea is a frequent theme for this artist. A cradled panel 118 x 214 cm painted around 1630-1635, signed but undated, will be sold in Troyes on September 29 by Ivoire Troyes, lot 255 estimated € 120K here linked on the bidding platform Interencheres.
The back of this panel is painted with an arabesque pattern attesting that this image had been prepared for a large piece of furniture. Another example painted by the same artist with a similar back was designed as a harpsichord lid.
Francken shows the scene of the Red Sea at the time of the liberation of the people of Israel. In front of a towering triangular mountain, the jubilant crowd dances and plays music. The large format makes it possible to multiply the details which include in the foreground an assortment of goldsmith's pieces and an exhibition of pearly shells. Moses completes his work by brandishing his staff. Far away on the other side, Pharaoh's army is engulfed by the waves.
Please watch the video shared by Artcento.
Un panneau monumental peint au XVIIe siècle par Frans Francken II a été découvert près de Troyes. Estimé à plus de 120 000 euros, il sera mis en vente le 29 septembre par @ivoire_troyes @CabinetTurquin— Interencheres (@interencheres) August 23, 2018
➡ https://t.co/xjFtYHy4si pic.twitter.com/XqpyKzqFo0
1635 The Cross of the Counter-Reformation
Very active in Seville in the early seventeenth century, Pacheco is one of the theorists. He will even later become the official representative of the Inquisition in that city, responsible for eliminating non-conforming images. Very influential, he is the master of Velazquez.
Pacheco is however a mediocre artist. The best application of his prescriptions is the life-size Christ on the Cross painted by Zurbaran in Seville in 1627, 290 x 168 cm. Zurbaran, 29, is however probably not a direct pupil of Pacheco.
The body of Christ is brightly illuminated against a black background, testifying to the influence of Caravaggio and to the affinity with Velazquez. The cross is an unsignificant assembly of wooden beams. The feet are nailed separately on a wooden support, more credible than the traditional single nail piercing both feet. He is alone in his ultimate suffering, without the narrative effects of soldiers, thieves and mourners.
At the request of his customers, Zurbaran realizes several autograph variants on this theme. On December 4 in London, Sotheby's sells a Christ on the Cross, oil on canvas 267 x 189 cm painted around 1635, lot 12 estimated £ 2.5M. Unlike the original model, the eyes turned to the sky mark resignation and hope. The cross is invisible except for its horizontal bar. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The earliest known provenance of this painting is in Lima in the nineteenth century. It is not a coincidence. One of the main activities of Seville was the trade with South America. Around 1640 the moods change. The Spaniards prefer the lively flexibility of Murillo to the dramatic asceticism of Zurbaran, for whom the colonial clientele, more traditional, becomes predominant.
1638-1640 Saint Lawrence viewed by Ribera
2009 SOLD 535 K€ before fees
I have already noted in this group the interest of the market for the paintings of Caravaggio's followers. It was in my article on the superb bagpipe player of ter Brugghen.
Despite a more conventional subject, the St. Lawrence of Ribera does not leave us indifferent, indeed. This work is for sale at Saumur, France on March 28 by the auctioneer Xavier de la Perraudière, who has already been highlighted last year by the successful sale of a painting by Paul Klee (see Modern Art Group, French side).
The saint is a young priest, with the tonsure. Serious and worried, he fails to communicate. The strong point of the image is the face, half in the light but whose eyes are in the shadows of the eyebrows. The hand is contracted on the torture tool, the grill. The chasuble, in a creamy color, is very beautiful and adds realism to the whole.
This painting is the subject of a video (in French) on Interencheres.tv. Mme Mauduit, of the CabinetTurquin, who valued the work and presents the video, said it is not dated but close to other achievements of our painter circa 1638-1640.
The estimate, 150 K €, may seem low, especially since the painting is of rather large size (98 x 63 cm).
POST SALE COMMENT
The market has confirmed that this work was important: K € 535 before fee.
Forget the estimate. Culturally, the message had been passed by other means, including the video of Interencheres and the front page of La Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot of March 6.
I invite you to play the video shared by Interencheres :
<1640 The Five Sacraments of Nicolas Poussin
Born after Rubens and before Rembrandt, Nicolas Poussin is like them a painter with an impeccable technique. He takes his themes in the antiquity, on which he brings this care to realism that makes his art so original and so present.
Thus he became one of the most important artists of Christianism. In Rome, in the second half of the 1630s, he made for one of his patrons seven oils on canvas, 95 x 121 cm, each dealing with one of the seven sacraments.
This set went to England in 1785, bought by the 4th Duke of Rutland on the recommendation of Reynolds and against, apparently, a pope's opposition to the export of such a famous artwork.
The series was forever unpaired in 1816 when the "Penance" was destroyed by fire. An American museum later acquired the "Baptism" in the middle of the twentieth century. The five paintings that remained in the collection of the Dukes of Rutland are shown on the page shared by Aiwaz.net.
It was envisaged in 2007 to sell the five paintings in one lot, then estimated £ 100M, which would have been a major event in the art market. This project was abandoned. On December 7 at Christie's in London, only the "Ordination" is for sale, with an estimate of £ 15M. In a landscape of wooded countryside, Christ hands to St. Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven under the watchful eyes of the other apostles.
1640s Teasing a Nymph
2018 sold for £ 320k including premium
Ferdinando prefers bronze to marble. His bronzes offer an unprecedented variety of textures, from smooth skin to rough ground. In the themes, he has a preference for the groups which he makes by assembling the elements.
He edits for the first time the various figures of the Hercules cycle prepared by his father around 1614 for an order that had never come. A 58 x 55 x 38 cm group with a superb patina was sold for £ 6.8M including premium by Christie's on July 5, 2018.
The period of Ferdinando's activity falls into a phase of disinterest for the Mannerist and Baroque sculpture. He changes activity around 1650. Despite the importance of his workshop in the 1640s and his undeniable skill, his personal achievement was forgotten until 1976. His bronzes, certainly very difficult to execute, are produced in very small quantities and each theme may include several variants slightly different of each other.
Ferdinando conceived a series of scenes inspired by Ovid or Ariosto showing a man and a woman in the full excitement of an erotic drama, for example Venus and Adonis or Medoro and Angelica.
His interpretation of Apollo and Daphne is hot. The scene is shown at the moment when the nude god with the smile of a satyr puts his hand on the panicked nymph. Unlike the large marble finished by Bernini in 1625, the nymph is not naked but the god is tearing off her tunic. The lightness of these running bodies is in the taste of Giambologna. The reference version, 49 x 42 cm, is kept in the Louvre.
A second version, 44 x 44 cm, has just surfaced. It is less complete : Apollo does not have his quiver and Daphne does not hold the laurels that symbolize her salvation. These items may have never been assembled on this copy. The marble base is later. In this state, this bronze is estimated £ 200K for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 4, lot 67. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
1642 Views in the Roman Countryside
2018 SOLD for $ 1.63m including premium
His painting specialty of scenes in imaginary harbors is original and appealing and opens the way to imitations. From 1634 he copies his paintings in drawings that constitute his Liber Veritatis and allow him until his death in 1682 to authenticate his artworks. To better simulate the originals, he makes an extensive use of the wash in these drawings.
Throughout his life Claude draws for his own pleasure. Very few from his 1,200 drawings are for his business. From 1640 to 1642 he begins to use his wash technique in original views of the Roman countryside. The sketches made outdoors with great topographic accuracy are completed or copied by the artist in his studio.
In his passion Claude varies his practice, using colored papers or preparing white papers with a light colored wash layer. He enhances or not with white and highlights or not the contours with a line of pen or brush. The choice of the angle of view, the balance of the composition and the beautiful contrasts confirm that he is a great artist of the real landscape.
A 23 x 30 cm view of an unidentified woodland landscape uses all the variations of that technique. It was sold for 6.1M including premium by Christie's on January 31, 2013 over a lower estimate of $ 500K.
A 16 x 27 cm panoramic view in the Roman countryside is an example of the use of wash to create the atmosphere without adding lines or enhancements. It was sold for £ 410K including premium by Sotheby's on July 5, 2016 over a lower estimate of £ 150K.
On January 31 in New York, Sotheby's sells a 23 x 35 cm view of the Aniene valley between Tivoli and Subiaco with the ruins of an aqueduct, lot 2 estimated $ 600K. The soft contrasts well delineated in brown ink over a pale pink wash highlight stone and valley. The balance of the composition is completed by flocks of birds in flight and by two small clouds of nice weather.
This drawing is signed Claudio Gellée on back side and marked IV for In Urbe, meaning that it was made in studio in Rome. The title locates a site that remains perfectly recognizable today. It is not dated but a view preserved by the British Museum which was taken on the same road with similar hues is dated 1642.
1642-1645 The Jordaens Singing Band
2009 SOLD 1.75 M€ including premium
Jacob Jordaens lived in Antwerp, like Rubens, and his work was just as varied. For the genre, his favorite subject was the illustration of a Flemish proverb : soo d'oude songen, soo pepen de jongen. The interpretation of the text is as subtle as that of the image. D'oude songen: the old are singing. Soo pepen de jongen: During this time, the young ... play the fife? twitter? get drunk? It seems that the artist was trying to combine the three interpretations prior to waive the last one.
This singing assembly consisted of the artist himself and his family. The image is read in different ways depending on viewing the whole, very happy, or viewing details, innumerable and often extravagant or caricature.
Jordaens made on this topic several compositions based on the same general idea and the same characters. On 22 June 1990 in Paris, Ader Picard Tajan received 4.2 MF excluding costs of one of these paintings, 189 x 211 cm.
On June 26 in Paris, Piasa sells another painting, 165 x 237 cm, made circa1642-1645, and estimated 1.2 million €. Long kept in a princely collection, it is fresh on the market. Even better, it had not been seen since its last exhibition in Antwerp in 1905.
Among the details, there is the reflection of a character in a mirror. We all remind Las Meninas, of course, but this top work is more than ten years later than Jordaens' painting.
POST SALE COMMENT
Excellent result for this prestigious work of a great master: € 1.75 million premium included.
Do not miss the video in French presented by Mr Turquin on Interencheres.tv.
1643 A Hermit in Picardy
2018 sold for $ 1.2m including premium
Their production is abundant and varied. Religion is treated in two opposite ways : the biblical or hagiographic image and the sincere faith of peasant families.
On April 19 in New York, Christie's sells a recently discovered Saint Jerome signed Le Nain, oil on canvas 72 x 92 cm, lot 23 estimated $ 1M.
The saint is an old man focusing on his analysis of the sacred book. Half covered with a large red drapery, barefoot, he pays no attention to the poverty and disorder of his hermitage at the entrance to the cave. The painting has a date in limit of readability but which can only be 1642 or 1643. A Saint Magdalene in the Desert in a highly similar composition and style is signed and dated 1643.
The vertical shadows imply that the source of sunlight is inside the cave : at the time of the Baroque art, the pictorial effect is more important than a realism. Throughout their career the Le Nain relied on what they saw in their native Picardy. Their desert is verdant.
The patron would not have understood an image of Saint Jerome without the lion. Infra-red reflectography analysis showed that the animal's place was originally next to the hermit. The artist understood just in time that he was engaging in a figure for which he had no model. He wisely sent the lion to walk far away in the countryside, almost imperceptible. There are elderly men in Picardy but no lion.
< 1650 the child with the rosary
The intimate theme of Madonna and Child with a Rosary contributes to his early successes. One of them, hung until 1810 in the sacristy of a Sevillan convent, is for sale on October 4 in Madrid by Alcala Subastas with a starting price of € 750K, lot 351. From the sharpness of its drawing this work can be dated before 1650. It is signed, and the doubts raised in the last century about its authenticity were cancelled after a recent restoration that revealed the original impasto.
The seated Mother holds the Child on her lap. The halo barely visible in the dark background over the head of the Child is the only mystical symbol and the rosary with its hanging cross is the only liturgical attribute. The young woman is attentive and the child smiles confidently.
This oil on canvas 168 x 112 cm is comparable to another example of similar dimensions owned by the Louvre and exhibited since 1949 at the Musée d'Art Hispanique in Castres. The position of the rosary in the hands of the Child is different.