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 Gallery of Beauties by Rubens
2020 SOLD for £ 4M by Christie's
It is a work from the training period of Rubens when he was based in Mantua but travelled extensively in Italy and once in Spain. He was at some time approached by the duke of Mantua for participating to a Gallery of (female) Beauties.
It is the mid-length portrait of a young lady, near life size. The face and hands are completed and their quality shows that it was made by the master. The painting was abandoned before the costume and ruff are finished, and the background is not even started.
The canvas was originally stretched instead of being framed, which confirms that the work is a sketch. Indeed its unfinished condition gives valuable information on the creative process of Rubens.
It was probably taken from life. The speed of the brush provides the spontaneity of a drawing. The terminus post quem seems to be his diplomatic trip to Spain in 1603 when he could study the royal collection of paintings by Titian. Indeed the fiddling of the hand with a chain and the determined chin provide an instantaneous view of deep psychological insight.
The artist was keen to observe the clothing fashion. The costume and the ruff may be Spanish. The terminus ante quem is around 1606 when women went to prefer small curls instead of the tall hairdressing of that picture. There is no evidence of a finished painting after the sketch.
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.
1607 Still Life of Flowers by Jan Brueghel
On July 7, 2021 in London, Sotheby's sells a still life of flowers, lot 13 estimated £ 2.5M. Its composition and size are nearly identical as the Vienna specimen. It displays 44 botanical varieties softly lit from the left on a plain dark background. The artist added a few diamonds and sapphires on the ledge instead of the shells and coins of the Milan specimen.
This piece is the earliest Flemish still life of flowers with a painted date. Unfortunately this inscription has been overpainted and the experts do not converge on the original last digit.
1608 Still Life of Flowers by Jan Brueghel
2016 SOLD for £ 3.85M by Sotheby's
The artist gave up soon although not before 1611 the painting of flowers by direct observation and these early works will then serve as modelli. The goal remains decorative. Other artists will add the use of flowers and small animals as symbols and also the arrangements inside wreaths.
1609 Samson and Delilah
2014 SOLD for £ 3.2M by Christie's
Samson et Delilah is an oil on wood 185 x 205 cm. The theme of the colossus neutralized by the ingenuity of women, staged at the fatal moment, may be compared with the Judith by Caravaggio. The original version was authenticated in 1929 and sold by Christie's on July 11, 1980 for £ 2.53M.
On July 10, 2014, Christie's sold at lot 9 for £ 3.2M from a lower estimate of £ 1.5M a 16 x 16 cm brown drawing in ink and wash which is the only known preparation drawing for the Samson and Delilah of the mayor.
Before starting the job for the painting, Rubens was testing in the drawing the emotions of the tragic group of four characters: the giant, the wife, the barber and the maid. The analysis of this sketch invited him to increase the dramatic tension when he made the modello and the final painting on panel, in which the group is tighter and the main characters more personalized and more erotic.
The Samson by Rubens, as also his Holofernes in the same period, is strongly influenced by the too muscular male bodies by Michelangelo. The twist of the body is baroque, and the lighting of the scene with candles shows that Rubens also appreciated the modernism of Caravaggio.
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 Summer Landscape with Tilt Carts by Jan Brueghel
2023 SOLD for $ 2M by Christie's
This typical imaginary Weltlandschaft is in the same style of composition and color gradations as the 1610 example by the same artist sold for £ 3.6M by Christie's on December 6, 2018, lot 23., while all the details differ. The road to the hill is superseding the river bank and the carts follow one another at a distance.
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.
1615-1617 Two Studies of a Man
2007 SOLD for £ 3.8M by Christie's
It features the double portrait in head and shoulders from front and profile of the same Mediterranean man. From his beard of several days, his rudimentary cap and his shirt widely open on the torso, this young fellow is a poor but able bodied fisherman or a peasant, possibly acting as a workman or sailor.
The expression of the faces is thoughtful. In a kinetic sequence he turns sideways, removes his cap and gazes downwards. This achievement let suppose that he had actually posed for the artist in his studio.
A date ca 1615-1617 in the cosmopolitan Antwerp is plausible. At that date and place the very young Antoon van Dyck was admiring Rubens's work and executed head studies in similar formats. A double study of nearly identical size of an elder man painted on canvas ca 1618-1620 in two different angles by van Dyck was sold for $ 7.3M by Sotheby's on January 28, 2010, lot 176.
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.
1619 Learning the Baroque
From 1617 to 1620 van Dyck assiduously frequents Rubens' workshop. Van Dyck was a member of the Guild of Saint-Luke from 1618 and could exercise independently. The contractual relationship between the two artists is not known but their collaboration is extremely close. The final paintings are not a joint work but each is free to use the other's drawing in the preparation.
On January 27 in New York, Sotheby's sells a 37 x 23 cm double-sided drawing by van Dyck, lot 23 estimated $ 2.5M.
The recto is the half-length figure of a man dressed in a poor cloak, in black and white chalks with some additions of red chalk. This drawing is the final study for the sick old man in Christ healing a paralytic painted twice by van Dyck circa 1619. The profile of the face is drawn in lighter lines, according to Rubens' practice of varying the density to better focus on the main object of a movement study.
The back side mingles four drawings scribbled by the artist, without any theme link with the front side. They were done in brown ink in an obvious intention of speed, to test some fleeting ideas. The conjunction of both sides is thus an interesting witness to van Dyck's artistic practice in two phases of preparation, at the time when Rubens considered him as his best pupil.
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.
early 1620s Saint Jacques le Majeur by Georges de La Tour
2023 SOLD for $ 3.7M by Sotheby's
The scallop shells which are an attribute of this saint are hooked in his large peasant cap. He is kindly looking away.
The long lost painting surfaced in France in 2005 and was authenticated by Eric Turquin. It was sold for $ 3.23M by Sotheby's on January 24, 2008, lot 80. It will be sold by Sotheby's on January 26, 2023, lot 9. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1621 Maddalena Penitente by Orazio Gentileschi
2023 SOLD for $ 4.9M by Sotheby's
The outstretched position of the bare breasted woman resting on her left elbow heightened on a plinth reminds the Danaë from the same provenance, sold for $ 30.5M by Sotheby's in 2016. They were not conceived as pendants : the Maddalena, oil on canvas 150 x 187 cm, is smaller.
The penitent is laying in the mountain cave and gazing to heaven inspired. The left elbow lays on an opened holy book with a skull on the ground below.
This painting inspired from Correggio and Titian was sold for $ 4.9M by Sotheby's on January 26, 2023, lot 7. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1621 Beyond the Bouquet
2019 SOLD for € 3.3M including premium
This novelty is very successful. Bosschaert will never change his theme but variants appear. His early works are painted on copper, which provides an extreme delicacy in the floral details. Then he also uses wood for offering larger formats.
The flowers, certainly painted from modellos, are grouped for their aesthetics, without worrying about their season of blossoming. Gradually the bright yellow iris and the red tulip come to occupy a dominant position in the group. The flowers of the bouquet may not have a mystical meaning but on the table butterflies and cut flowers are symbols of ephemeral life. An empty shell promises the resurrection.
The early compositions are on a plain dark background. Around 1618 he innovates by placing the bouquet and the ledge in front of the arcature of a window, against the backdrop of a lacustrine or fluvial landscape in dull colors, with some hardly recognizable monuments over a horizon of hills.
In the last phase he removes the window. Two examples are known, with a comparable floral composition and still in front of the same landscape. The terminus ante quem is the death of the artist in 1621. By the quality of his achievements, the autograph art of Ambrosius 'the elder' cannot be confused with that of his three sons and his brother-in-law who were practicing similar themes.
One of these two paintings is a copper 28 x 23 cm. The other example, which has just been identified in a deceased estate where it was previously considered as a work by Brueghel de Velours, is a 29 x 19 cm oil on panel. It will be sold on June 19 in Paris, Hôtel Drouot, by the joint operation of two auction houses, Fraysse and Binoche et Giquello, lot 9.
A bouquet in front of the usual dark background, oil on copper 34 x 23 cm with an unreadable date which is probably 1621, was sold for € 1.7M including premium by Gros et Delettrez on June 1, 2012. A few misses were reported in the catalog.
The tweet below shows a detail.
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.
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
1621 A Still Life of Christian Virtues
2021 SOLD for $ 2.3M including premium
The times were favorable. At the other end of Europe, Rudolf II was assembling his cabinet of curiosities to understand the mysteries of life.
The flowers composing the brilliant art of Bosschaert are in the greatest variety, in order to gather as many as possible of these symbols of the Christian virtues that oppose the sins. The artist worked from sketches without taking care of the seasons of the blossoming.
An large oil on copper 35 x 25 cm was sold for € 1.7M including premium by Gros et Delettrez on June 1, 2012 from a conservative lower estimate of € 600K. It is now estimated $ 1M for sale by Sotheby's in New York on January 28, lot 38.
It stages around the vase on the stone ledge a confrontation between an empty shell, symbol of the resurrection, an ephemeral blue fly and a cut flower. The date, difficult to read, is 1621, the year of the premature death of the artist.
1621 A Drinking and Musical Party by Manfredi
Manfredi takes his friends to taverns and drinking bouts and is probably the first to paint those scenes of Roman underworld that characterize the first post-Caravaggian generation. A moralizing concern about the vanity of pleasures may be considered.
An undated Drinking and musical party by Manfredi, large size oil on canvas 132 x 196 cm, is estimated $ 4M for sale by Christie's on June 9, 2022, lot 54. The image is shared by Wikimedia. It had been dated ca 1621 while on loan at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The artist died in the following year, aged 40.
A tight group of young people has music, drink and food at a table amidst tenebrist contrast in the style of Caravaggio. A man plays the lute. Another one fills with wine the glass of an exhausted drunkard soldier exposing the hilt of his sword. Two young women have an open mouth as for singing. One of them holding a glass of wine in her hand is certainly drunk.
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 Portrait of a Lady by Rubens
2020 SOLD for £ 3M by Sotheby's
In the same year, he painted a seductive portrait of Queen Anne d'Autriche, aged 21. Since his training in Italy 20 years earlier, Rubens was an excellent portrait painter who knew how to express the psychology of young women.
Immaculate hands are an ostentatious sign of nobility. Queen Anne is seated with her hands on her knees. The barely bent fingers form a flesh-colored counterpoint in the luxurious black garment. At the same time, Rubens painted several portraits of his beloved wife Isabella with various positions of the hands.
The portrait of a "damoiselle" (according to the wording of the time), oil on canvas 110 x 82 cm, was certainly painted around 1625, before the death of Isabella in the plague of 1626. The details of the clothing are consistent with that date.
The unidentified young Lady is standing in front of a large red curtain. The hands resting one over the other highlight the elegance of the fingers. She is richly dressed without being a queen : she does not have the ruff of Anne d'Autriche. In both works, the light brown hair is sprinkled with imperceptible yellow lines that give volume to the curls. The oval shape of the face brings a resemblance to Isabella, but without the ever ironic expression of the artist's wife.
This painting was recognized until the beginning of the 20th century as an authentic Rubens, but it was then buried for a century in the family of its owner. It surfaced in 2017 in a North Yorkshire auction room. The provenance was identified but its dirt made it offered as a simple workshop piece. It was sold for £ 78K.
The buyer brought it to Sotheby's. The painting is now clean. Pentimenti were found by infra-red inspection, confirming it as an original work by Rubens. In accordance with the practice of the master, a participation of the workshop in areas of lesser importance is not excluded. It was sold for £ 3M by Sotheby's on July 28, 2020, lot 43.
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 Pan and Syrinx by Rubens and Breughel
2015 SOLD for $ 3.1M by Sotheby's
At the top of his fame, 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, 2015, Sotheby's sold for $ 3.1M an oil on panel 58 x 95 cm by Rubens and Breughel, lot 30. 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 Kermesse of Saint George by Pieter Breughel
2004 SOLD for £ 3.7M by Sotheby's
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 Saint 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 shows 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 £ 3.7M by Sotheby's on December 8, 2004. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
On January 25, 2023, Christie's sold for $ 2.94M an oil on panel 72 x 103 cm of the kermesse of Saint George, lot 108 estimated $ 2.5M. It differs from the example dated 1628 in tiny details. The musician is too far, the glutton has not started vomiting and there is no banner above the figure of the saint.
1628 Kermesse of Saint George
2023 SOLD for $ 2.94M by Christie's
It differs from the example dated 1628 in tiny details. The musician is too far, the glutton 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.
It was sold for £ 2M before fees by Sotheby's on July 7, 2005, lot 6 and passed at Sotheby's in 2008, lot 11. The tweet below was issued before it passed at Christie's on July 9, 2015, lot 45.
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.
1629 Purism in Haarlem
2019 SOLD for $ 2.53M including premium
Once peace has returned, the religious wars give way to highly differentiated sensitivities between Catholics and Protestants. Haarlem becomes the center of an intense Protestant cultural activity animated in the 1620s by Samuel Ampzing.
A tireless pamphleteer, Ampzing is also a theorist promoting purism in poetry in order to avoid using words of foreign origin. Much committed in the artistic life of Haarlem, he knows Hals, orders to Saenredam the topographical illustrations of the city and does not omit to support Claesz and Heda.
A painter of vanities from his beginnings, Pieter Claesz is interested in light. He develops his art around a geometry that must be faultless, with the whole complexity of the more or less intense reflection on glass or pewter along with the refraction through glass and liquid. The reflective surfaces reveal the out of field origin of the light rays.
From 1627 Claesz and Heda innovate simultaneously by a dramatic restriction of the color palette, in a trend that was already tested by landscape painters. Claesz is considered as the pioneer of this style in still life but Ampzing equally acclaims in 1628 both artists of whom it is difficult to identify whether they were friends or competitors.
On July 6 in London, Sotheby's sells a still life of breakfast painted in 1629 by Claesz, oil on panel 45 x 61 cm, lot 15 estimated £ 1.8M. He positioned on the table a big roemer half full of wine, a laid Venice-style glass and several tin plates. The only bright color is the yellow of the lemons. Some green olives complement the composition.
This painting was unsold in 2016.
It was sold for $ 2.53M including premium by Sotheby's in New York on January 30, 2019, over a lower estimate of $ 700K, lot 22.
I did not understand before the 2019 sale that it was the same artwork.
1629 Fruit Baskets by Louyse Moillon
2016 SOLD for € 1.14M including premium
Louyse's widowed mother remarries in 1620 with the painter François Garnier. Louyse completes her apprenticeship with François, emphasizing the theme of the fruit basket. Louyse was precociously gifted and it is likely that these two young people who were only ten years old apart have influenced each other.
On 27 June 2013, Sotheby's sold for € 1,03M including premium an oil on panel 51 x 71 cm signed by Louyse Moillon, dated 1629, showing peaches in a basket of china. The artist was not yet 20 years old. The catalog stated that it was her earliest dated work. She was undoubtedly in her own right a pioneer of still life in France.
A basket of quetsches (plums) by Louyse, 40 x 52 cm, of same technique and same date, resurfaced. It is estimated € 450K for sale by Sotheby's in Paris on June 16, lot 24.
Fruits and basket are different but the composition is similar, centered with a geometric rigor. Fruits are accumulated without individuality, which is a notable difference from the still lifes of flowers and enables to concentrate the artistic care onto the texture. The subtle shades of the plums and the velvety surface of the peaches reach a realism that anticipates Chardin by a century.
I do not think that we should attribute this strict style to the Calvinist austerity. On the following year, Louyse tried larger formats where multiple baskets are displayed or accompanied by a young woman. However, by their simplicity and effectiveness, these paintings from 1629 that were more likely her modelli appear as the masterpieces of the artist.
1630 Saint Martin by Jordaens
2016 SOLD for $ 4.7M by Sotheby's
In 1628, Jordaens is honored to be chosen with Rubens and van Dyck as one of three painters of church altars for the Augustinian church in Antwerp. Each artist makes a separate work but their simultaneous execution brings some overall homogeneity.
Following this success, Jordaens is commissioned in 1630 for an altar piece in the Benedictine monastery of St Martin in Tournai, on the theme of exorcism.
Preparatory drawings are known. One of them, associated with the beginning of the creative process, is arranged around a diagonal pointing to the healing saint. This design is directly inspired by a miracle painted ten years before by Rubens. The baroque crowd is holding the possessed man in the lower part of the image.
An oil on canvas 122 x 87 cm dated 1630 and consistent with this first drawing has just surfaced. It was sold for $ 4.7M from a lower estimate of $ 4M by Sotheby's on January 28, 2016, lot 27. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The Benedictines were demanding about the compliance of the images with their religious interpretation of the stories and this version with a stiff and domineering saint did not suit their purpose. In the version that was finally accepted for the monastery, St Martin is leaning over the crowd. The painting for sale is probably a modello made to facilitate the choice of the composition by the patrons.
An analysis by infrared reflectography shows that the face of one of the assistants of the saint, which resembles another portrait of one of the leading monks of that monastery, overpainted a younger head. It opens the interesting hypothesis that the artist hoped a new order benefiting from his preliminary work, more spectacular and closer to Rubens.
1630 View in Haarlem at the Time of Frans Hals
2016 SOLD for $ 3M including premium
The Protestant publicist Samuel Ampzing desires to promote his beloved city by a praise in verse with engravings. He entrusts the illustrations to Pieter Saenredam and Jan van de Velde. Saenredam is a great choice for such a job. Passionate about architecture and perspective, he is one of the first artists to focus on meticulously realistic views of the monuments. Ampzing's Beschrijvinge is published in 1628.
To prepare his paintings, Saenredam executes with an abundance of details his drawings which he will transpose onto the panel before applying the color. His care for accuracy, probably unique in his time, enables to attribute a date to some of his works.
On January 28 in New York, Sotheby's sells a view of the Haarlem Town Hall by Saenredam, oil on panel 40 x 50 cm, lot 48estimated $ 2.5M. This view cannot be earlier than the book of Ampzing or subsequent to 1630 when a major renovation of the facade removed the stairs and statues in Palladian Renaissance style still in place at the center of the image.
This artwork is not only a realistic view of Haarlem at the time of Frans Hals. To please his Protestant friends who were elected burgomasters in 1630, Saenredam conceived it as a history painting glorifying the entrance of Maurits in the town twelve years earlier. The artist had decidedly little interest in the characters and had men and horses painted by Pieter Post.
In the rest of his career, Saenredam mostly exploits his talent for geometric accuracy in his views of church interiors.
Nevertheless a view of his native village of Assendelft painted in 1634 anticipates by his non-narrative theme the art of Berckheyde, a quarter century later, that opened the path for the Vedutism of the following century. This oil on panel 36 x 49 cm unique for its time was sold for £ 3.7 million including premium by Christie's on July 3, 2012 over a lower estimate of £ 400K.
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
1633 Still Life by Heda
2015 SOLD for £ 2.95M by Sotheby's
1635 Portrait in an Oval
The portrait itself is framed in a painted oval, a trompe l'oeil which brings an illusion of depth. Another example is a self-portrait painted in 1634 by Rembrandt, sold for £ 7M including premium by Sotheby's on July 10, 2003.
Half of the face is in shadow, a fancy used for outdoor portraits, with an exaggeration from the strict rules of geometry. Another example is the self-portrait painted by Rembrandt in 1632, which will be sold at lot 12 in the same auction.
Black is a symbol of luxury for clothing and is widely used by painters for aristocratic garments and for backgrounds. It contributes to the post-Caravaggian taste and is used extensively by Hals but also by Velazquez and Ribera.
The character is not identified but his age is indicated. If he was the commissioner of the work, there was no risk of confusion in his time. This man is 50 years old. Another example is the 62-year-old woman in the oval portrait painted by Rembrandt in 1632, sold for £ 20M including premium by Christie's on December 13, 2000.
The oval portrait that comes for sale had long been attributed to Hals, but experts were in doubt. It has resurfaced recently, with overpaints that softened the contrast between the two sides of the face and with a yellowed varnish.
Its restoration revealed pentimenti which definitively authenticate it. The entire surface was painted with the master's quick and flexible brushwork. Interestingly the hand-held gloves, which are a common feature in Hals' work, are a last minute autograph addition in this specific painting.
Discover the story behind this dashing portrait by Dutch master, Frans #Hals, which was recently rediscovered having been unseen and unconsidered by scholars for nearly half a century. https://t.co/ro0Aq5QELk #RembrandttoRichter #SothebysMasters pic.twitter.com/PMRZLyTQnL— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) July 13, 2020
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.
1640 The Dawn of English Painting
2016 SOLD for £ 1.1M including premium
Art is honored during the reign of Charles I who appointed Van Dyck in 1632 to the new position of Principal Painter in Ordinary of the King. The royal collections are huge and abound in Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese. The young William certainly accessed them. He is the first English born artist who may claim to equal the great masters. The civil war will decide otherwise.
On July 6 in London, Bonhams sells a self-portrait by William Dobson, oil on canvas 62 x 47 cm, lot 14 estimated £ 200K.
Dobson does not practice flattery and throughout his short career his portraits and self-portraits are ruthless. From 1643, his figures of royalist aristocrats gathered in Oxford to withstand the Puritans are a scathing testimony of this poorly documented phase of the English history.
The self-portrait for sale shows the head of a young man in full front with a thick mustache, a fleshy mouth and eyes wide open on a straight gaze. The lighting of the face on a tenebrist background akin to Velazquez accentuates the shininess of a skin that may be too fat. Dobson has no need of the influence of Van Dyck to create his own style.
This work executed in a heavy impasto is not yet affected by the shortage of materials characterizing his most prolific period at Oxford. It was probably painted in 1640 or slightly before and is one of the earliest examples of the art of William Dobson.
Please watch the video shared by Bonhams. The image is also made available on Wikimedia 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.
>1643 Christ Enfant by Le Nain
2018 SOLD for € 3.6M by Rouillac
It shows the young Christ in his age of awareness, kneeling in front of the symbols of the Passion. He is dressed in a wide white tunic, symbol of purity. The evening light is mystical.
This previously unknown image adds a new theme to the Christian iconography. The engraver Wierix who died in 1619 had published the image of a young adult saint in the same attitude. No image of Christ at that age in that role was known up to now. A little later Murillo will be one of the very few artists to consider the pre-adolescence of Christ but in less mystical attitudes. We also knew a newborn Christ sleeping on the cross.
The role of Christ is played on this Le Nain painting by a young boy of about twelve or thirteen with a beautiful childish face, fair skin and blond hair. This very recognizable healthy child appears at various ages in works by Le Nain, as an angel and then as a young peasant.
The small size of this painting indicates that it was made for a private devotional use. It is difficult to appreciate why no similar example is known, especially since it is well matching the new trends of the Counter-Reformation considering that the life of Christ must be analyzed as a whole. On this point the presentiment of sad Madonnas by Botticelli is a precedent.
Le Nain has treated here the age of wisdom when Christ understands and accepts his destiny for the first time. The same passage is important for the kings of France who are assisted by a regency until the age of 13 years. From 1643 to 1651 King Louis XIV is a minor. Once the king has begun his personal reign, it is possible that the boy Christ had a decreasing appeal to the customers of the only survivor of the Le Nain brothers.
This painting of l'Enfant Jésus méditant sur les instruments de la Passion was sold for € 3.6M from a lower estimate of € 1M to be sold by Rouillac on June 10, 2018, lot 60. This work had been classified as Trésor National.
Please read the essay prepared by Rouillac which contains many convincing illustrations to demonstrate the importance of the artwork.
Découverte : Commissaires-priseurs dénicheurs de trésors dans les caves et les greniers de France, les @RouillacSas ont mis la main sur la toile "Le Christ enfant méditant sur la Croix" des frères Le Nain ! Vente prévue le 10 juin au château d’Artigny.— Quotidien de l'Art (@Quotidiendelart) March 16, 2018
Courtesy: Rouillac pic.twitter.com/iZ8bjj03vf
1645 The Wine Harvest by Teniers
2020 SOLD for £ 3.65M by Sotheby's
The story is read from left to right. The grapes brought by the pickers wait in the workshop of the coopers. The old winegrower presents the wine-tasting to the merchant. The villagers form a happy company, gathered around a table. Some are already drunk. Further on, the procession brandishes torches in front of the temple of Bacchus.
The artist has taken care to show with precision the processes and tools of this activity. The merchant, who occupies exactly the central position of the foreground, was certainly the commissioner of the work. The young woman, who looks after three young children and keeps the money bags without worrying about the villagers, is his wife.
Teniers never missed an opportunity to fit himself somewhere in his compositions. He is there, in the middle distance, as a merry drinker who annoys the dog. He is about 35 years old. All elements match for a date around 1645.
Kept as a treasure for 240 years in an English aristocratic family, this painting was sold for £ 3.65M from a lower estimated of £ 3M for sale by Sotheby's on December 10, 2020, lot 12. The title used in its last exhibition in 1881, Worship of Bacchus, suited the Victorian sensibility. It is now The Wine Harvest.
1646 La Fillette au Braisier by Georges de La Tour
2020 SOLD for € 4.3M by Lempertz
A portrait of Saint James the Greater painted circa 1620 for the Albi cathedral was sold for $ 3.23M by Sotheby's on January 24, 2008 from a lower estimate of $ 1.5M, lot 80.
The work of La Tour, revealed in 1915 by Hermann Voss, is famous with the general public by the visibility of the light source, most often a candle. This signature style was developed late, after 1635, with his series of the Penitent Magdalene.
Another source of light is the braising pan. In the dark of the kitchens, the women need it to prepare the meal. The fire smolders in this stove in the form of orange or red amber, and is maintained by stirring or blowing. The potager is a similar instrument where the fire is enclosed to protect the cook from ashes and tar. La Tour is the son of bakers, and the braisier is probably also a childhood memory.
On December 8, 2020, Lempertz sold for € 4.3M from a lower estimate of 3M La Fillette au braisier, oil on canvas 76 x 55 cm including a strip added at the top of the image, lot 11. It is dated around 1646 by Pierre Rosenberg and is the only late Nocturne by La Tour in private hands.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The peasant girl, seen in profile, blows while collecting a piece of amber. She gives her full attention to this ordinary occupation. The composition is very delicate in its simplicity, without superfluous information on the surrounding of this night scene. This painting may have been a pendant with a young boy blowing glass, two versions of which have been authenticated.
1646 The Divine Light
On January 28 in New York, Sotheby's sells a 16 x 21 cm oil on panel painted in 1646 by Rembrandt on the theme of Abraham and the Angels, lot 9 estimated $ 20M. It illustrates as on a theater stage the announcement to Abraham that Sarah will have a son by him within the year, Genesis 18: 1-15. The image is shared by Wikimedia. Please watch the video shared by Sotheby's.
The sketched line and the small size call for a comparison with the master's mystical etchings, but this image has not been printed by the artist. The painting was sold soon after its creation to a dealer. It will later inspire a more classic composition by Ferdinand Bol.
In front of his oak tree, Abraham welcomes three travelers to whom he presents the pitcher and the basin for the washing of the feet. The night scene is positioned at the precise moment when the guests reveal that they are angels by spreading their wings. In this twilight, all the light emanates from the central angel, a blond young man, ready to reveal that he is God.
This extract from Genesis is a perfect description of the obligation of hospitality in Biblical antiquity. Rembrandt has put together all the symbols, not forgetting Sarah who is waiting for orders on the doorstep, nor the "tender and good" calf that will be prepared for dinner. This assembly is nice. In the Bible, the Lord gently mocks the confusion of the old woman. In Rembrandt's interpretation, He is comfortably seated for a snack.
In 2007 Lucian Freud lived for three months with this painting. He concluded that he could not match Rembrandt.
< 1650 Madonna of the Rosary by Murillo
2022 SOLD for € 1.16M by Lempertz
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, was sold for € 1.16M by Lempertz on May 21, 2022, lot 2077. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
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.