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High priced Raphael and Steen lead Sotheby’s Dec. 2012 Old Masters sale – UPDATED with sale results

December 4, 2012
Lot 52. RAFFAELLO SANZIO, CALLED RAPHAELURBINO 1483 - 1520 ROME HEAD OF A YOUNG APOSTLE Estimate: 10,000,000 - 15,000,000 GBP  Black chalk over pounced, dotted outlines 375 by 278 mm

Lot 52. RAFFAELLO SANZIO, CALLED RAPHAEL
URBINO 1483 – 1520 ROME
HEAD OF A YOUNG APOSTLE
Estimate: 10,000,000 – 15,000,000 GBP
Black chalk over pounced, dotted outlines
375 by 278 mm This lot sold for £29,721,250 (including the buyer’s premium).

UPDATE – The Raphael drawing was the highlight of Sotheby’s £58,061,500 evening sale of Old Masters, soaring past its £10-15 million estimate to reach  £29,721,250 (including the buyer’s premium – nearly $47.9 million),  following 17 minutes of bidding according to the New York Times. Bloomberg has additional information about the sale. Sotheby’s has also released a video with highlights from the sale. The Telegraph’s Colin Gleadell has a very good write up of the Sotheby’s and Christie’s sales.

ORIGINAL POST – Sotheby’s Dec. 2012 Old Masters sale has plenty of lots with multi-million pound estimates (unlike arch rival Christie’s). The sale’s big get is the final lot of this 51-lot sale, a Raphael drawing of the head of an apostle from the collection at the venerable and archetypal English Country House, Chatsworth.  Other Chatsworth lots include sets of 15th century Netherlandish illuminated manuscripts.

Sale highlights include this Pieter Brueghel the Younger wedding procession.

Lot 12. PIETER BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGERBRUSSELS 1564 - 1637/8 ANTWERP A WEDDING PROCESSION Estimate: 2,000,000 - 3,000,000 GBP  signed and dated lower right: .P.BREVGHEL.1627. oil on oak panel 75 by 120.7 cm.; 29 1/2 by 47 1/2 ins.

Lot 12. PIETER BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER
BRUSSELS 1564 – 1637/8 ANTWERP
A WEDDING PROCESSION
Estimate: 2,000,000 – 3,000,000 GBP
signed and dated lower right: .P.BREVGHEL.1627.
oil on oak panel
75 by 120.7 cm.; 29 1/2 by 47 1/2 ins. This lot failed to sell.

The very severe Steen carries a rather bombastic estimate:

Lot 9. JAN HAVICKSZ. STEENLEIDEN 1626 - 1679 THE PRAYER BEFORE THE MEAL Estimate:     5,000,000 - 7,000,000 GBP  signed and dated on the placard on the back wall below the inscription: JAN STEEN 1660 inscribed on the placard:- Drie dingen wensch ick en niet meer. Voor al te minnen Godt den heer, Maar wens om tgeen de wijste badt Een eerlyck leven op dit dal- In deze drie bestaet het al. oil on oak panel 52.7 by 44.5 cm.; 20 1/4  by 17 1/2  in.

Lot 9. JAN HAVICKSZ. STEEN
LEIDEN 1626 – 1679
THE PRAYER BEFORE THE MEAL
Estimate: 5,000,000 – 7,000,000 GBP
signed and dated on the placard on the back wall below the inscription: JAN STEEN 1660
inscribed on the placard:-
Drie dingen wensch ick en niet meer.
Voor al te minnen Godt den heer,
Maar wens om tgeen de wijste badt
Een eerlyck leven op dit dal-
In deze drie bestaet het al.
oil on oak panel
52.7 by 44.5 cm.; 20 1/4 by 17 1/2 in. This lot sold for £5,641,250 (£5 million hammer price plus buyer’s premium).

According to the lot notes, the saying on the placard translates as the following: “Three things I desire and no more/ Above all to love God the Father/ Not to covet an abundance of riches/ But to desire what the wisest prayed for/ An honest life in this vale/ In these three all is based”  There is a video about the picture (if you’re so inclined).

Also on deck are four paintings from a passion cycle by the peripatetic 14th century Italian artist Niccolo di Pietro Gerini.  They’re large (each about 3 by 3 feet), on linen (a rarity according to the catalogue), and intricately detailed.

Lot 16. NICCOLÒ DI PIETRO GERINIACTIVE IN FLORENCE, PISA AND PRATO BETWEEN 1366 - CIRCA 1414/15 SCENES FROM THE PASSION OF CHRIST: PETER PROTESTING AT CHRIST WASHING THE FEET OF THE DISCIPLES; THE BETRAYAL OF CHRIST IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE (OR THE KISS OF JUDAS); THE MOCKING OF CHRIST; THE FLAGELLATION Estimate: 800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP  Quantity: 4 a set of four, all tempera with gold and (degraded) silver leaf on linen canvas (in order) 95.5 by 101 cm.; 37 5/8  by 39 3/4  in.; 95.5 by 100 cm.; 37 5/8  by 39 3/8  in.; 89.5 by 92 cm.; 35 1/4  by 36 1/4  in.; 89.5 by 91.5 cm.; 35 1/4  by 36 in.

Lot 16. NICCOLÒ DI PIETRO GERINI
ACTIVE IN FLORENCE, PISA AND PRATO BETWEEN 1366 – CIRCA 1414/15
SCENES FROM THE PASSION OF CHRIST: PETER PROTESTING AT CHRIST WASHING THE FEET OF THE DISCIPLES; THE BETRAYAL OF CHRIST IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE (OR THE KISS OF JUDAS); THE MOCKING OF CHRIST; THE FLAGELLATION
Estimate: 800,000 – 1,200,000 GBP
Quantity: 4
a set of four, all tempera with gold and (degraded) silver leaf on linen canvas
(in order) 95.5 by 101 cm.; 37 5/8 by 39 3/4 in.; 95.5 by 100 cm.; 37 5/8 by 39 3/8 in.; 89.5 by 92 cm.; 35 1/4 by 36 1/4 in.; 89.5 by 91.5 cm.; 35 1/4 by 36 in. This lot sold for £1,105,250 (including the buyer’s premium).

According to the catalogue:

These four paintings are the only known surviving examples of an Italian 14th-century narrative cycle painted on a linen fabric support. They almost certainly formed part of a larger series representing The Passion of Christ. The scenes from the Passion were normally depicted either as single, separate subjects or as cycles of consecutive scenes; their portrayal made popular in the 13th century by the Franciscan and Dominican orders. The Passion is thought to begin with The Entry of Christ into Jerusalem and to end with The Descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost, with interim scenes consisting of any of the following; The Last Supper, Christ Washing the Feet, The Agony in the Garden, The Betrayal of Christ, The Denial of Saint Peter, The Trial of Christ, The Mocking of Christ, The Flagellation, The Crowning with Thorns, Ecce Homo, Christ on the Road to Calvary, The Stations of the Cross, Christ stripped of His Garments, The Raising of the Cross, The Crucifixion, The Descent from the Cross, The Pietà, Bearing the Body of Christ, The Entombment, The Descent of Christ into Limbo, The Resurrection, The Holy Women at the Sepulchre, Christ appearing to His mother, Noli me tangere, the Road to Emmaus, The Supper at Emmaus, The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, and The Ascension. Since the number of episodes varies greatly from one cycle to another, it is difficult to ascertain how many paintings there may have been in the series to which these four canvases originally belonged and no other canvases from the series have come to light. Although individually they are four of the most frequently depicted subjects – Christ washing the Feet of the DisciplesThe Betrayal of Christ (or The Kiss of Judas)The Mocking of Christ and The Flagellation - the proximity in the chronology of the last two scenes would suggest that it is unlikely that the canvases stood alone, without being part of a larger decorative and iconographic scheme.

For those needing a buccolic image of pre-embankment Rome, Vanvitelli has just the image:

Lot 29. GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLIAMERSFOORT 1652/3 - 1736 ROME ROME, A VIEW OF THE RIVER TIBER AT THE PORTO DELLA LEGNA LOOKING TOWARDS CASTEL SANT’ANGELO, WITH SAINT PETER’S BASILICA IN THE DISTANCE Estimate: 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 GBP  oil on canvas 52 by 102 cm.; 20 1/2  by 40 1/8  in.

Lot 29. GASPAR VAN WITTEL, CALLED VANVITELLI
AMERSFOORT 1652/3 – 1736 ROME
ROME, A VIEW OF THE RIVER TIBER AT THE PORTO DELLA LEGNA LOOKING TOWARDS CASTEL SANT’ANGELO, WITH SAINT PETER’S BASILICA IN THE DISTANCE
Estimate: 1,200,000 – 1,800,000 GBP
oil on canvas
52 by 102 cm.; 20 1/2 by 40 1/8 in. Bidding on this lot stopped at £950,000 and it failed to sell.

Also of interest:

Lot 33. HERRI MET DE BLESBOUVINES CIRCA 1510 - AFTER 1550 ANTWERP (?) AN EXTENSIVE ROCKY LANDSCAPE WITH THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT Estimate: 300,000 - 500,000 GBP  signed with the owl device lower centre oil on oak panel 44 by 74.3 cm.; 17 ¼ by 19 ¼ in.

Lot 33. HERRI MET DE BLES
BOUVINES CIRCA 1510 – AFTER 1550 ANTWERP (?)
AN EXTENSIVE ROCKY LANDSCAPE WITH THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT
Estimate: 300,000 – 500,000 GBP
signed with the owl device lower centre
oil on oak panel
44 by 74.3 cm.; 17 ¼ by 19 ¼ in. This lot sold for £361,250 (including the buyer’s premium).

Lot 47. BERNARDO BELLOTTOVENICE 1722 - 1780 WARSAW VENICE, THE GRAND CANAL: LOOKING SOUTH-WEST, FROM THE RIALTO BRIDGE TO THE PALAZZO FOSCARI Estimate: 1,200,000 - 1,800,000 GBP  oil on canvas 60 by 91.5 cm.; 23 5/8  by 36 in.

Lot 47. BERNARDO BELLOTTO
VENICE 1722 – 1780 WARSAW
VENICE, THE GRAND CANAL: LOOKING SOUTH-WEST, FROM THE RIALTO BRIDGE TO THE PALAZZO FOSCARI
Estimate: 1,200,000 – 1,800,000 GBP
oil on canvas
60 by 91.5 cm.; 23 5/8 by 36 in. This lot sold for £3,289,250 (hammer price of £2.9 million plus buyer’s premium).

Lot 7. BALTHASAR VAN DER ASTMIDDELBURG 1593/94 - 1657 DELFT A STILL LIFE OF FRUIT AND SHELLS WITH A ROSE AND VARIOUS INSECTS UPON A STONE LEDGE Estimate:   300,000 - 400,000 GBP  signed lower right: .B.vander.Ast oil on oak panel 36.5 by 50.5 cm.; 14 3/8  by 19 7/8  in.

Lot 7. BALTHASAR VAN DER AST
MIDDELBURG 1593/94 – 1657 DELFT
A STILL LIFE OF FRUIT AND SHELLS WITH A ROSE AND VARIOUS INSECTS UPON A STONE LEDGE
Estimate: 300,000 – 400,000 GBP
signed lower right: .B.vander.Ast
oil on oak panel
36.5 by 50.5 cm.; 14 3/8 by 19 7/8 in. This lot sold to £1,496,250 (including the buyer’s premium).

Lot 49. JOSEPH NICKOLLSBRITISH ACTIVE 1726 - 1755 VIEW OF THE STOCKS MARKET, LONDON Estimate: 150,000 - 250,000 GBP  indistinctly dated, centre left: 17... oil on canvas 63.5 by 76 cm.; 25 by 30 in.

Lot 49. JOSEPH NICKOLLS
BRITISH ACTIVE 1726 – 1755
VIEW OF THE STOCKS MARKET, LONDON
Estimate: 150,000 – 250,000 GBP
indistinctly dated, centre left: 17…
oil on canvas
63.5 by 76 cm.; 25 by 30 in. This lot failed to sell.

According to the lot notes:

The view depicted shows the old Stocks Market, on the site of modern day Mansion House and the Bank of England. Originally established for the sale of meat and fish during the reign of Edward I, prior to which a pair of stocks had stood on the site which gave the marketplace its name, by the early eighteenth century the market had mainly been given over to the sale of herbs. In the background can be seen the spire of St. Stephen’s Walbrook, whilst the centre foreground is dominated by the impressive marble equestrian statue which was originally intended as a monument to John Sobieski, the Polish king who saved Vienna from the Turks. The statue was altered soon after the Restoration by Jasper Latham, Sir Christopher Wren’s master mason, to depict Charles II trampling on the defeated Cromwell, and the Royal arms can be seen engraved in an escutcheon on the base. The market and the jumble of buildings surrounding it to the east of Poultry were cleared in 1738 to make way for the construction of Mansion House, designed by the architect George Dance. The market was moved to Farringdon Street, where it became known as Fleet Market, and the statue of Charles II, which had been donated to the parish of St. Stephen’s Walbrook by Sir Robert Viner, Lord Mayor of London, in 1672, was presented by the city to his descendant Robert Viner, and later removed to Newby Hall in Yorkshire. Below the mounted figure of the King the busy street life of London, with its coffee shops, food sellers, street hawkers and all the panoply of the city life is painted in minute and compelling detail. The figures give an idea of the whole spectrum of London society, from gentlemen of fashion and noblemen in their carriages, to the urban poor, domestic servants and street sellers, all depicted with a realism and characterisation that suggests Nickolls was inspired by the work of William Hogarth, with its complex interaction between high and low culture.

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