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Going Dutch … Old Masters at Auction

December 5, 2011

UPDATED WITH SALE RESULTS

This week’s Evening Sales of Old Master Paintings at Sotheby’s and Christie’s sees the best material by Dutch and Flemish artists, and a paucity of winners in the “gold grounds” department.  That said, we’ll start with Sotheby’s whose sale opens with three “gold grounds.”

Here are some lots from the December 7 Evening sale at Sotheby’s (complete catalogue here):

Lot 2. BERNARDO DADDI ACTIVE IN FLORENCE CIRCA 1320 TO 1348 THE CENTRAL PANEL OF A TABERNACLE: THE MADONNA AND CHILD ENTHRONED FLANKED BY FOUR ANGELS AND SAINTS JOHN THE BAPTIST AND PETER tempera on panel, gold ground, shaped top painted surface: 35 by 19 cm.; 13 3/4 by 7 1/2 in.; overall: 40.5 by 22.8 cm.; 16 by 9 in. ESTIMATE 400,000-600,000 GBP UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £433,250.

WIthout seeing this painting in actuality it’s hard to assess whether this is “remarkably preserved” as the auction catalogue claims.  From the photograph it appears the varnish is discolored. Hard to know the condition of the paint surface.  This is the central panel of a triptych, whose side panels still exist though there current location is unknown.

Lot 10. LUCAS CRANACH II WITTENBERG 1515 - 1586 PORTRAIT OF A LADY, THREE-QUARTER LENGTH, IN A GREEN VELVET AND ORANGE DRESS AND A PEARL-EMBROIDERED BLACK HAT oil on panel 61.6 by 39.4 cm.; 24 1/4 by 15 1/2 in. ESTIMATE 800,000-1,200,000 GBP. UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £1,385,250.

This painting last appeared in “London, Christie’s, 5 July 2007, lot 48, [selling] for $3,656,912, there purchased by, Colnaghi, London, from whom purchased by the present collector.”   At an estimate of £800,000-1,200,000, you can’t call the discount from the 2007 sale price a “fire sale” … still, someone is potentially taking a bath.

Lot 12. CLOSE ASSOCIATE OF ADAM ELSHEIMER, CIRCA 1610 ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST IN THE WILDERNESS oil on copper 21 by 16.3 cm.; 8 1/4 by 6 3/8 in. ESTIMATE 60,000-80,000 GBP. UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £313,250.

Lot 16. DAVID TENIERS THE YOUNGER ANTWERP 1610 - 1690 BRUSSELS A GUARDROOM SCENE WITH TRIC-TRAC PLAYERS IN THE FOREGROUND signed and dated lower left: D.TENIERS.Ff/ AN(in ligature) 1647 oil on copper 40 by 51 cm.; 15 3/4 by 20 1/8 in. ESTIMATE 400,000-600,000 GBP. UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £481,250.

Lot 17. JAN HAVICKSZ. STEEN LEIDEN 1626 - 1679 AN ELEGANT COMPANY IN AN INTERIOR WITH FIGURES PLAYING CARDS AT A TABLE signed lower left: JS(in ligature)teen oil on single plank oak panel 45.8 by 60.3 cm.; 18 by 23 3/4 in. ESTIMATE 4,500,000-6,000,000 GBP. UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £4,857,250.

Lot 18. JACOB ISAACKSZ. VAN RUISDAEL HAARLEM 1628/9 - 1682 AMSTERDAM A DUNE LANDSCAPE WITH A FARMER ON A SANDY ROAD, AND A DISTANT VIEW OF HAARLEM signed and dated lower right: JvRuisdael 1647 (JvR in compendium) oil on oak panel, three planks 69.3 by 91 cm.; 27 1/4 by 35 1/4 in. ESTIMATE 1,200,000-1,600,000 GBP. UPDATE - This lot failed to sell.

Lot 38. JOHANN ZOFFANY R.A. FRANKFURT 1733 - 1810 LONDON THE GARDEN AT HAMPTON HOUSE, WITH MR AND MRS DAVID GARRICK TAKING TEA; AND THE SHAKESPEARE TEMPLE AT HAMPTON HOUSE, WITH MR AND MRS DAVID GARRICK 2.0 a pair, both oil on canvas, held in their original eighteenth century carved and gilded Carlo Maratta frames, with early nineteenth century aggrandisements each 99.7 by 125cm.; 39 ¼ by 49 ¼ in. ESTIMATE 6,000,000-8,000,000 GBP. UPDATE - Sale price including buyer's premium: £6,761,250.

Here are some images from the December 6 Evening sale at Christie’s — the first three Dutch paintings coming from a single collection (complete catalogue here):

Lot 8. Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-1685)A lawyer seated at a table reading a letter signed and dated: 'AV.Ostade 1666' ('AV' linked, lower right on the letter)oil on panel 11 x 9 in. (27.9 x 22.8 cm.). Estimate (Set Currency) £500,000 - £700,000 ($776,500 - $1,087,100). UPDATE - This lot sold for £700,000, or £825,250 ($1,287,390) including the buyer's premium.

Lot 9. Willem van de Velde II (Leiden 1633-1707 London)Dutch men-o'-war and other shipping in a calm signed 'willem:van velde f' (lower centre, on the rowing boat) oil on canvas 34 x 47 in. (86.3 x 119.3 cm.) Estimate (Set Currency) £1,500,000 - £2,500,000 ($2,329,500 - $3,882,500). UPDATE - This lot sold for £5,250,000, or £5,921,250 ($9,237,150) including the buyer's premium.

Lot 10. Nicolaes Maes (Dordrecht 1632-1693 Amsterdam) An old woman reading by a spinning wheel signed and dated '.N. MAES. 1658' (centre) oil on canvas 19 3/8 x 23 3/8 in. (49.2 x 59.3 cm.) Estimate (Set Currency) £1,000,000 - £1,500,000 ($1,553,000 - $2,329,500). UPDATE - This lot failed to sell.

Lot 13. Govaert Flinck (Cleves 1615-1660 Amsterdam) An old man at a casement signed and dated 'G.Flinck f. 1646' (lower left); and inscribed with the Imperial Hermitage inventory number '3654' (lower left) oil on panel 27½ x 23¼ in. (70.5 x 60 cm.) with several red wax seals bearing the monogram 'XJ' or the Cyrillic letters 'XX', of a design probably dating from circa 1860-1870 (on the reverse). Estimate (Set Currency) £700,000 - £1,000,000 ($1,087,100 - $1,553,000). UPDATE - This lot sold for £2,050,000, or £2,337,250 ($3,646,110) including the buyer's premium.

Lot 17. Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp) The Battle between Carnival and Lent oil on canvas 47 x 67 3/8 in. (119.4 x 171.2 cm.). Estimate (Set Currency) £3,500,000 - £4,500,000 ($5,435,500 - $6,988,500). UPDATE - This lot sold for £6,100,000, or £6,873,250 ($10, 722,270) including the buyer's premium.

There are Brughels and Brueghels and every season another handful come tumbling out of the sky.  This painting is a joy.

Lot 17 Detail

Lot 17 Detail

Lot 18. Taddeo di Bartolo (Siena ?1362/3-1422) The Resurrection on gold ground panel 13½ x 13 3/8 in. (34.1 x 33.7 cm.). Estimate (Set Currency) £300,000 - £500,000 ($465,900 - $776,500). UPDATE - This lot opened at £100,000 and "bidding" stopped at £150,000. This lot failed to sell.

This is a particularly handsome predella panel.  The lower half locks a bit beaten up, but the upper part looks quite nice, particularly the face of the Risen Christ, the schematic treatment of the rocks and the vegetation.  The punch work of the halo is very effective and demonstratively straightforward.

Lot 24. Jacopo Carucci, called Pontormo (Pontormo 1494-1556 Florence) The Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John the Baptist oil on panel 29½ x 23½ in. (74.9 x 59.6 cm.). Estimate (Set Currency) £800,000 - £1,200,000 ($1,242,400 - $1,863,600). UPDATE - This lot opened at £320,00 and "bidding" stopped at £410,000. This lot failed to sell. There were no real bids and tellingly the reserve was slightly above half the low estimate. This picture is about as shopped out as they come.

This painting has kicking around for quite some time … maybe on its last legs.

Lot 27. Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (Fuendetodos 1746-1828 Bordeaux) Portrait of Don Juan López de Robredo, Embroiderer to King Carlos IV of Spain, seated, half-length, holding an embroidery design oil on canvas 42 5/8 x 32 3/8 in. (108.3 x 82.3 cm.) Estimate (Set Currency) £4,000,000 - £6,000,000 ($6,212,000 - $9,318,000). UPDATE - This lot opened at £2,800,000 and "bidding" stopped at £3,400,000. This lot failed to sell - an expensive failure.

Lot 28. Andrea Soldi (Florence c. 1703-1771 London) Portrait of a gentleman, possibly Richard Salwey, half-length, in a fur-trimmed red coat and a turban, leaning on a plinth signed and dated 'And: Soldi f: Le 1733' (lower left) oil on canvas 36 5/8 x 29½ in. (93 x 75 cm.) Estimate (Set Currency) £80,000 - £120,000 ($125,440 - $188,160). UPDATE - This lot sold for £700,000, or £825,250 ($1,287,390) including the buyer's premium.

I couldn’t imagine living with this painting, though I find it very entertaining.  I suppose this is in the “Oriental” style and there’s probably a similar themed room in the old family manse.

Lot 36 Thomas Gainsborough, R.A. (Sudbury, Suffolk 1727-1788 London) Portrait of Philip Stanhope, 5th Earl of Chesterfield (1755-1815), full-length, in a scarlet coat and buff breeches, holding a black hat and stick in his left hand, with his dog in a landscape oil on canvas 87 x 62 in. (221 x 157.5 cm.) Estimate (Set Currency) £2,500,000 - £3,500,000 ($3,920,000 - $5,488,000). UPDATE - This lot opened at £1,200,000 and sold way below the low estimate for £1,900,000, or £2,169,250 ($3,384,030) including the buyer's premium.

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