Rare Madonna and Child by Mabuse heads Up Koller’s March 28, 2014 Zurich Old Masters sale
UPDATED with sale results.
The March 28, 2104 sale of Old Masters at Koller in Zurich includes a Madonna and Child by Jan Gossaert, known as Mabuse, a capably wrought triptych by a 16th century follower of that great Netherlandish genius Rogier Van Der Weyden, the exterior wings of a a triptych by the Master of the Holy Kinship, and a Hermit Praying by Gerrit Dou. There’s also a bizarre set of four paintings depicting some of Aesop’s Fables by Jan van Kessel the Elder (estimated at CHF150,000-200 000 or € 123,000-164 000), a so-so Pieter de Hooch of musicians (estimated at CHF 90,000-120,000 or € 75 000-100,000), six painting by Jakob Philipp Hackert including two pendants, the landscapes View of the Chateau Gaillard and the Seine and View on ruins of a river (estimated at CHF 120,000-180,000 or €100,000-150,000) and the seascapes Coastal landscape near Vietri, 1776 and A shipwreck (estimated at CHF 200,000-300,000 or €166,670-250,000), and others.
The Mabuse is one of approximately 60 works by this artist accepted as autograph. This work is a recent addition having been deemed authentic by Maryan Ainsworth, author of the artist’s catalogue raisonné and curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance. According to the Met, that exhibition brought “together the majority of Gossart’s paintings, drawings, and prints, and place[d] them in the context of the influences on his transformation from Late Gothic Mannerism to the new Renaissance mode.” We’ll see what the market says. The painting last been sold at auction at Christie’s in London, July 10, 2002, Lot 97 as “Studio of Gossaert“ (selling for £41,825 or $64,829).
I have long thought that if we did not know the artist’s identity, he might plausibly have been titled the “Master of the Double Jointed Madonnas” (in the vein of the Master of the Female Half-Lengths and similar monikers), because of his strange rendering of physiognomy (the National Gallery of Art’s Madonna and Child of 1532 is a prime example. Exactly what is going on with her left arm? It’s a peculiar painting).
According to the lot notes, this is one of only two known Gossaert’s depicting the Madonna and Child in private hands. Here’s more from Koller’s entry:
“Jan Gossaert, also called Mabuse after his birthplace Maubeuge in Hennegau, counts as one of the outstanding painters of the Renaissance north of the Alps. His work combines the tradition of early Netherlandish painting from Jan van Eyck to Memling with the artistic achievements of the Italian Renaissance and transforms them into an ideal synthesis of the highest perfection. Gossaert, who was active in the first third of the 16th century, completed both religious as well as secular paintings, which he created for the major patrons of his day. Thus Gossaert entered into the service of Philip of Burgundy and followed him in 1508/09 to Italy, where he came to terms with the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.”
“The composition … depicts the Mother of God in front of a late-Gothic architectonic throne, part filigree and part solid stone, with the infant Jesus sitting before her on green velvet. Each is turned towards the viewer in a frontal pose. While
“Mary assumes a contemplative attitude, gazing downward and embracing her child protectively, the Christ Child through his expansive gestures and direct eye contact, engages the attention of the viewer, and his childlike exuberance is expressed affectionately.”
The center panel of this triptych is based on a Pietà by Rogier van der Weyden in Brussels from 1441 (below).
According to the sale catalogue:
“[This] Annunciation with Saints Bartholomew and Peter [was] once part of a substantial altarpiece that originally graced the Catholic parish church of St. Martin in Richterich, Aachen … The altarpiece was divided by 1862, when the central panel with the Crucifixion of Christ was transferred to the Brussels collection of the Musées des Beaux-Arts Royaux de Belgique (inv. no. 1498). The wings (interior and exterior) moved through several private German collections and were sold separately first in 1978 at a London auction … The inner panels then entered the Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington (inv. nos 78.62.1 and 78.62.2), so that [these] paintings … are the last privately owned pieces of this important altarpiece.
“The master [whose identity remains unknown] was among the most important Cologne painters of the Gothic period and was active in the last quarter of the 15th and first quarter of the 16th century. His method comes out of the Cologne tradition embodied by Stephan Lochner (ca. 1400-1451), and is also influenced by Flemish masters such as Rogier van der Weyden (ca. 1400-1464), Justus van Gent (ca. 1410-1480) or Hugo van der Goes (ca. 1440-1482).”
Apparently there are few known works by Jacobsz. who was influenced by Jan van Scorel (1498 – 1562). The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam has a similarly-themed and more accomplished vanitas painting of Pompeius Occo (below). The handling of the paint is much broader and less detailed in the Koller picture – see the treatment of the fur, skull parapet, facial features, and landscape, which is pretty much the entire work.
This beautifully rendered work by Dumonstier, who along with his brother Etienne was a student of François Clouet, depicts 30-year-old French nobleman and admiral Bernard de Nogaret de La Valette (1553 – 1592). It is exquisite.
According to the sale catalogue:
“This painting … by Gerrit Dou, discovered in a Swiss private collection, [was examined firsthand by art historian ] Ronni Baer …and she confirms that it is the one she lists in her catalogue raisonné of 1990 as no. 119 … At that time it was known to her only through a black-and-white photograph.
“The painting was once in the collection of the Kurfürstlichen Galerie, Alte Pinakothek, before it was transferred in 1935 to the collection of the Stadtresidenz in Landshut and was then passed on to the art dealer Dr. Plietzsch in Berlin in an exchange of 1938 (written confirmation from the Alte Pinakothek is available). Through the Dutch art trade the painting then came eventually to Switzerland and” is being sold from a private collection.