At Large  August 8, 2017

The Flemish and the Dutch Dominate

The noteworthy qualitative offering with Old Master and 19th century masters is strongly stamped by the Dutch and Flemish artists, enriched by Italian, French, Spanish and English artists. German masters are prominent with many works by Jacob Philipp Hackert (up to 160,000) and Oswald Aschenbach (up to 100,000). Highlights of the auction include a painting by Joos van Cleve (200/250,000) and a Madonna from the studio of Jan van Eyck (150/170,000).

Joos van Cleve crowns the works on offer with an oil on wood, 36 x 27 cm Portrait of a lady as Mary Magdalene, with an estimate of € 220/250,000. Van Cleve was one of the most important portrait painters of his time. At the same time, this Magdalene is an exception in that the painting masterfully combines sacral and worldly art in an unusually refined technique. In particular, Van Cleve has paid much attention to the face of the young woman. After 1520, as with this work, he favoured a neutral, dark background in order to accentuate the light, porcelain-like incarnate. From the elegance of the lady, one can assume she was a member of the Flemish aristocracy or royal court (lot 1007).

Four Panels with Scenes from the Life of St. Eustace, possibly painted in the late 1380s, are from Maestro di Campo Giove (Nicole Olivieri della Pietranziera?). Each measuring 40 x 32 cm depicting scenes from the Eustachius-Vita, they are elements from a large folding altarpiece dedicated to this saint. Prior to their mysterious removal nearly 115 years ago in October 1902, the pieces formed part of a large picture cycle of a folding altarpiece located in the Church of St. Eustace located in the remote mountain village of Campo di Giove in the Abruzzo. It has never been discovered if they were stolen, or sold by the village priest and sacristan. However, nearly 115 years ago, the altar was dismantled and the single pieces sold all over the world (lot 1001, 140/160,000). 

Hendrick Vroom is considered the founder of European marine painting and its establishment as an independent genre. The present painting from 1607 depicts fishing boats, galleons and a dinghy on the sea by the beach of Scheveningen where fisherman are selling their fresh catch (lot 1057, 180/200,000). A Madonna and Child is from a follower of Jan van Eyck. This impressive picture is a citation from the famous 'Van der Paele Altar', painted in 1436 by Jan van Eyck for the Saint Donatian church in Bruges (today the Groeningemuseum). However, the early 16th century painter of this picture changed the style of the model which was created 70 years earlier, to the style of his time. Jan van Eyck's 'Van der Paele Altar' has been one of the most admired painted works in Bruges ever since its creation and was often, as here, reproduced in small format for private devotion (lot 1005, 150/170,000).

Jacob Philipp Hackert is represented by a total of three paintings. Two landscapes with bathing nymphs, designed as a pair, were painted in Paris in 1767, one year before Hackert left for Rome. They show that Hackert didn't need to travel first to Rome in order to familiarise himself with and adopt the classical landscape tradition (lot 1126, 150/160,000). Hackert's Landscape with Sicilian Temples was painted twelve years after the Paris pictures. In April 1777 he left Rome for South Italy, then went to Paestum, Sicily and also to Agrigent, Syrakus, Segesta and Selinunt. Another two years later, he produced the present work depicting classical Sicilian monuments in a wide landscape. In unusually good condition, the fine quality of the brushwork shows an artist at the height of his prowess (lot 1125, 120/160,000).

A painting attributed to Pieter Coecke van Aelst shows St. Hieronymous in the desert. The legends of the saint are probably of Italian origin and surfaced relatively late in the 13th/14th century. The motif quickly spread throughout the Netherlands, in particular in Bruges in the 15th century. The 1520s and 1530s in Antwerp also saw a demand for pictures of the Latin church father. Both Joos van Cleve and Pieter Coecke van Aelst painted the penitent saint, either in the wilderness or in his study (lot 1010, 90/120,000).

Numerous Dutch and Flemish master paintings are to be offered in the 50,000 – 90,000 euro bracket. For example, a later work by David Teniers the YoungerSouthern Harbour with Fishing Boats and Fishmongers (lot 1069, 70/90,000), and a signed and dated painting of ruins and resting herders by Nicolaes Berchem (lot 1073, 70/80,000). With an estimate of 60/80,000 is a Tronie of an Elderly Womanfrom the Monogrammist I.S. (lot 1056), a fruit still life by Jan Mortel (lot 1110) and a Neapolitan landscape with thieves by Pietro Fabris (lot 1128). Prince Maurice of Orange disbanding the Troops at the Neude in Utrecht on 31st July 1618 is an important 'event picture' painted in 1620 by Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot and estimated at 60/80,000 (lot 1042), an artist who is also represented in this auction by a further two paintings of a village street with numerous figures, and a cityscape (lot 1063/1064, up to 34,000).

A crucifixion by an Antwerp Master of the mid-16th century is set at 50/70,000 (lot 1011), and with an estimate of 50/60,000 are paintings by Adriaen Thomasz Key (Portrait of a Lady, lot 1019), from the studio of Joachim Beukelaer (Market Scene, lot 1016), and a Landscape with Baptism of the Eunuch by David Vinckboons (lot 1031).

19th Century

The highlight of the 19th century selection is a significant painting by Oswald Achenbach. In contrast to the energetic realism of his brother Andreas (present with many pictures with estimates up to 40,000), Oswald sets a colour-dreamy, cheerful and mild idealism. The picturesque life of this city in the shadow of Vesuvius, the location in the wide bay, and the endless blue of the sea and the sky surely appeared to him as the fulfilment of an Italian dream. The viewer of this large format work is offered a motif-laden view of the coast of Naples (lot 1563, 80/100,000).

Twelve small views of Pompeii by Frans Vervloet from the years 1824 – 1825 are valued at 65/75,000. Of particular interest are the original mounting as prescribed by the artist, as well as the circumstances of their production and the purchaser (lot 1508). Wilhelm von Schadow, one of the most important representatives of the Nazarene movement is present with a painting of the parables of the lost sheep and the lost son (lot 1513, 45/55,000). Ludwig Lange leads the viewer to Athens to the gate of Athena Archegetis and the Roman Agora (lot 1523, 28/35,000), whilst Carl Georg Adolph Hasenpflug is represented by two of his distinctive paintings: his pictorial motif of the monastery ruins is particularly bound to the romantic zeitgeist, and the works are impressive allegorical pictures expressing German melancholy and longing (lots 1525/1526, 20/25,000). With an estimate of 40/50,000 are a wooded landscape by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (lot 1540), and the cathedral in Frankfurt/Main by Michael Neher (lot 1542), From Johann Wilhelm Preyer comes a decorative still life for 30/40,000 (lot 1547).

Drawings

Amongst the drawings of the 19th century shines a small work by Caspar David Friedrich. Measuring 9.5 x 16.6 cm, the watercolour in grey brush of a picturesque landscape with a weir has appeared again after more than 90 years (lot 1505, 40/50,000).

Sculptures

The sculptures on offer this time is particularly broad, including almost 90 objects. 29 pieces are from the private Belgian collection of Professor Hans Waege, director of the Belgian National Orchestra. With the focus on Flemish and German sculptures of the 14th – 16th centuries, highlights include a Madonna and Child of Brabant from around 1470/80 (lot 1193, 32/35,000), and with the same estimate, a Lamentation group probably from Lorraine around 1480/1490 (lot 1194).

The remaining sculptures of various provenance stem from the 13th – 19th centuries, primarily late Gothic. The top lots include a Swabian Madonna and Child from around 1470/1480 for 90/100,000 (lot 1232), and a Coronation of the Virgin, from East Tyrol around 1450/1460 (lot 1229, 60/70,000).

Of particular importance is a marble sculpture of The Young Fisherman and the Siren by Joseph Geefs from the year 1874. The 85 cm high work with clear Romantic stylistic elements belongs to the later works of the Antwerp artist (lot 1571, 30/40,000).