At Large  August 8, 2017

A Strong 19th Century

The notably high quality offering of Old Masters and 19th century artists was characterised by Dutch and Flemish works. The German 19th century works for sale were particularly strong. The highlights of the auction included a fine result of 422,000, high above the estimate, for a painting by Joos van Cleve, and from the 19th century, for a painting by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (155,000). The spring auctions of Decorative Arts and Old Masters together reached a very pleasing total of 7.5 million euro.

The highlight of the Old Masters was, as expected, a work by Joos can Cleve, one of the most important portrait painters of his time, selling for 422,000 euro. The 36 x 27 cm oil on wood depicted a Portrait of a Lady as Mary Magdalene in an unusually fine technique, with the lady finished to a high quality. From the elegance of the sitter it can be assumed that she was a member of the Flemish aristocracy or court (lot 1007, 220/250,000).

Jacob Philipp Hackert's Landscape with Sicilian Temples was painted in 1779. In April of 1777 the artist left Rome for Southern Italy, and then on to Paestum, Sicily, and also Agrigent, Syrakus, Segesta and Selinunt. Two years later he painted the present picture, showing Sicilian monuments in a broad landscape. The picture impressed with its painterly quality, produced at the peak of his career, as well as with its condition. The work was sold under reserve for 100,000 – after-sale negotiations are already taking place (lot 1125, 120/160,000).

A fruit still life by Jan Mortel was sold to a Russian collector above the asking price of 60/80,000, for 111,600 (lot 1110), whilst Tronie of an Elderly Woman by the Monogrammist I.S. passed into German hands for 105,500 (lot 1056, 60/80,000). The Russian bidder was also successful with Roelant Savery'Mountain Landscape with Deer and a Stork by a Waterfall for 87,000, over double the estimate of 30/40,000 (lot 1030). A Portrait of a Lady by Adriaen Thomasz Key sold for 52,000 (lot 1019, 50/60,000), as did a portrait of Margaret of France, Duchess of Savoy by Francois Clouet (lot 1015, 30/40,000). 49,600 was the result for a landscape with the Baptism of the Eunuchby David Vinckboons (lot 1031, 40/60,000).

Barend Cornelis Koekkoek's Cattle Trough beside a Forest from 1885 attracted much interest, eventually selling for 155,000 to the English trade (lot 1540, 40/50,000). As Carl Spitzweg's Interrupted Contemplation was called for sale, a serious bidding war began for the humorous picture. A German collector had to part with 99,000 to win – almost four times the upper estimate (lot 1519, 20/25,000). Ludwig Lange transported the viewer to Athens to the gate of Athena Achegetis and the Roman Agora. The very decorative painting with a rare motif started at 28/35,000, also reaching 99,000 (lot 1523). 

A Dutch collector had to pay 74,400 for twelve small views of Pompeii by Frans Vervloet from 1824 – 1825. Of particular interest were the original mounts commissioned by the artist, as well as the condition, their origin and the contractee (lot 1508, 65/75,000). Wilhelm von Schadow, one of the most important members of the Nazarene movement was present here with a painting of the parable of the lost sheep and the lost son, purchased by an American collector for 49,600 (lot 1513, 45/50,000).

Carl Georg Adolph Hasenpflug was represented by two of his distinctive paintings: his picture-motif of the cloister ruins reflects the Romantic zeitgeist of the time and an impressive symbol of German melancholy and longing. Cloister Ruins in Winter with a View of Heisterbach from 1842 rose from 20/22,000 to 40,000 (lot 1525), and Cloister Ruins in Winter with a View of Walkenried, painted four years later, changed hands for 44,600 (lot 1526, 22/25,000).

A painting by Heinrich Bürkel could celebrate a significant result. Nine telephone lines fought for the Italian Landscape Motif in the Mountains, eventually selling to a German collector for 52,000, following an estimate of 4/5,000 (lot 1528). German interest also pushed up the price for Andreas Achenbach's 1851 painting of Sailboats on the Beach. From an estimate of 20/25,000 it rose to 69,500 (lot 1537). Another impressive jump was made by a decorative still life by Johann Wilhelm Preyer, which sold for 73,200 (lot 1547, 30/40,000).

Amongst the 19th century drawings shone a small work by Caspar David Friedrich. The 9.5 x 16.6 cm sheet in grey brush and watercolour depicting a Landscape with a Weir emerged again after over 90 years and sold to a German collector for 43,400 (lot 105, 40/50,000).