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Master Paintings Evening Sale
Sotheby's New York
February 1, 2018
Sale 9812

Van Dyck child

Lot 42, "Portrait of Prince Willem II of Orange as a Young Boy with a Dog," by Sir Anthony van Dyck, oil on canvas, 50 1/2 by 39 1/2 inches

By Carter B. Horsley

The Master Paintings Evening Auction February 1, 2018 at Sotheby's New York has an excellent group of paintings, several of which are museum-quality, and is highlighted a superb portrait of a child by van Dyck, a great and large and very dramatic Titian, a lovely portrait of a woman by Reynolds, a good portraits by Velasquez, Cranach and Hals, and fine works by Canaletto, Allori, Lorenzetti, Robert and David Roberts.
The catalogue contains numerous lengthy and brilliant essays on many of the lots.
Lot 42 is the extremely charming and very fine "Portrait of Prince Willem II of Orange as a Young Boy with a Dog" by Sir Anthony van Dyck, an oil on canvas that measures 50 1/2 by 39 1/2 inches.
The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Two versions of this charming painting by van Dyck are recorded in period sources, one painted for the parents of Prince Willem II, and another version made for King Charles I of England.  The portrait painted for the sitter’s parent descended in the family and is today in the Schloss Mosigkau museum....This fascinating painting’s recent reappearance, followed by a careful cleaning and subsequent public exhibition at the Rubenshuis Museum in Antwerp, has afforded scholars the opportunity to reassess it, confirming its status as an important work by the master, which in all likelihood is the hitherto lost painting documented as made by van Dyck for King Charles I of England.

"Although they make up only a fraction of his considerable and varied artistic output, van Dyck’s depictions of children are among the most memorable and enchanting works that the artist ever produced.  This delightful portrait of Prince Willem II of Orange exemplifies the genre.  It depicts the young Prince at about 5½ years wearing a long gown of golden orange silk (the color of his princely house) with slashed sleeves, decorated with lace collar and cuffs.  He wears a plumed cap of black velvet and stands in a relaxed and elegant pose, gazing to his right as does his dog, as if someone is drawing their attention.  Van Dyck deftly indicates the young Prince’s lineage with a symbolic orange tree at the left, while behind hangs a rich tapestry arras, rendered in flickering brushstrokes, and embroidered with the arms and lion of the House of Nassau.

"In the winter of 1631/32, van Dyck set north from Antwerp to the court of The Hague, having been summoned by Frederick Hendrick, Prince of Orange, an invitation that only served to boost his already considerable reputation.  He arrived before 28th January 1632, when no less a personage than Constantijn Huygens noted that he had just that day been sitting to the painter.  In addition to the Dutch prince’s patronage, van Dyck no doubt hoped to broaden his prospects, not only by leaving the confines and limitations of his native city, but also with an eye to a move across the Channel to the English court.  King Charles I’s agent Balthasar Gerbier had been assiduously wooing the painter for some time, attempting to secure his services, and while a final decision had not been made, one was imminent.   In addition, Prince Frederick Hendrik and his wife Amalia van Solms hosted Elizabeth Stuart, the deposed Queen of Bohemia, who was Charles I’s sister.  Thus, van Dyck’s arrival appears to be a canny decision, not only for the commissions it afforded, but as a way to ingratiate himself further with the Stuart dynasty. Van Dyck would, in fact, arrive in England just a short time afterwards, in April 1632 where, save for occasional sojourns, he would remain for the rest of his life in the service of the King. 

"While in The Hague, van Dyck painted portraits of the ruling family, Frederick Hendrik, Prince of Orange (...Baltimore Museum of Art...) and Amalia van Solms (...Tokyo Fuji Museum, Tokyo, Japan), as well as their eldest son and heir, Willem II (...Schloss Mosigkau, near Dessau, Germany). Perhaps unfettered by the courtly expectations required of an image for a sitting monarch, the painting of Willem II is both formal and informal at the same time, and shows van Dyck’s extraordinary abilities to their most potent effect.  Van Dyck captures perfectly the innocence of a young boy, but sacrifices nothing of his nobility in doing do.  Drawing on the influence of Titian, notably his portrait of Clarice Strozzi (...Gemäldegalerie, Berlin), van Dyck developed a pictorial language for the depiction of young nobles which was to influence artists such as Gainsborough, Reynolds and Sargent in the centuries to come.

"In addition to the aforementioned set ordered by Prince Frederik, van Dyck was commissioned by King Charles I, whose eldest daughter Mary was to marry Willem nine years later, to complete a further set:

"Sir Anthony vandike hath by o’ Command made and presented us wth divers pictures…of the Prince of Orange…another of the princesse of Orange wth another of their sonne at half length at Twenty pounds appeece.

"Payment for these were authorized in a Royal Warrant dated 8th August 1632.  The reference to ‘half length’ portraits was evidently shorthand for the whole group, two of which were true half lengths – an inference confirmed by the reference at the sale of King Charles I’s collection in 1652 (No. 278), where it was described as ‘A Dutch Prince at length wth a dog’.

"A full length studio or later copy of the composition is preserved at Petworth, where the dog appears to adhere to the type in the present example, rather than the Mosigkau picture.  The breed of the dog, which appears to be a whippet cross, is more robust and muscular in the present painting, and also has a more pronounced snout, thus suggesting that it was the prototype brought to England and furnished the template for the Petworth copy. No other autograph version of this composition is recorded.

"The present Portrait of Willem II of Orange is thus almost certainly the recorded version painted for King Charles I. The relationship between the Mosigkau version and the present canvas is particularly fascinating and informative. The condition of the Dessau picture has been somewhat compromised in the past, but it is clear that the painting does have similar handling of paint to the present work. Perhaps the most striking difference between the two versions is in the quality and characterization of the dog, which is finer and anatomically more sophisticated in the present painting. Pentiments also exist in the present composition.  Some, such as that along the contour of the Prince’s collar in front of the tapestry, as well as subtle shifts in the hands, and around the dog’s head and legs are visible to the naked eye, while infra-red technology further reveals the freedom and spontaneity with which it was painted.  While it is perhaps pointless to discuss primacy in the case of two pictures which would have been produced either simultaneously or nearly so, these details would suggest that the present composition may indeed be the first version.  In light of the importance of King Charles I to van Dyck from 1632 onwards, and his reputation as a connoisseur, this would not be surprising.

"The portraits of the Orange family painted for Charles I remained in the Royal Collection until after the execution of Charles when the collection was sold by the Commonwealth in one of the most famous art dispersals in history. On 1st March, 1652, as lot 278, ‘A Dutch Prince at length, with a dog,’ presumably the present painting, was sold to Edward Bass and John Hunt, both creditors of the late king. Edward Bass was a royal official under Charles I who, together with John Hunt was one of a handful of insiders who purchased a large quantity of the late King’s goods, and were amongst the chief beneficiaries of the sale. Bass headed no fewer than three of the fourteen ‘dividends’ (syndicates created by the King’s creditors, formed for the purpose of taking goods in lieu of payment), while Hunt (a former linen draper to Queen Henrietta Maria) was one of the sale’s treasurers. In addition to van Dyck’s portrait of Prince Willem II, Edward Bass also owned the jewel of the Royal Collection - Raphael’s Holy Family, ‘La Perla,’ now at the Museo del Prado. Bass was one of the ‘undoubted winners in the sale’ who formed part of the group of ‘cosmopolitan artists, dealers and merchants’ who were ‘the real specialists in money and art, and employed by all sides – crown, republic, dividends and foreign embassies’.....

"As with so many paintings from the Royal Collection, the Portrait of Willem II as well as those of his parents were subsequently dispersed, and remained untraced for many years.  A label on the reverse of the present painting is inscribed with the name of Michael Humble, possibly Michael Humble of Gwersyllt Park, Denbighshire Wales. The reverse of the stretcher is also inscribed with the name B.J. Palmer. Bartlett Joshua Palmer (1882–1961), of Davenport, Iowa, was one of the founders of modern chiropractic practice. He amassed a large collection of art and Asian antiquities, which was on view at his clinic at Davenport.

"We are grateful to Dr Malcolm Rogers, Professor Christopher Brown and Dr Susan Barnes for each independently confirming  the attribution of the present painting to Sir Anthony van Dyck based on their first hand inspection."

It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $2,415,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.

The sale total was $48,369,350 27,234.000 with about 77 percent of the offered 73 lots selling.

Van Dyck man 24

Lot 24, "Portrait of an Italian Nobleman," by Sir Anthony van Dyck, oil on canvas, 47 1/4 by 35 inches

A much less interesting and flamboyant van Dyck painting is Lot 24, "Portrait of an Italian Nobleman," an oil on canvas that measures 47 1/4 by 35 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This dashing portrait was almost certainly executed by Anthony van Dyck in Genoa, where the artist made several visits during the years 1621 to 1627. Unknown to scholars until now, the picture has been in private ownership for over forty years and thus never exhibited publicly, nor known to the compilers of the authoritative 2004 monograph on van Dyck. It has never appeared at auction, and its reemergence onto the marketplace as one of the extremely rare signed and dated portraits from the artist’s brief Italian period marks a rare occurrence.

"Bellori, van Dyck's early biographer, pronounced in 1672 that 'travelling in other parts of Italy, he always came back to Genoa as if it were his own country, where he was known and loved by everyone.'1 The painter’s characterful and dramatic approach to portraiture saw him gain a vast amount of commissions from wealthy Italian patrons. Their particular desire for lavish and elegant costume portraits was realized by the talented Fleming, whose experience gained here served as a useful platform for his successful later career as portrait painter to the courts of northern Europe. In this regard van Dyck distinguished himself from his mentor Rubens in that in Italy, perhaps surprisingly for a painter of his renown, he did not align himself with a specific court or patron. Rather, he embraced a traveling mentality which kept him busy on a variety of private commissions for the local nobility. This bespoke, independent identity is the primary reason why portraits occupy the vast majority of his Italian output. Above all else, it was Titian whom van Dyck used as his primary point of inspiration for his Italian portraits. By 1626 when van Dyck painted this work, Genoa, and indeed much of the territory outside of Venice was filled with works by the Venetian master for van Dyck's consumption. Van Dyck's Italian sketchbook makes clear his intense observation of Titian's portraits and their dual pursuit of accurate artifice and personality. Such a pursuit positioned van Dyck as a key bridge between Titian and Velazquez, who in 1629 began a brief, but incredibly impactful year and a half trip through Italy.

"An unsigned copy after this work is in the Musée du Louvre (inv. R.F. 1942 – 34). Both this canvas and the Louvre copy have both traditionally identified the sitter as Olivio Odescalchi (1655-1713), the nephew of Pope Innocent XI and legendary collector, but this identification is impossible given the dating of our picture to 1626. Instead, the sitter should be identified as a well-heeled nobleman, who would have undoubtedly paid a large sum for this portrait owing to van Dyck’s growing popularity by this point in his blossoming career. The coat of arms at upper right as thus far not been identified, though it does not belong to one of the more prominent and firmly identified Genoese families.

"Of the Italian period portraits by van Dyck, almost none are signed and dated. A dated (1624) example, traditionally identified as Desiderio the Collections of the Prince of Liechtenstein, employs a near identical format and hand-writing. As in the Liechtenstein portrait, the sitter here also wears a simple yet refined black silk jacket with contrasting white lace collar and cuffs. Van Dyck's mastery of material is on full display here, particularly in the luxuriously draped left arm that shines through his deft ability to apply subtle variations of white and grey against the rich black paint."

The lot has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $975,000.

Velasquez 48

Lot 48, "Portrait of Monsignor Cristoforo Segni, Maggiordomo to Pope Innocent X," by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez and Pietro Matire Neri, oil on canvas, 44 7/8 by 36 1/4 inches

Lot 48, "Portrait of Monsignor Cristoforo Segni, Maggiordomo to Pope Innocent X," is an oil on canvas by Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velasquez (1599-1660) and Pietro Matire Neri (1601-1661).  It measures 44 7/8 by 36 1/4 inches.  It was included in the 2015 exhibition on Velasquez at the Grand Palais in Paris.

The catalogue provides the following interesting commentary:

"This striking portrait of Cristoforo Segni, Maggiordomo to Pope Innocent X from 1645 to 1653, was painted by Velázquez during the artist’s second trip to Rome, around 1650. Parts of the painting were executed by the Cremonese painter Pietro Martire Neri, who according to Antonio Palomino worked alongside Velázquez during his second sojourn in the Eternal City. The painting has only recently emerged from obscurity, for inclusion in the recent exhibition dedicated to Velázquez at the Grand Palais, Paris, having remained hidden in the present collection since the mid-twentieth century. During the second half of the nineteenth century it formed part of the illustrious collections assembled by the Marqués de Salamanca in Madrid, who owned several works by the great Sevillian master and whose collection was dispersed at auctions in Paris during the 1860s and 1870s.

"In his celebrated Museo Optico of 1725 the biographer and painter Palomino recorded that Velázquez painted the Majordomo to Pope Innocent X, and it was Cruzada Villaamil in 1885 who first established the clear link between Palomino’s reference and the present work. As Maggiordomo to His Holiness Pope Innocent X, Cristoforo Segni was a high-ranking member of the clergy appointed by the Pope to oversee the apostolic palaces. Segni was one of the first members of the Pope’s entourage with whom Velázquez came into contact, for as recorded by Palomino, the artist stayed at Segni’s family house in Bologna in 1649 during his journey to Rome. Segni was also a patron of the sculptor Alessandro Algardi, from whom Velázquez had commissioned works on behalf of Philip IV, and as such the two had various matters in common.

"Velázquez had come to Rome in May 1649, bearing paintings as gifts for Innocent X on the occasion of his Jubilee, which began on the 25 December 1649. This was his second visit to Italy, following an earlier trip in 1629-31. He reached Rome via Genoa, Milan, Venice and Florence, but once in the Eternal City his stay was interrupted only by visits to Naples and Gaeta in June-July 1649 and again in March 1650. He did not leave again for Madrid until 1651, but his work in Rome in that year was probably confined only to official business. There is no doubt that this short period represents the first unquestioned highpoint of his art, when his creativity and sheer technical virtuosity reached new peaks. The exact chronology of Velázquez’s Roman portraits is not known for certain, but they were presumably all painted in a very short period between his arrival in May 1649 and November 1650. If we are to believe his biographer Palomino, his first work was a portrait of his mulatto servant Juan de Pareja (New York, Metropolitan Museum...). Perhaps, as Palomino suggests, this was intended as an exercise in portraiture from the life in a city where his work was almost unknown. In any event this magnificent likeness, with its astonishing intensity of expression and bravura yet restrained technique caused universal admiration when exhibited at the Pantheon in 1650. Whether from the success of this work or more likely from the access Velázquez had to the Papal court as a result of his position as painter to the King of Spain, it was soon followed by his portrait of Pope Innocent X himself (Rome, Galleria Doria Pamphilij). This was presumably Velázquez’s first ‘official’ commission in Rome, and may have been commissioned by the King himself. This exceptional masterpiece won universal admiration – even the Pontiff himself admitted that the piercing likeness was almost 'too truthful.' Sir Joshua Reynolds writing over a century later would describe it as 'one of the first portraits in the world' and its position as one of the greatest evocations of position and personality ever achieved remains as true to this day as it was then. Although its design was firmly in a tradition going back through Titian to Raphael, in particular the former’s Portrait of Pope Paul III of 1543 (Naples, Gallerie Nazionale, Capodimonte), its strength and immediacy is won by its remarkable chromatic brilliance, achieved by a subtle range of harmonised crimsons and reds, offset by a brilliant creamy white. Both portraits are said to have been mistaken in real life for their sitters, but while this is no doubt apocryphal, they clearly impressed his contemporaries sufficiently to win Velázquez admission both to the Accademia di San Lucca in January 1650 and subsequently the Congregazione dei Virtuosi in the Pantheon. To this day they remain without doubt among his very greatest works. If one were to add to them the celebrated Toilet of Venus (London, National Gallery), better known as the ‘Rokeby’ Venus after a later owner, which some critics also believe to have been painted while Velázquez was in Rome rather than just prior to his stay there, then it would be quite reasonable to claim these as the most remarkable and important years of the painter’s career. As it was, Velázquez had few if any rivals as a court portraitist in Rome at the time of the Papal jubilee. His greatest contemporaries in terms of portraiture were both sculptors – Gianlorenzo Bernini and Alessandro Algardi – and within a short while he enjoyed enormous respect and prestige and his assimilation into the artistic life of the city Rome was complete.

"This portrait of Cristoforo Segni belongs to a small group of likenesses of sitters drawn from the ranks of the papal court that no doubt followed on from the success of the portrait of Innocent himself. These include those of the Pope’s adopted nephew Cardinal Camillo Astalli, known as Cardinal Pamphilij (New York, Hispanic Society of America) and Monsignor Camillo Massimi (National Trust, Bankes Collection, Kingston Lacy). Cardinal Astalli’s portrait can be dated to shortly after September 1650, when he was raised to the purple. Like Segni, the papal Chamberlain Massimi was a friend of the artist, and a man of considerable learning as well as a collector, who would eventually come to own no less than six works by Velázquez himself. The stylistic and compositional parallels between these works and that of the Pope are quite clear. The design of Segni’s portrait is clearly indebted, albeit in reverse, to that of Innocent X, with the sitter seated in a chair and holding a letter. In terms of colour and handling, and indeed character, the portrait comes closer to those of Cardinal Pamphilij and to that of Massimi in particular. Velázquez’s portrayal of the heads of these two far from handsome men is immediately striking. Their black birettas and blue camariere segreti are set off against a dull crimson chair adorned with gold braid, enlivened with the sharp contrast with the white of collar or sleeves. Their features are constructed with no outline or drawing, and through colour alone Velázquez creates the impression of keen and intelligent men, whose gaze is piercing yet still friendly. Though none of these works ever quite matched the sheer brilliance of Juan de Pareja or Innocent X, they remain eloquent testament to Velázquez’s newfound maturity and complete mastery of style.

"Aside from his own workshop activities in Madrid, Velázquez is not known to have ever collaborated with another artist. Palomino named only Velázquez as the painter of Segni’s portrait, and the sitter holds in his right hand a letter indicating Velázquez’s authorship including a signature in the shadow of the sitter’s thumb. Squeezed below it, in a space not obviously intended for inscription and seemingly as an afterthought, Neri’s name is also inscribed. The genesis of the commission is not known, but leading scholars think it likely that the work was conceived entirely by Velázquez with the composition and figure of Segni mapped out by him. Velázquez is certainly responsible for the execution of the head of the Maggiordomo; the painterly modelling and characterful expression also strongly indicating that it was painted dal vivo. It seems possible that the portrait was left unfinished on Velázquez’s departure from Rome, requiring its completion by another artist (in this case one that had a close association with Velázquez), rather than having been planned from the start as a work by both painters. The first time that the names of the two painters are mentioned together is when they both attended a meeting of the congregation of the Virtuosi al Pantheon that took place on 9 March 1650. This was a society founded in Rome in the sixteenth century, whose artist members – the virtuosi – were painters, sculptors and architects. Their aim was to carry out charitable works and promote the fine arts to the glory of the faith. Velázquez is recorded as participating in the congregation’s meetings since 22 February of that year. Relatively little is known even about the life of Pietro Martire Neri. A pupil of Malosso in his native Cremona, he spent a period of nearly two decades in Mantua, where he came under the influence of Domenico Fetti (1589-1623), before finally leaving for Rome. He was possibly briefly in Rome around 1629 and is then documented there between 1647 and his death in 1661. Giuseppe Bresciani, in his La virtù ravvivata de Cremonesi insigni pittori, ingegneri &c… of 1665, is the first to document his association with the Spanish painter. The precise nature of his relationship and of his work with Velázquez is unclear.

"The four painted portraits by Neri now known are all closely dependent upon Velázquez’s of Innocent X and certainly the present work echoes the overall mise-en-scène of the Doria Pamphilj painting, although the conventional pose does not necessarily confirm the primacy of one or the other. Copies of the latter by Neri survive in the collection of the Marquess of Bute at Mount Stuart House in Scotland and in the Escorial in Madrid, where the same figure is shown full-length with an attendant cleric. The prelate in the latter has tentatively been identified as Monsignor Pietro Vidoni (1610-1681) on the basis of an engraving after Neri of him as a Cardinal in 1660. Vidoni had been summoned to Rome by Innocent X in 1652 before being appointed papal nuncio in Poland, and this portrait may therefore date to this time as well as suggesting that Vidoni himself commissioned the copy. A third copy by Neri, signed and inscribed, was sold London, Christie’s, 9 December 1989, lot 119. These copies remain the sole evidence we have of Neri’s relationship with Velázquez. The recent attribution of a Portrait of Velázquez in Paris, where the painter is shown with a palette and brush and wearing the robes of the Order of Santiago (to which Velázquez was appointed in 1659) and which is clearly dependent upon the latter’s self-portrait in his celebrated canvas of Las Meninas of 1656 (Madrid, Museo del Prado) seems to be in a looser style than in his signed works and must await further study.

"The precise extent of Velázquez’s involvement in this portrait has been the subject of debate among scholars over the years. Justi praised the quality of the head, while considering the remainder of the portrait to be by Neri, an assessment broadly supported by Mayer, who also accepted the signature as being that of Velázquez. Voss believed the work to be by Velázquez, in particular the head, the inscription and the overall composition, inspired by his celebrated portrait of Pope Innocent X. When exhibited at the Casón del Buen Retiro in 1960–61, the author of the exhibition catalogue suggested the painting was begun by Velázquez and retouched by Neri, who added his name at the bottom of the letter in the sitter’s hand. Harris, however, considered the work to be entirely by Neri: either the painting recorded by Palomino, or after a lost original by Velázquez (although it is unclear as to whether she saw it in the original). López-Rey took a broadly similar view, ascribing the painting in its entirety to Neri, and believing it to be a copy after a lost sketch by the master.

"Following the inclusion of the painting in the exhibition at the Grand Palais, Paris, in 2015, the overwhelming consensus amongst scholars today, including Dr. William B. Jordan and Guillaume Kientz, is in support of the authorship by Velázquez and Neri, endorsing opinions previously expressed by Salvator Salort Pons and the late Alfonso Pérez Sánchez. Velázquez’s highly expressive and distinctive brushwork is clearly evident in the head of the sitter. It seems plausible he also painted the collar and some scholars have speculated whether, in addition, he may have painted at least part of the sleeves, while the rest of the costume, the hat, the hands, the chair and curtain were probably added or worked up by Neri. The distinctive and fluid rendering of the whites of the sleeves in the painting would certainly seem to reflect the influence of painters such as Domenico Fetti, with whom Neri seems to have been associated during his years in Mantua, and suggest that these parts were in all probability largely by him.

During the mid-nineteenth century the painting belonged to the distinguished collection of the Marqués de Salamanca (1811-1883). A highly successful businessman and financier the Marqués became the Spanish Minister of Finance in 1847. A passionate collector and patron of the arts, he assembled one of the finest private collections of paintings in Spain, which he kept at his newly built mansion, the Palacio de Recoletos in Madrid. First opened to the public in 1858, the paintings collection was largely composed of works from the seventeenth century, principally drawn from the Spanish, Italian Dutch and Flemish schools. These included works by or attributed to Raphael, Reni, Correggio and Mantegna, among them the latter’s Saint Mark today in the Städel in Frankfurt-am-Main. Alongside the Velázquez, his notable Spanish works included Murillo’ series of the Prodigal Son (Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland) as well as Zurbarán’s Annunciation (1650, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art), and no less than eight paintings by Goya, including the Bullfight of 1808-12 which he purchased directly from the artist’s son Javier (New York, Metropolitan Museum). The Dutch and Flemish pictures numbered works by or attributed to Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Van Dyck, Teniers and de Hooch, including Rubens’s Wrath of Achilles and Death of Achilles today in the Courtauld Institute in London. His collection of antiquities were housed in the Palacio de Vista Alegre which he acquired in 1859, and the collection of Roman sculpture and Greek and Etruscan objects was later bought en bloc by the Museo Arqueológico Nacional in Madrid. His paintings collection was largely dispersed at auction after he ran into financial difficulties in the 1860s. The Portrait of Cristoforo Segni was included in his first sale in Paris in 1867, when it remained unsold, but was subsequently acquired in his second auction at the Hôtel Drouot in 1875 by Luisa Gonzaléz. A nineteenth-century copy after the painting exists today in a French private collection; the copy includes the double signature and seems likely to have been executed at the time of the great Salamanca sales.

"At the time of his 1924 monograph, August Mayer stated that this painting was in a Parisian private collection. Twelve years later the same author named the owner of the painting as the Duchesse de Dreyfus-Gonzales [sic]. The most likely identification for the Duchess would be Anne de Talleyrand Périgord, Duchess de Premio Real (1877-1945), the wife of Auguste Dreyfus's second son Edouard Dreyfus-Gonzalez, Duke of Premio Real (1846-1941). It is possible that the painting went unsold at the Dreyfus sale of 1889 and remained in the Dreyfus-Gonzalez collection until it is recorded there in the 1930s. It is not amongst the paintings sold from the Dreyfus-Gonzalez collection in Paris on the 8th June 1896. At the time of the Madrid exhibition of 1960/61 it was said that the lender had recently acquired the picture from the Duchess de Dreyfus-Gonzalez which may indicate that it remained in the possession of the family until that time, perhaps in the collection of the Duchesses sister Félicie de Talleyrand Perigord, Marquise de Villahermosa (1878-1981). López-Rey cites a specific date of the 3 March 1958 as the point of sale, but if this were an auction then no catalogue of it has yet been found.

 The lot has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.  It sold for $4,066,0000.

Titian 27

Lot 27, "Saint Margaret," by Tiziano Vecello, called Titian and workshop, oil on canvas, 78 by 66 inches

Lot   27 is a large and very impressive "Saint Margaret" by Titian (circa 1485-1576) and workshop that is an oil on canvas that measures 78 by 66 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This monumental and visually arresting painting, which once formed part of Charles I's collection and hung at Whitehall Palace in London, with other works by Titian, depicts the heroic Saint Margaret as she emerges unscathed from the body of the dragon. It is considered by most scholars to have been painted in the mid-1560s, and is one of two versions of the subject signed by Titian, the other being in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. In its spirited execution, enlivened by rapid brushstrokes and the dramatic contrasts of light against dark, the painting embodies every quality of the artist's late style.

"This painting is first recorded in the English royal collection. It belonged to King Charles I (1600–1649) and was displayed alongside the King's most highly prized Titians at Whitehall. It is listed there in the inventory of 1639 drawn up by Abraham van der Doort, as hanging in the First Privy Lodging Room: ‘Done by Tichian/ Item the Picture of St Margarett with a little reed cross in her left hand triumphing over the Divell Being in a dragons Shape an intire figure Soe bigg as ye life In a wodden guilded frame’. The Saint Margaret hung in the principal room of Titians, with the early Pesaro presented to Peter (Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp) and other remarkable works such as Venus with an Organist and The Allocution of the Marquis del Vasto to his Troops (both Prado, Madrid); The Entombment of Christ, The Supper at Emmaus and the 'Allegory of Alfonso d'Avalos' (all three now at the Musée du Louvre, Paris); and Woman in a Fur (Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna).

"Soon after the King's execution, the decision was taken by Parliament to sell off his collections. Full inventories were drawn up and valuations given with a view to the money raised from their sale paying off the King's debts. The King's creditors were entitled to acquire pictures; others were paid in goods from Charles's estate. In the case of the Saint Margaret it was sold to John Embry, a royal plumber, whose name appears on the First List of the late King's servants and creditors comprising those most in need. Francis Haskell in his essay on Charles I's collection cites Embry's case as a representative example of a member of the King's retinue who had remained unpaid. The present work, which is listed in an inventory of pictures drawn up in September 1649, was valued at £100. As Haskell describes, Embry was owed £903 and was recompensed only partly in cash. To cover the remaining sum he was allowed to choose pictures to make up the value – among them the present painting of Saint Margaret. According to Nuttall, of the twenty-four pictures given to him as settlement of the debt, the Saint Margaret was the most important. Presumably Embry's objective was then to sell it as quickly as possible and convert it into cash. During the Commonwealth Embry became Oliver Cromwell's Surveyor-General of Works and subsequently, at the Restoration, found himself obliged to defend his position, returning a portion of the pictures to Charles II. The picture is next recorded in Hampshire, in the collection of Richard Norton (d. 1732), though it is not known how he acquired it. He may have inherited it from his grandfather Colonel Norton (d. 1692). The Saint Margaret then entered a British aristocratic collection where it remained until the mid-twentieth century.   

"The Saint Margaret is likely to have been begun at the same time as the Prado painting, which is generally recognised as the prime version of the composition and dated to the mid-1560s. Indeed it seems probable that the present work was painted alongside the version now in the Prado, with Titian utilising his workshop to block in areas of the painting but finishing the key areas of the painting himself. The expressive power of Titian’s later style is nowhere more clearly demonstrated than in the lyrical and atmospheric depiction of the city of Venice on fire in the background. On the skyline the campanile of St Mark glows in fiery orange and pinks, whilst the stormy waves of the sea are animated by dark blue and green brushstrokes. In the sky billowing smoke rises upwards to intermingle with the clouds in a passage of painting that presages that of the Impressionists, more than three centuries later.

"The x-radiograph reveals much more vigorous application of paint in places that now appear rather dark and flat, including the area to the left of the head now covered with brown paint, and changes to the structure of the dragon, as well as modifications to the city skyline. A photograph of the painting taken at the time of the Harcourt sale in 1948 shows the larger extent of the canvas at the top edge of the composition before it was reduced, at some point before 1958. The composition was then more closely comparable to that of the Prado version.    

"As is characteristic with Titian’s late works, the darker tones, fiery landscape and summary handling of the paint in the present work create a sense of drama that is entirely fitting to the narrative. Margaret of Antioch was a legendry virgin martyr. She refused a proposal of marriage from the prefect of Antioch and was cruelly tortured and imprisoned as a result. Satan allegedly appeared to her in the form of a dragon and devoured her. The cross she held in her hand irritated the monster’s insides and the dragon burst open allowing her to escape unharmed, only to be subsequently decapitated. Panofsky notes that Titian’s decision to depict Saint Margaret and the dragon in an outdoor setting suggests he was using an apocryphal version of the legend.

"Titian’s Saint Margaret is conceived with a profound understanding of the dramatic potential of the scene. She is a triumphant figure whose body, depicted in dramatic contrapposto, fills the entire right-hand side of picture plane, almost touching the right-hand and lower margins. Prof. Paul Joannides has noted Titian's deliberate comparison with Raphael and Giulio Romano's versions of the same subject (Giulio's Saint Margaret was in Venice in the early sixteenth-century, in the collection of Zuananonio Venier, today housed in the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna). Titian's Margaret surpasses the serenity of Giulio's interpretation, which lacks the intensity of expression and setting. Titian's saint is painted in a myriad of colours and her luminous light green tunic with its bright white sleeves and rose pink veil stands out from the more earthy, brown based tones of the rest of the canvas. The dragon that occupies the bottom resister of the canvas is predominantly painted in brown and blackish hues and the only flashes of colour are the strokes of red and white delineating his vicious mouth. The implied movement in Saint Margaret’s twisting body contrasts to the stolidity of the rock face behind her and she emerges from the picture plane as an impressive figure, trampling the dragon underfoot and holding her cross aloft.

"The painting was inspected on 28 September 2012 by Prof. Peter Humfrey and Dr Nicholas Penny. Both believe it to have been painted as a second version of the Prado picture and with a significant degree of studio assistance. Prof. Humfrey saw the painting again in person on 27 October 2017. In his opinion the Saint Margaret is a picture produced under Titian’s direction in his workshop, with the execution largely due to the workshop but parts, such as the landscape in the background, possibly involving the direct involvement of Titian himself. Prof. Joannides inspected the painting on 26 October 2017; he maintains his view, published in 2004, that it is by Titian and his studio. The Royal Collection is currently working on an online reconstruction of the collection of Charles I at Whitehall Palace, which will include the present work. We are grateful to all those cited for their comments. In particular we wish to thank Lucy Whitaker and Niko Munz at the Royal Collection for their help in compiling this catalogue entry."

The lot has a modest estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $2,175,000.

Cranach Lucretia  10

Lot 10, "Lucretia," by Lucas Cranach the Elder, oil on limewood, 23 1/4 by 18 1/2 inches

Lot 10, "Lucretia," by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), oil on limewood, 23 1/4 by 18 1/2 inches.  The sitter's mouth is just open enough to see the bottom of her top row of teeth, which is a bit unusual for Cranach.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This is one of the earliest known treatments of the classical subject of Lucretia by Lucas Cranach the Elder. Unanimously dated by scholars circa 1510-13, it was painted during the early years following Cranach’s arrival in Wittenberg in 1504 to work in the employ of the Electors of Saxony, and shortly after the conferral in 1508 by Duke Frederick the Wise of the coat of arms with the winged serpent device that would became the basis of the artist’s signature. Of all the known depictions of Lucretia by Cranach and his circle, this can be considered the most sensual and beautiful and it is a supreme example of the type of erotic historical painting produced for the artist’s private patrons, ironically right in the geographic and ideological heart of the Reformation, in the very court where Cranach’s great friend Martin Luther enjoyed the protection of the Electors of Saxony.

"The painting was first published by Friedländer and Rosenberg in 1932, who identified the picture as an early work by Lucas Cranach the Elder and proposed a dating of circa 1510-13. A terminus ante quem is provided by the existence of a copy after Cranach’s original by his pupil Hans Döring, which is signed with his monogram HD and dated 1514, and is today in the Wiesbaden Museum. Cranach is known to have begun to develop his workshop by 1507 and the existence of Döring's copy attests to the practice of pupils copying the master’s originals, although the presence of the signature may have been a requisite to avoid any possible confusion with Cranach’s own or ‘approved’ studio versions.

"In 1976 the present work was published by Koepplin and Falk, who likewise dated it circa 1510-13, and at the time believed it to be the earliest known treatment of the subject of Lucretia by the Elder Cranach. They tentatively associated the work with a possible pendant depicting the Old Testament figure Salome, today hanging in the Museu de Arte Antigua in Lisbon, in which the figure is similarly depicted, half-length (holding the head of Saint John the Baptist on a platter), against a black background, also wearing a choker set with precious stones.

"In early 2012 another early treatment of Lucretia by Cranach the Elder appeared at auction in these rooms. Its dating of around 1509/10 places it as the earliest of Cranach's treatments of the figure of Lucretia. Both that painting and the present Lucretia share a great deal in common in design and handling. Both paintings depict the female heroine three-quarter length, in a similar pose, wearing a fur mantel and holding the dagger to her breast; the physiognomy is far more Italianate and naturalistic than the standard idealised courtly types that would dominate Cranach’s later treatments of the subject, and the features of the distinctive plump, rounded faces are rendered with remarkable detail and precision that suggest the use of real life models and lend a far greater sense of realism to the scene. The artist has made however a number of revisions to the earlier design, which gives the present version a heightened sense of drama and greater sensuality. Most strikingly, Lucretia is depicted with both breasts and the lower part of her midriff exposed, whilst her hair has been tied up and arranged in an elegant plat on her head. The artist has replaced the richly adorned sleeves in the earlier version with a simple white shirt that focuses the viewer on the strong vertical of the exposed body and the drama that is about to unfold. Moreover, Lucretia’s right hand, holding the dagger, has been turned over and her arm bent to give greater vigour and emphasis to the imminent thrust of the sharp blade, thereby heightening further the overall sense of drama.

For Cranach, the figure of Lucretia appears to have represented an embodiment of virtue rather than merely an historical figure. The story is taken from Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita. Lucretia was raped by Sextus Tarquinius, son of the last Roman king Tarquinius Superbus. Although her father and husband swore to avenge her, in order to fully expunge her dishonour, she committed suicide by stabbing herself. According to legend, the horror of the act and her extreme sense of honour spurred the aristocracy to rise up against the monarchy and establish the Roman Republic. She was therefore considered as an exemplar of the virtuous Roman wife and at the court in Wittenberg, with its emphasis of intellect and learning, her conduct was celebrated as one of the antique virtues.

"Cranach’s fascination with the story of Lucretia is attested by the considerable number of treatments of the subject that he painted throughout his long career, with some 35 versions attributed to him or his circle. The present work appears to have enjoyed particular success and is known through numerous copies and derivations. In addition to the 1514 copy by Hans Döring there are workshop versions in the Kunstmuseum, Basel and the Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento. The present work however, along with the earlier known treatment, stand alone as works of singular beauty and refinement within the artist’s numerous essays on the subject, and through the use of life-like models possess a sense of realism that is entirely absent in Cranach’s later treatments from the 1530s and 40s. What is common to all of the great German Renaissance master’s representations of the theme however is that the veneer of decency afforded by the historical subject does little to disguise the deeply erotic overtones of the scenes and it perhaps seems shocking that such images were deemed acceptable at the height of the Reformation and in the Saxon Court where Luther and Cranach lived and enjoyed a close friendship."

The lot has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $2,895,000.


Cranach Luther 9

  Lot 9, "Martin Luther," by Lucas Cranach the Elder, oil on beechwood, 15 7/8 by 10 1/2 inches

Lot 9 is a good, small portrait by Cranach of Martin Luther, an oil on beechwood.  It measures 15 7/8 by 10 1/2 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Just over five hundred years ago in 1517 Martin Luther pinned his Ninety-Five Theses challenging the Catholic Church’s practice of the sale of indulgences to the doors of the church in Wittenberg in Germany. By so doing he precipitated a chain of events that would lead directly to the Protestant Reformation, and thus change the political and religious landscape of Europe forever. This is the first known painted portrait of the great reformer and shows him during the most important (and dangerous) eighteen months of his life. It was painted in Wittenberg around 1520, shortly before his excommunication by the Pope and his summons by the Emperor Charles V to defend his actions at the Diet of Worms in 1521. This panel is of very considerable importance in its own right, for it is also the first painted portrait of Luther by his lifelong friend Lucas Cranach, one of the greatest artists of the German Renaissance. No doubt because of this, it has an immediacy and sympathy for character which distinguishes it from the many portraits of his friend that Cranach would later paint. Unshaven but steadfast, we can readily sense here the fixity of purpose and resolute belief in his own principles that Luther would display in the months ahead.

"Luther is shown by Cranach in three-quarter profile, the black of his robes and hat set against a deep olive green background. The costume in which he is depicted combines the habit of a monk of the closed Order of Augustinian Friars, which he had joined in Erfurt in July 1505, with the doctoral hat which marked his being made Doctor of Theology at Wittenberg University in 1512. Cranach had very recently showed Luther separately in both guises, the former in front of a recess in an engraving of 1520,1 and the latter in an engraved profile portrait of 1521. Another engraved portrait, closely related to the first of these and showing the thirty-seven year old Luther in head and shoulders format, again dressed as an Augustinian monk but without the niche, also dates from 1520. The date of 1517 which appears in the upper left corner of the present painted panel is a later addition and thus unreliable, and in any case would not fit with what we know of Cranach’s style at that date. Unfortunately the traces of the original date which accompanied Cranach’s serpent device beside the sitter’s shoulder are now too indistinct to shed any further light, but even without a clear date, the close relationship between the three engravings and the painted portrait, together with Luther’s relatively youthful features, all clearly suggest that they were executed within a very short time of each other.

"Despite this short time period, in these early likenesses we can clearly sense a development in Cranach’s depiction of Luther’s features. The painting is closest to the engraved portrait in a recess in terms of its general design, but the features are more rounded and full, the hair longer and the eyebrows more closely defined, with the striking gaunt ascetism and the piercing gaze of the engraving replaced by a more confident demeanour. The features in the painting are in turn leaner and less rounded than those apparent in the engraved profile portrait of 1521, and this suggests it was painted before it. As Koepplin was first to observe, it is more than likely that all of these early likenesses evolved from an original drawing from the life. While any such drawing has since been lost, some idea of its appearance may be gauged from the elaborate and detailed under-drawing that appears on this panel. This is very reminiscent of a life study in its own right and may well have been taken during a portrait sitting. Certainly Cranach does not flinch from a highly objective portrayal of his friend, whose stubble is carefully realised in some detail. As Werner Schade has remarked, ‘In the earliest of the surviving paintings we feel the rawness of the early Luther’.

"A dating for this panel to around 1520 has generally been agreed by scholars. Schade has suggested a date of 1520, while the compilers of the London exhibition catalogue of 2007 propound a similar or slightly earlier dating around 1519–1520. Earlier, at the time of the Basel exhibition in 1974, Koepplin remarked that on purely stylistic grounds a date as late as 1524 – at which point Luther gave up his Augustinian habit – was technically feasible, but he also preferred a date around 1520 or a little later. The present portrait would therefore pre-date Cranach’s next likeness of Luther, the portrait of the reformer in the disguise of Junker Jorg, painted during Luther’s years of refuge in late 1521 or early 1522. As Koepplin observes, the purely bust-length format, omitting the hands, was relatively rare in Cranach’s œuvre, repeated at this date only by the Portrait of the Margrave Kasimir of Brandenburg-Ansbach of 1522 now in Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, and seemingly not taken up again with other sitters until his Portrait of Sigmunt Kingsfelt from the end of the decade now at Compton Verney. By the latter date, however, Cranach had re-visited this bust length pattern for a later portrait type of Luther paired with his wife Katharina von Bora, in which the sitters head is turned more toward the viewer; good examples, dating from 1528, are in the Schlossmuseum in Weimar. By contrast with Cranach’s later portraits of Luther, however, this first painted likeness was not engraved nor much repeated, suggesting a more private or personal commission. An early version of this portrait, unsigned and undated, is preserved in the Lutherhaus in Wittenberg and a later workshop copy was sold in these rooms 7 July 1993, lot 245.

"It is quite conceivable that the date of 1517 that appears on this panel was added simply because it is the most famous date in Luther’s life, the year when he nailed his Theses to the church doors in Wittenberg, a date now generally declared to represent the start of the Protestant Reformation.  Even if this date is unreliable, there can be no doubt that this portrait was painted during the most important moments of Luther’s life. On the 31 October 1517, Luther had sent his Ninety-five Theses in a letter to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz (see lot 27 in this sale). The same day he affixed them to the doors of All Saints Church (and other churches in the city) in accordance with university custom, for by this time Luther was Professor of Moral Theology at the University of Wittenberg. The Ninety-five Theses were written in protest against the contemporary practice of the Church for selling indulgences, by which the faithful might purchase a temporal remission of sin and thus avoid time in purgatory for their souls. More recently, that same year Pope Leo X had sanctioned indulgences to be sold to raise money for the construction of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Luther would also have been especially aware of those then being sold by Albrecht of Brandenburg in order to pay for his elevation to the Archbishopric, not to mention his encouragement of the local practice, whereby an indulgence might be ‘earned’  by ‘veneration’ of the large collection of relics in All Saints Church itself. Luther had already preached several times on the subject of indulgences, advancing the case that true repentance of the individual outweighed any purchase of an indulgence.  Nevertheless even he must have been surprised at the speed with which his theses were printed and distributed throughout Germany, and the extraordinary swell of popular support that followed.

"Over the next two years, the dangers that Luther’s preaching represented to the authority of established Church became clear. Albrecht of Brandenburg did not reply to his letter but immediately passed it on to his superiors in Rome on suspicion of possible heresy. The Dominican preacher and Inquisitor Johann Tetzel, whose own notorious sales of indulgences were carried out under the authority of the archbishop, called for Luther to be burnt at the stake. Luther was summoned by the authority of the Pope to defend himself against charges of heresy at Augsburg in October 1518 before the papal legate Cardinal Cajetan. Luther in turn sought the protection of the Elector Frederick the Wise. At the meeting, Luther refused to recant and appealed directly to the Pope. A further debate in 1519 with the theologian Johann Eck dangerously compared Luther to the heretic Jan Hus. At this point the Emperor Charles V (who needed the Elector Frederick’s support) intervened and persuaded the Pope to summon Luther to a further hearing at the next Imperial Diet. The Pope agreed but in June 1520 he issued his Papal Bull Exsurge Domini rejecting Luther’s Theses and threatening him with excommunication. Luther publicly set fire to the bull and decretals at Wittenberg on 10 December that same year. The inevitable followed and Luther was excommunicated by Pope Leo on 3 January 1521.

"Given the situation in which Luther found himself at this date, Cranach’s portrait still exudes a remarkable air of quiet confidence. Although his actions on All Saints Day were only ever intended to provoke an academic debate, not a popular revolution, by this date Luther can hardly have been unaware of the popularity of his views, and of the religious storm to which they were bound to lead him. He was duly summoned by the Emperor Charles V to attend the Imperial Diet of Worms, held in his presence between 28 January and 26 May 1521, and ordered again and for the last time to repudiate his Theses. Luther chose to attend under guarantee of safe conduct, but once at Worms, he refused to withdraw his attacks on the abuses of the Church. ‘If I recant these’, he stated, ‘then I would be doing nothing but strengthening the tyranny’. On the 26 May 1521, the Emperor pronounced the Edict of Worms, banning reading or possession of Luther’s writings and commanding him ‘to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic’.

Luther’s life was now in grave danger, and without waiting to hear his fate, he fled the city. During his return to Wittenberg, he was helped to ‘disappear’ in a faked highway robbery arranged by the Elector Frederick the Wise, and hidden in seclusion at Wartburg castle, where he began his translation of the New Testament into German. Cranach did not abandon his friend or his cause, and indeed this portrait is witness to the start of long and enduring relationship between the two men. They became close friends and godparents to each other’s children. Cranach painted Luther again perhaps as early as December 1521, showing him in the guise of the ‘Junker Jorg’ given to him by the Elector at this time to conceal his identity and used later to deny his rumoured death. Although now fully bearded in the court fashion, the stress and defiance on Luther’s face seems clear. Luther finally returned to Wittenberg in March 1522 and his translation of the New Testament appeared in print in September of the same year. It is clear that he and his supporters understood the importance of Cranach’s painted and printed images of the reformer, and a successful woodcut appeared that same year based on the new portrait.12 Thereafter Cranach painted Martin Luther both in his own right, and then paired with his wife and then his friend and fellow reformer Lucas Melanchthon. So great was the popular demand for these portraits that from the 1530s onwards the Cranach workshop evolved a highly efficient studio practice in order to accommodate the demand. It might be argued that Cranach never quite regained the intensity so evident in this portrait, and indeed his later images of the reformer were inevitably diluted by the sheer weight of repetitions. Cranach and Luther also worked closely together on numerous propaganda pieces against the Church, and Cranach was to devise a series of paintings depicting representations of emerging Protestant themes – Christ summoning the children, for example, or Christ and the woman taken in adultery – which slowly evolved into a pictorial programme of images for the Reformation movement. Cranach did not, however, work exclusively for the Protestant cause, and even numbered Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg among his Catholic patrons.

"It is hard for us today to fully comprehend the courage that Luther showed at Worms in the full knowledge of the dire penalties – including possible death by burning at the stake – that would face him. His powerful testimony of faith at the Diet made a deep impression on all those who heard it, most notably George ‘The Pious’, Margave of Brandenburg-Ansbach (1484–1543), who later corresponded with and then met Luther, and was one of the first important nobles to go over to the new Protestant faith. Ultimately, however, the Edict of Worms was never really enforced in Germany because of the protection of many German princes on the one hand (who hoped that by this means the political power of the Papacy would be lessened), and on the other by Luther’s undeniably widespread support among the populace as a whole. Luther himself remained in Saxony, where the Elector Frederick had obtained an exemption from the Edict of Worms. By now the debate about indulgences had developed into altogether more serious issues. On a theological level, Luther had successfully challenged the absolute authority of the Pope himself. He had in addition denounced all doctrine and dogma of the church that was not to be found in scripture as invalid. Most importantly of all, perhaps, he had maintained that Salvation was to be obtained by faith alone (‘sola fide’), without references to alms, penance or the Church’s sacraments. What was initially a genuine effort to reform the Catholic faith eventually transformed into a major schism within Christianity itself."

The lot has a modest estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.  It sold for $2,295,000.

Hals  34

Lot 34, "Portrait of a Young man, bust length, in a red cap," by Florentine artist, close to Sandro Botticelli, circa 1480-85

Lot 13 is a Botticelliesque "Portrait of a Young Man, bust length, in a Red Cap," tempera on panel, 16 3/4 by 10 1/4 inches, circa 1480-85.  The lot has considerable literature including references by Berenson, Venturi and Fahy. The catalogue reproduces an infrared picture of the painting that shows the top of a hand in the left bottom corner.  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It was passed.

Lawrence 67

Lot 67, "Portrait of Mrs. Joseph Inchbald," by Sir Thomas Lawrence, oil and black chalk on canvas, 28 by 25 inches

As the recent "Unfinished" exhibition at the Met Breuer demonstrated, there is nothing more enticing than a beautiful incomplete painting that brings great dignity to the concept of "sketch."  One such work is Lot 67, "Portrait of Mrs. Joseph Inchbald," an oil and black chalk on canvas by Sir Thomas Lawrence.  It measures 27 by 25 inches. It was included in the Lawrence show in 1961 at the Royal Academy in London, the Yale Center for British Art and the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth and in the 1993 Lawrence exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Elizabeth Simpson Inchbald, the daughter of a Suffolk farmer, left home at an early age determined to make a career on the stage. She married the actor Joseph Inchbald (1735-1779), playing Cordelia to his Lear in her debut in 1772 in Bristol.  In the ensuing years, she performed in numerous roles, not only in Shakespearian drama, but in 17th century comedies and tragedies as well as contemporary plays, appearing in London and Dublin.  Though she had numerous admirers, her acting was never critically acclaimed and she began to devote her energy into writing both plays and fiction.  In 1789, she retired from the stage to write full time, achieving considerable success.  Her work for the stage included comedies, sentimental dramas and farces, some of which were original and others of which were adaptations of French and German plays.  Inchbald is best known today for her novel A Simple Story (1791), and to readers of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park in which her play, Lover’s Vows (1798) is the drama enacted by some of the characters in a private theatrical and deemed rather unsuitable, as it follows the story of a “fallen woman” and her illegitimate son.

"Inchbald is thought to have met Lawrence through the actress Sarah Siddons with whom she had a close friendship. This portrait of circa 1796, left unfinished, provides us with insight into Lawrence’s working method when beginning a portrait.  According to his early biographer, Allan Cunningham, “His constant practice was to begin by making a drawing of the head full size on canvass; carefully tracing dimensions and expression.  This took up one day.”  At the next sitting, Lawrence would begin to paint the head.  In this portrait of Mrs. Inchbald, we see exactly this method with the head having been almost fully worked up while her torso is delineated by black chalk drawn directly on the canvas.  Though never completed, Lawrence has already captured the beauty and keen intelligence of his sitter."

The lot has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $399,000.

Lorenzetti  32

Lot 32, "The Crucifixion with the Virgin, and Saints Mary Magdalene, John the Evangelist and a Francescan female saint," by Pietro Lorenzetti and workshop, tempera on panel, gold ground, 16 1/8 by 10 1/4 inches

Lot 32 is a small and very handsome tempera on panel with gold ground by Pietro Lorenzetti (1276-1348) and workshop of "The Crucifixion and the Virgin and Saints Mary Magdalene, John the Evangelist and a Francescan female saint.  It measures 16 1/8 by 10 1/4 inches.

It has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.  It failed to sell.

Gaddi 3

Lot  3, "Madonna and Child enthroned with music-making angels," by Agnolo Gaddi, tempera on panel, 52 by 32 inches

Lot 3 is a very impressive and large "Madonna and Child enthroned with music-making angels" by Agnolo Gaddi (active 1369-1390).  It measures 52 by 32 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This majestic Madonna and Child was first associated with Agnolo Gaddi by Kronfeld in 1931. This attribution has most recently and convincingly been argued by Gaudenz Freuler in his publication accompanying the 1991 exhibition at the Fonazione Thyssen-Bomemisza, in Lugano. Agnolo was the son of Taddeo Gaddi, a pupil of Giotto, and one of the most influential and inventive artists of Trecento Florence. Agnolo and his brother Giovanni were, through their father, heirs to the Giottesque tradition and to a prosperous family enterprise, which Agnolo directed with enormous success up to the turn of the 15th century.

"When this Madonna and Child was published by Boskovits in 1968 he noted that an attribution to Agnolo is supported by the rich floral and animal ornamentation of the Virgin’s gown, whose motifs of leaping rabbits and foliage are reproduced exactly in other pictures by the artist, for example in the background of the Madonna from the Contini Bonacossi Collection and now in the Uffizi, Florence. When Boskovits published this panel for a second time in 1975, he proposed that it may have been the central panel of a polyptych, and that it might well have been flanked by the two pairs of saints that are currently framed as one altarpiece with the aforementioned Contini Bonacossi Madonna (see fig.1). Boskovits proposed a dating of the polyptych to the artist’s youthful period around the years 1375-80.

"The theory placing the present panel with the Contini Bonacossi saints has been supported most recently by Gaudenz Freuler. Like Berenson, however,3 Freuler proposed a later dating of the altarpiece to the 1390s during which period Gaddi’s paintings display an increased linearity, a more substantial volume to his figures, an increased attention to the detailed handling of the gold elements and their decoration, all balanced with a harmonious palette of pastel tones.4 These qualities of his later works were the distinctive traits that paved the way for the next generation of Florentine artists such as Starnina (to whom the present panel was erroneously attributed by Quintavalle in 1939, see Literature) and Lorenzo Monaco. Freuler also writes of the possible connection between this Madonna and Child and the accompanying Contini Bonacossi saints, and an altarpiece for the Church of San Miniato al Monte in Florence, for which Agnolo received payment during the last years of this activity (1394-96). Due to the inclusion of the figure of Saint Benedict in the Contini Bonacossi panels, it has been thought that this may be the altarpiece created for the Benedictine Church of San Miniato. As Freuler notes, this must remain speculative as there are fragments of another altarpiece by Agnolo preserved at San Miniato, which have also been associated with the documents noting the payments to the artist in the mid-1390s."

The lot has a modest estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $1,455,000.

Holbein 8

Lot 8, "The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne," by Hans Holbein the Elder, oil on panel, 17 1/4 by 13 5/8 inches

Lot 8 is a charming small oil on panel by Hans Holbein The Elder (1465-1524) of "The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne."  It measures 17 1/4 by 13 5/8 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This small devotional panel by Hans Holbein the Elder depicts the very tender scene of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, a subject that had been popular in Germany from the 14th century onwards.  Long known to art historians and fully accepted as an autograph work, it was never widely exhibited and so was previously seen only by a small circle of specialists.  Now that it has returned to the market, we can appreciate for ourselves its remarkable energy and charm. 

"During his lifetime Holbein was one the leading painters in south Germany with a large studio at his disposal.  Today, however, we recognize his even greater historical significance because he was a bridge between the lingering Gothic elements of the 15th century, seen in works of great northern masters such as Rogier van der Weyden, and the full blown Renaissance style, as embodied in the paintings of his son, Hans Holbein the Younger.  Holbein’s father was a tanner, but his mother, Anna Mair, was related to leading painters and sculptors in and around Augsburg, who provided an important influence for him in his formative years.  In this, one of his earliest extant works, we can see his connection to an older generation of artists as well as his own remarkable talent and inventiveness. The Christ Child is seated between the Virgin and St. Anne.  He seems quite independent although perhaps somewhat precariously balanced as he reaches for the Virgin’s prayer book with his right hand.  On his other side, St. Anne grasps him loosely by his left wrist as she leans forward to offer him an apple.  The Virgin, Christ and St. Anne are all seated on an elaborate golden throne; its base is a barbed quatrefoil, a common motif in Gothic architectural design, which is strewn with roses.  Two flying angels hold up a cloth behind the Infant while above his head flutters the Dove of the Holy Spirit.  The upper corners of the composition are closed off by gilded tracery in a pattern of twining branches. 

"Several commentators have noted the influence of the sculptor Nicolaus Gerhaert, on Holbein’s overall conception of the subject, probably known to him through a lost drawing or sculptural group.  Certainly in Gerhaert’s Virgin and Child with St. Anne in the Deutsches Museum, Berlin, we see a similar sense of freedom in the depiction of the Child, who leans away from the Virgin to reach St. Anne, as well as that same element of instability, as if in his enthusiasm, he might well topple over.  The figures, too, with their thin, elegant bodies, large heads, and the sharp, well-defined folds of the drapery look back to the late Gothic style that characterizes Gerhaert’s sculpture."

The lot has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000.  It sold for $615,000.  

Allori 19

Lot 19, "The Cruxification with Mary Magdalene kneeling at the Cross," by Alessandro Allori, oil on lapis-lazuli, 6 5/8 by 5 1/4 inches

Lot 19 is an exquisite small oil painting on lapis-lazuli by Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) that is entitled "The Crucifixation with Mary Magdalene Kneeling at the Cross."  It measures 6 5/8 by 5 1/4 inches. It was commissioned by Ferdinando de' Medici in 1602.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Alessandro Allori was one of the most sought after painters in Florence in the late 16th and early 17th centuries.  After the death of his father, when he was five, Allori was adopted by the painter Agnolo Bronzino, in whose workshop he trained.  Like his mentor, he enjoyed the patronage of the Medici, the ruling family of Florence, and other elite citizens of the city.
This jewel-like work, painted directly onto lapis-lazuli, was painted in 1602 for Ferdinando I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany (1549-1609).  Ferdinando was made a cardinal at age fourteen, however he was never ordained.  During his years in Rome he began acquiring works of art and built Villa Medici, which would eventually become the home of the French Academy in Rome.  Upon the death of his older brother Francesco I, in 1587, he returned to Florence, renouncing his position as cardinal and marrying.  He continued his patronage of the arts, favoring religious commissions and devotional subjects such as the present painting.

"Despite its small size, the composition of this painting is exquisitely detailed. The distraught figure of Mary Magdalen kneels at the foot of the cross, gazing up at the crucified Christ.  At left, a skeleton, also looking up at Christ, holds a scroll with the words Lamorte Ch’ei Sostene Perchi Viva, a reminder to the viewer of Christ’s sacrifice for mankind.  At right can be seen the Resurrected Christ leading the Old Testament prophets and patriarchs out of Limbo, with the flames of hell in the background.  The beautiful blue of the lapis stone is deliberately left unpainted to serve as the background sky.

"This painting is recorded in the inventory of the Guardaroba Medicea on 26 October 1602, when a payment was made for two paintings: “Payment of 68 scudi for a copper painting with the ‘Madonna with her little son’ and for an oval in lapis lazuli with a ‘Crucifixion.’ The latter picture is also listed in the inventory of the Guardaroba Medicea for the years 1625-1629 where it is described as hanging in the private apartments of Maria Maddalena of Austria, on the ground floor of the Villa at Poggio Imperiale, along with another small painting, also on lapis, by Cigoli:  'Two small oval lapis-lazuli paintings, one depicting Christ in the Garden of Olives, by Cigoli, and the other illustrating Christ on the cross with Mary Magdalen at his feet, with the figure of death and other small figures, in the hand of Alessandro Allori, called Bronzino, framed in ebony inset with ivory.'  This Crucifixion is further recorded in the 1654-6 inventory as hanging in the ground floor Galleria of the Villa at Poggio Imperiale, however it is not listed in the later inventories of the Guardaroba Medicea.  The painting may have been dispersed when large portions of the collection were taken or sold at auction following the death of the last Grand Duke of Tuscany, Gian Gastone de’ Medici in 1737."

Detail of Lot 19

Detail of Lot 19

It has an estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $735,000.

Flemish 6

Lot 6, "Virgin and Child," by Flemish School, second half of the 15th Century, oil on panel, 12 3/8 by 7 5/8 inches

Lot 6 is a very nice, small oil on panel of the "Virgin and Child" by Flemish School in the second half of the 15th Century.  It measures 12 3/8 by 7 5/8 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Rendered with remarkable skill and finesse, this small panel is the work of an accomplished artist active in the Low Countries in the second half of the 15th century.  The Virgin, with her high forehead, flowing gold hair, and jewel trimmed robes of red and green reaches towards her bare breast with her right hand and lovingly supports the Christ Child in her lap with her left.  Draped in a soft white garment, he grasps an ornate prayer book in his hands, while a cross, a symbol of his Passion and held aloft by an angel with multi-colored wings, rests against his shoulder.

"Such devotional half-length depictions of the Virgin and Child are thought to have been introduced into the Netherlands around 1450 by Rogier van der Weyden, who established an artistic tradition that influenced generations of artists to follow him, among the most prominent being Petrus Christus and Dieric Bouts.  Indeed, the tender design of the present work seems to derive from a Rogierian source, one that has perhaps now been lost.  The elongated face of the Virgin, the ornately trimmed veil, and the sinuous Christ holding a precious prayer book can be compared to those found in Rogier van der Weyden’s Virgin and Child in Half Length of circa 1460-64 in the Huntington Art Collections in San Marino, California.  A similar motif of the Madonna Lactans appears in another half-length depiction of the Virgin and Child given to the Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden in the Art Institute of Chicago. Additionally, the theme of the child clasping the cross is repeated in a few examples recorded by Max Friedländer as relating to this artist, including one painting given to a Follower of Rogier van der Weyden in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.   The success of Rogier's designs and the many iterations they inspired among artists from the second half of the sixteenth century onward bears witness to the impact and enduring appeal of these new types of half-length devotional images dedicated to the Virgin and her Son, and the present panel is an excellent example of the dissemination of his pictorial tradition.  

That all of the figures in the present work face in one direction towards the right suggest that they very likely once served as the left wing of a small devotional diptych."

"Although the figures within this painting are very well preserved, the punched gilding of the background was perhaps added at a later date."

The lot has an estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It sold for $495,000.

Maes 13

Lot 13, "The Flight of Lot," by Nicolaes Maes, oil on canvas, 42 1/2 by 37 1/2 inches

Lot 13, "The Flight of Lot," is a good oil on canvas by Nicolaes Maes (1634-1693).  It measures 42 1/2 by 37 1/2 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This beautiful and moving depiction of The Flight of Lot is a rare biblical subject by Nicolaes Maes, who is best known for his genre paintings and portraits. Early in his career, shortly after leaving Rembrandt’s studio and beginning to paint as an independent master, he produced a number of religious themed works, such as Abraham Dismissing Hagar and Ismael of 1653, his earliest dated work (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York...).

"The story of Lot, nephew of Abraham, and his flight from the city of Sodom is told in Genesis (19: 1-28). Two angels, to whom Lot had given hospitality for the night, warned him that God was about to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah for their sinfulness, and urged him to flee with his wife and two daughters.  The angels warned them not to look behind them as they left  “lest they be consumed.”  Lot’s wife did not heed their advice and, upon looking back, was turned into a pillar of salt.  This painting depicts the moment before this happens, as the angels are seen literally pushing the family along as one daughter frantically gathers food and valuables in a basket, while the other has bundled other belongings in a rug which she carries on her head.  Lot’s wife weeps and pulls away from him as he tries to persuade her to come with them.  Maes touchingly captures the anguish and confusion of the moment.

"This painting is likely the picture sold in the 1811 by Ferdinand Bol, another artist in Rembandt’s circle. It seems to have remained under that name as it appeared as such in the 1914 Griscom collection sale in New York...., where it was purchased by the Vanderlip family.  Franklin Robinson, in 1977...first linked the painting to Maes when he related it to a drawing of the same subject, then ascribed to Maes (but now given to Justus de Gelder, Maes’s stepson) in the Abrams collection.  In his important publications on the Rembrandt School, Werner Sumowski...published The Flight of Lot as a work by Nicolas Maes and dated it to circa 1675-80, relating it stylistically to another work from this period, The Sick Woman, formerly in the Corcoran Gallery of Art , Washington, D.C., and now in the National Gallery of Art.  León Krempel, in his monograph on Maes...and based on an old black and white photograph, questioned the attribution to Maes, though compared the curly-haired angels and the painterly treatment of the draperies to Maes’s portrait style of circa 1679-86.  However, having recently seen good images of the painting, Krempel has stated that he is inclined to accept The Flight of Lot as a work by Maes, pending further research.  We are also grateful to Volker Manuth who has endorsed the attribution of this painting to Maes, on the basis of photographs."

Detail of Lot 13

Detail of Lot 19

The lot has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000.  It sold for $150,000.

Canaletto 54

Lot 54, "Venice, the churches of the Redentore and San Giacomo; Venice, the prisons and the Bridge of Sighs, Looking Northeast from the Balcony," by Giovanni Antonio Canal, called Canaletto, a pair, oils on canvas, 18 3/4 by 30 1/3 inches each

Lot 54 consists of a pair of oils on canvas by Giovanni Antono Canal called Canaletto (1697-1768).  Each measures 18 3/4 bny 30 1/4 inches.  One is entitled "Venice, the churches of the Redentore and San Giacomo" and the other is entitled "Venice, the prisons and the Bridge of Sighs, Looking Northeast from the Balcony."

The catalogue provides the following commentary;

"Remarkably preserved and in nearly pristine condition, this impressive pair of canvases demonstrates Canaletto’s inimitable success in capturing the imposing elegance of the architecture that defined 18th-century Venice.  Most likely completed in England in the late 1740s and rendered with the artist’s customary attention to detail, the pair offers waterfront views of two of the most recognizable façades in La Serenissima: the Church of the Redentore and the Prisons of San Marco.  Using a bright and dramatic light, Canaletto illuminates the remarkable grandeur of each building, highlighting their individually intricate yet balanced designs.  Set beneath blue skies, bathed with a crisp atmosphere, and animated with fashionable figures, as well as gondolas and sandalos that glide gently atop the waters of the foregrounds, this pair can be ranked among Canaletto’s most admired masterpieces and are enduring examples of why he has long remained the undisputed leader of the genre of Venetian view painting.

"Built of Istrian Stone, the church of the Redentore, or officially the Chiesa del Santissimo Redentore, is arguably Andrea Palladio's (1508-1580) masterpiece and represents the apex of his refined architectural ideas.  It was constructed on the island of the Giudecca in the years 1577-1592 and was commissioned by the Venetian Senate to give thanks to God for the deliverance of the city from the major plague of 1575-1576, which had decimated around one quarter of the city's population and had claimed the lives of many of the city's luminaries, including that of Titian. The Senators vowed to visit the church annually and to this day the Festa del Redentore is celebrated: each year on the third Sunday of July a temporary causeway made from barges is erected across the Giudecca for people to attend Mass. In the Redentore, Palladio combined the three distinct sections of the church into one harmonious whole, all held together by a horizontal cornice.  The Redentore in the present pair is seen slightly left of center from the Canale di Giudecca and is flanked at right by the campanile of the Church of San Giacomo, which was demolished in the 19th century, in front of which appears the stern of a large, moored ship.   

"The public prisons of San Marco, also known as the Palazzo delle Prigioni, are among the most prominent buildings on the Venetian Molo.  Around 1580, after a fire had destroyed the original prisons in the Doge’s Palace, Antonio del Ponte, who would later complete the Rialto Bridge in 1588-1590, was chosen to oversee their reconstruction and worked from the original designs of Antonio Palladio’s contemporary, Giovanni Antonio Rusconi.  Del Ponte’s nephew, Antonio Contino, helped oversee the last years of construction and also built the Bridge of Sighs, which connected the prison to the Doge’s Palace, both of which are visible in the present pair. The prisons included quarters for the nocturnal security police, a wing for women, cells for victims of the Inquisition, an infirmary and a chapel.  Completed in 1597 just before Dal Ponte’s death, the prisons were among the earliest purpose-built prisons and remained in use for over three hundred years, until they officially closed in 1919.  

"By the late 1720s and early 1730s, Canaletto had established himself as the foremost provider of Venetian vedute to international tourists, many of whom visited the city on their Grand Tours.  His most avid collectors, though, were the British, who steadily commissioned works from him throughout his career, usually through Consul Joseph Smith, who acted as agent.  Smith was undoubtedly the catalyst to Canaletto’s rapid rise to fame and was instrumental in securing the largest commission of the artist’s young career: a series of twenty-four canvases (two of large format and twenty two of small format) for the 4th Duke of Bedford in circa 1733-1736, all of which hang today in Woburn Abbey and constitute one of Canaletto’s finest achievements as painter and topographer.  This series includes Canaletto’s earliest iteration of the view of the church of the Redentore with the Church of San Giacomo. The principal differences that distinguish the view in the present pair from the same view at Woburn Abbey can be found in the  horizon line, the location of the spire at San Giacomo, and the placement of the large moored ship in the foreground.  In moving the stern of the ship to the right of the painting in the present view, Canaletto seemingly creates a more balanced composition.

"Although he did not travel frequently throughout his career, Canaletto moved to London in May of 1746, having already established his reputation among the British clientele.  He may have moved as a result, in part, of the War of Austrian Succession in 1740, which discouraged English visitors from undertaking Grand Tours, thereby significantly reducing a large portion of his client base.  While here, Canaletto’s output did include views of the English countryside and of London, but at the same time, he was steadily producing views of Venice to satisfy the insatiable demand for such works among British collectors. He found considerable success in England, and, except for an eight-month return to Venice in 1750-1751, he remained there for nine years.

"The present pair of paintings belongs to a group of six works by the artist that are similar in size to the small-format canvases in the celebrated series at Woburn Abbey.  The group includes two other pairs, each of which is anchored by an analogous view of the Churches of the Redentore and San Giacomo, one in which the central axis has been moved slightly right and one in which Canaletto populates the scene with a slightly different staffage and vessels.   Unlike the present pair, which includes a secular view of the prison, the pendants of the other pairs are both views of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore from the Bacino di San Marco.  While the other pairs were separated during their lifetime, and today can be found in separate collections, the present pair has remained together since they were possibly acquired by Sir Richard Neave (1731-1814), in whose family they possibly remained until the late 19th century. 

"That this group of works is uniform in subject and style suggests that all were likely completed around the same moment.  Over the past few decades, however, very different datings have been proffered.  Corboz proposed an early date of 1731-1746, Links suggested a date of around 1754-1760 after Canaletto returned to Venice from England, and Puppi believed that a completion date of around 1746, just before the artist’s departure for England, was appropriate. Most recently, however, Charles Beddington has suggested that the group as a whole probably dates to the late 1740s, during Canaletto’s stay in England, for the use of grey grounds and lighter tonality, as opposed to the Venetian russet grounds, as well as the delicate and translucent handling is consistent with this period of production for the artist. 

"It is thought that Canaletto likely brought various drawings of his native city with him to England, such as his pen and brown ink capriccio drawing of the church of the Redentore, dated 1742, now at The Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge.  As Constable rightly noted, the vantage point and distinct lighting found in this drawing can be closely compared to that of the present view of the Church of the Redentore.  Although the setting of this drawing is fictional, the façade and architecture of the church is captured with the utmost detail, and such a work would have been an invaluable reference for the artist while working abroad, especially since his views of the church of the Redentore with the church of San Giacomo proved to be one of his most sought after and successful compositions. This comes as no surprise, as the view would have appealed to numerous clients in England, for it is here that the most devout admirers of Palladian architecture could be found.  In addition to the version at Woburn Abbey along with the present version and its related pairs, further examples of this view of slightly larger dimensions include one formerly in the collection of Lady Cromwell, now in the Manchester City Art Gallery, and another formerly in the collection of Lord and Lady Forte, offered in these rooms on 26 January 2012, lot 58.

"On the other hand, the present view of the Prisons of San Marco is a unique composition for the artist of which no other version is known.  This famed landmark only appears elsewhere in an autograph capriccio which once formed part of a series of thirteen overdoor canvases that decorated the Palazzo Mangilli-Valmarana, a house on the Grand Canal belonging to Canaletto’s great patron, Joseph Smith, and that sold in these rooms on 29 January 2009, lot 89.  In this imaginary setting of this capriccio, the prisons are transposed to the Venetian mainland and set as a wing to a villa in a Piazza with a coach and various townsfolk.  Because of the unusual setting, the identification of the building in the work long went unrecognized, first listed by Constable as that of the Villa Pisani, Stra(?), but later identified by Mr. Richard Zimmerman as the Prisons of San Marco. 

"The Neave Family of Dagnam Park Essex owned a number of important works by Antonio Canaletto (and his school) from various moments in his career. Although Constable only notes that “the group of paintings belonging to Sir Arundell Neave…were acquired by his forebears in the early nineteenth century,” according to the Neave family they were acquired by Sir Richard Neave (1731-1814), and this seems almost certainly the case.  Neave was not only the founder of the family fortunes, but also a successful merchant and director of the Bank of England, and it seems very likely that he would have met Canaletto in England, where he would have commissioned works from the artist and ordered more from him after he returned home to Venice. The works in the collection that were likely painted in England may include the present pair, a Venetian Capriccio, and three views of Rome.  Two other pairs of views in the collection date to the period after Canaletto left England and returned to Venice.   Sir Richard Neave was also almost certainly a patron of other 18th century artists, including Francesco Zuccarelli and Thomas Gainsborough, who in the 1760s painted a full length double portrait of Sir Richard Neave and his wife, in which he is depicted as a connoisseur of art, showing a drawing to his wife.  After having possibly been in the Neave Family, this pair of paintings then passed briefly into the famed collection of G.A.F. Cavendish Bentinck, who collected paintings from the most illustrious Venetian artists, such as Tintoretto, Veronese, Giambattista Tiepolo, Guardi, and Canaletto."

The lot has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.  It sold for $4,179,500.

Robert  73

Lot 73, "Figures on Horseback departing a ruined, vaulted building with colonnades," by Hubert Robert, oil on canvas, 28 1/8 by 34 1/4 inches

Lot 73 is a fine oil on canvas by Hubert Robert (1733-1808) of "Figures on horseback departing a ruined, vaulted building with colonnades."  It measures 28 1/8 by 34 1/4 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Hubert Robert was the pre-eminent French landscape painter...of the late 18th century, training for over a decade in Rome before establishing himself at the center of the Parisian art world upon his return to the city in 1765.  During these early years, Robert developed what would be a life-long fascination with architecture and his many depictions of ruins earned him the sobriquet 'Robert des Ruines.'  By the time the artist returned to Paris, he was already successful and well-known.  He was accepted as a member of the Academy in 1766 and, in 1778, was appointed designer of the King’s gardens and given lodgings in the Louvre.  He exhibited regularly at the Salons until 1797 and completed countless commissions for the nobility, aristocracy and foreign dignitaries throughout his career.  He was renowned for his imaginary landscapes featuring ancient ruins and beautiful gardens, often incorporating both known and fantastical architectural elements in his compositions.  

"The present painting includes many of the elements for which Robert was so highly lauded: a dramatic and elegant architectural setting; a charming narrative set within it; and a stunning sense of warm light pervading through the entire scene.  The dust kicked up by the horses lends an air of romance and mystery to the striking and beautiful scene.  

"A highly finished drawing of this composition, almost certainly done in preparation for this painting, was in the Bourgarel collection and sold at Sotheby's Monaco, 5 December 1991, lot 13. The drawing is inscribed, signed and dated on a stone slab center left: Hubert  obert/...Romae/1760, and a similar date may be proposed for the present painting, whose canvas indeed appears to be Italian.  The figures come from a circa 1730 painting by François Boucher, now in the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in Massachussetts; the painting was engraved with the title Les Voyageurs.   Robert repeats the figures in a circular painting that was until recently in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Signed and dated 1777 and paired with a pendant The Old Bridge, the Metropolitan picture depicts the figures emerging from a pathway between two ruins of colonnaded buildings.  The same site as the present painting was used by Robert in another painting, this time with two women riding a camel, formerly in the collection of the Comte de Japonaise until sold at Sotheby's London, 6 March 1957, lot 160."

Detail of Lot 73

Detail of Lot 73

The lot has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  It sold for $212,500.

Robert tondo 68

Lot 68, "Grotta di Posillipo," by Hubert Robert, oil on earthenware plate, 6 1/8 inches in diameter

Another great Robert is Lot 68, "Grotta di Possillipo," an oil on earthenware plate, 6 1/8 inches in diameter.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"On October 29, 1793, at the beginning of the Terror, Hubert Robert was arrested and jailed by the Revolutionary authorities for having failed to renew his citizen's card.  He was held initially at the convent of Sainte-Pélagie and transferred, on the night of January 30-31, 1794, to the seminary of Saint-Lazare, the site of a former leper's house.  He was not released until after the fall of Robespierre in July of that year.  While imprisoned, he consoled himself by painting and drawing.  Materials on which to paint were scarce and he began to use the earthenware prison plates on which his food was served as his 'canvases.'  While some of these plates depict scenes of life within the prison, the majority are landscapes.  

"The present painting depicts a group of figures in the Grotta di Posillipo in Naples; its dark and dramatic lighting recalls the moody prison scenes of Magnasco and Goya, as well as the famous Carceri etchings by Piranesi.  Robert spent a little over a decade in Italy, and during that time completed a drawing expedition to the southern city in 1760 with the Abbé de Saint-Non, whom he met in Rome.  Robert, a prolific artist, would return to his sketches of Italy throughout his career for inspiration in his paintings, though it is likely that the present work (as it was painted while he was imprisoned) came from the artist's memory."

Detail of Lot 68

Detail of Lot 68

The lot has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.  It sold for $75,000.

  Van Capelle  17

Lot 17, "Seascape with fishermen and figures on a pier," by Jan van de Cappelle, oil on canvas, 19 3/4 by 30 inches

Lot 17 is a very nice marine scene by Jan van de Cappelle (1625-1679) entitled "Seascape with fishermen and figures on a pier."  An oil on canvas, it measures 19 3/4 by 30 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"Jan van de Cappelle's rare marine compositions stand out as high points in the arch of Dutch Golden Age painting. This signed and dated example is a particularly evocative and successful example of the calm, expansive seascapes for which he is renowned. The view is from the water's edge, looking across shallows in which fishermen are unloading small rowing boats to the right, while in the center a group of sailing vessels are tied together whilst similarly being unloaded. At the left is an elevated dock with a group of onlookers conversing as a lone figure attempts to climb to shore."

The lot has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.  It failed to sell.

Winants  45

Lot 45, "Wooded evening landscape with a hunter and his dogs," by Jan Wijnants and Adriaen van de Velde, oil on canvas, 59 7/8 by 75 1/4 inches

Lot 45, "Wooded evening landscape with a hunter and his dogs," is a large oil on canvas by Jan Wijnants (1632-1684) and Adriaen van de Velde (1636-1672).  It measures 59 7/8 by 75 1/4 inchesIt once belonged to Baron Anselm von Rothschild of Vienna and was subsequently confiscated in 1938 and allocated to the Kunstmuseum Linz and then repatriated to the Rothschilds and then selected as a donation to the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna in 1947 and then restored to the Rothschilds in 1999 and then sold at Christie's in London for $3,600,467. 

The lot has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  It sold for $1,815,000.

Gutterez 66

Lot 66, Extravagant architectural capriccio with a white barge on a canal and Pharaoh's daughter finding Moses," by Francisco Gutierrez, oil on canvas, 66 1/8 by 85 inches

Lot 66, "Extravagant architectural capriccio with a white barge on a canal and Pharaoh's daughter finding Moses," is a large oil on canvas by Francisco Gutierrez (active second half of 17th Century), 66 1/8 by 85 inches.

The catalogue provides the following commentary:

"This painting is related to a group of works by the Spanish painter Francisco Gutiérrez depicting biblical subjects set within grandiose mannerist architectural settings. These include a set of six capriccios depicting Joseph in Heliopolis, the Arc of the Covenant, the Judgment of Solomon, Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Betrothal of the Virgin, and Christ in the House of Simon the Pharisee, all now in the Colegiata at Villagarcia de Campos (Valladolid).  In addition, three of these paintings are recorded as signed on the reverse with the same monogram as that found on the reverse of the present painting before it was relined.  A similar architectural capriccio by Gutiérrez, also including the Finding of Moses, is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Bilbao and further examples of his work are in the Prado, Madrid and the Museum of Fine Arts, Seville.

"Little is known about the details of Gutiérrez’s life. He was active in Madrid and is probably the artist cited  as 'Don Francisco Gutiérrez Cavello, pintor' in 1662 in relation to the estate of one doña Maria Pérez de Burgos.  Stylistically, Gutierrez’s figure groups derive from Juan de la Corte, but his complex architectural renderings betray a likely knowledge of the engravings and designs from Northern and Central Europe, particularly the work of Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527-circa 1606).

The lot has an estimate of $175,000 to $225,000.  It sold for $350,000.

See The City Review article on the Master Paintings & Sculpture auction at Sotheby's New York January 25, 2017 with fine works by Botticelli, Rubins, Drost, de Coster, Marieschi and Gentileschi
See The City Review article on the Master Paintings & Sculpture at Sotheby's New York day auction January 26, 2017 with fine work by followers of Botticelli, Bellini and van der Weyden
See The City Review article on the Old Master Drawings auction at Sotheby's New York January 25, 2017 with fine works by Boucher, Ingres, Roberts, Il Guercino, Turner, Ruskin and Gainsborough
See The City Review article on the Old Master & English Drawings auction at Christie's New York January 24, 2017 with fine works by Rubens and Parmigianino
See The City Review article on the Master Paintings auction at Sotheby's New York May 26, 2016 with works by Botticelli, Giannicola di Paolo, Bartolomeo Veneto, Giovanni Francesco Tura, Scheggia, the Master of Santo Spirito, Hubert Robert and Gabriel Metsu
See The City Review article on the Old Masters auction at Christie's New York April 14, 2016 with a small work by El Greco, a nice pair of capriccios by Guardi, and impressive paintings attributed to Bellini, Botticelli, Giovanni Ponte, Parentino, and Duccio and many works once owned by the Countess Nadia de Navarro

See The City Review article on the Old Masters auction at Christie's New York June 3, 2015 with good works by Allori, Berchem and Jan Brueghel I
See The City Review article on the Master Paintings auction at Sotheby's New York June 4, 2015 with good works by Thomas Gainsborough, Gaetano Gandolfi, Antonio Joli, Hubert Robert, Jan Bruegel the Elder, and Jan Brueghel the Younger
See The City Review article on the auction of Selected Renaissance and Mannerist Works of Art Assembled by Fabrizio Moretti January 29, 2015 auction at Christie's New York
See The City Review aticle on the Master Paintings Part I auction at Sotheby's New York January 29, 2015 with a great John Constable study of Salisbury Cathedral, an excellent Circle of Rogier van der Weyden and fine works by Lorenzo Pasinelli, Hubert Robert and Giovanni Tiepolo
See The City Review article about the auction of The Abbott Guggenheim Collection A New York Kunstkammer of Renaissance and Baroque bronzes at Christie's New York January 27, 2015
See The City Review article about the Renaissance paintings auction at Christie's New York January 28, 2015 with a great Bronzino and very good works by Bassano, studio of Botticelli, circle of Cranach and Jacopo Del Sellaio

See The City Review article about the Renaissance Paintings auction at Christie's New York January 29, 2014 with the very spectacular Rothschild Prayerbook, a great Pontormo, a great Circle of  Leonardo da Vinci, a great Lucas Cranach, a marvelous Laocoon by Alessandro Allori, a very nice small Gerard David and a wonderful Adriaen Eisenbradt
See The City Review article about the Important Old Master Paintings auction at Sotheby's New York January 30, 2014 with fine works by El Greco, Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Fragonard
See The City Review article about the Old Master Paintings Part I auction at Christie's New York January 29, 2014 with great works by Ter Borch and Sir William Beechey and Ferdinand Bol
See The City Review article about The Courts of Europe Renaissance to Rococo auction at Sotheby's New York January 30, 2014 with a three-sided view portrait of a gyrfalcon, a great Benjamin West and a fine Willem van Tetrode
See The City Review article about the
Old Master Drawings auction at Sotheby's New York January 29, 2014 with several works by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo
See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters Auction at Sotheby's New York Winter 2013

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters Auction at Christie's New York Winter 2013

See The City Review article on the Renaissance auction at Christie's New York Winter 2013

See The City Review article on Old Master Drawings auction at Christie's Winter 2013

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Sotheby's New York Winter 2012

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Sotheby's Winter 2011

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Christie's Winter 2010

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Sotheby's Winter 2010

See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Sotheby's Winter 2009
See The City Review article on the Important Old Masters auction at Christie's January 28, 2009
See The City Review article on the Old Master Paintings auction at Christie's April 15, 2008
See The City Review article on the Old Master Paintings auction at Christie's April 19, 2007
See The City Review article on the January 27, 2005 Important Old Masters Auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the January, 2004 Old Masters auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the January 24, 2003 Old Masters auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Winter 2001 Old Masters Paintings auction at Christie's
See The City Review article on the Winter 2001 Old Masters Paintings auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Spring 2001 Old Masters auction at Sotheby's
See The City Review article on the Old Masters auction at Christie's January 26, 2001
See The City Review article on the Important Old Master Paintings Auction at Sotheby's, Jan. 28, 2000
See The City Review article on the Recap of Old Master Paintings auction at Sotheby's May 28, 1999
See The City Review article on the Recap of Old Master Paintings auction at Christie's, May 25, 1999

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