there are no blockbusters in this Old Masters auction at Christie's
in New York May 29, 2003, there are several good lots including
two very nice Renaissance paintings.
The cover illustration of the auction's catalogue is Lot 128,
"The Virgin Seated on a Low Wall Picking a Flower for the
Christ Child, Saint Agnes, Saint Dorothea, and another female
saint (possibly Saint Barbara) in a Enclosed Garden Beyond, an
Extensive River Landscape with a City in the Distance." The
oil on panel measures 13 3/4 by 9 inches and is dated on the wall
middle right 1468.
The panel is in very condition and is a very fine composition
with many good details such as a pair of swans swimming and a
pheasant on a wall.
The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:
"The present work, formerly attributed by scholars to Dieric
Bouts or to an artist working in his circle, is a recent important
addition to the Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl's oeuvre. This as
yet anonymous but clearly defined artistic personality was active
in Leuven and in Haarlem in the last quarter of the 15th Century.
The picture is in a remarkable state of conservation and is dated
1468, which places it among the earliest works recorded by this
artist and in fact makes it an important document of his early
development. The depiction of the architecture, the landscape,
the animals and the palette all fit very consistently in the master's
work. The influence of Dieric Bouts, his likely master, is to
be found in the figure of the Christ child and in the handling
of the drapery. The Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl was christened
by M. J. Friendlander after a painting of the Tiburtine Sibyl
and the Emperor Augustus in the Staedelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt.
Friedlander described this master as 'an excellent follower of
Dieric,' he was presumably trained in Bouts' workshop in Leuven
before he moved to Haarlem circa 1480-1482 where he established
a large workshop. A replica, with differences, of the present
composition was in the Cathedral of Litomerice, Czech Republic.
Friedlander notes that the Litomerice panel is said to be dated
1498, although it was removed from the Cathedral during the second
World War and has not been seen since so this date can not be
Although the Virgin's cheeks are a bit puffy, the work is clearly
in the style of Dieric Bouts and has a modest estimate of $200,000
to $300,000. It sold for $433,600 including the buyer's
as do all the results mentioned in this article.
very sweet, small work is Lot 126, "Virgin and Child Enthroned
with Singing Angels Looking on a River Landscape Beyond,"
by Bruges School, oil on panel, 14 1/2 by 8 7/8 inches, circa
This work sold at Christie's May 31, 1990 for $71,500 as "Circle
of Hans Memling," presumably on the stylistic treatment of
the Child. It is a very nice picture in good condition and the
three angels on the right are quite charming. The tall columns
in the arched panel are rather unusual as they seem to soar off
into space. This handsome lot has a modest estimate of $30,000
to $40,000. It failed to sell.
Renaissance work is Lot 28, "Saint Francis Renouncing the
World for the Cloister," which is attributed in the catalogue
to Jan II van Coninxloo (circa 1489-1560). The oil on panel measures
44 3/4 by 33 inches and has an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000.
It sold for $93,000.
The work was published by G. F. Waagen in 1857 as by Mabuse and
depicting a scene from the Legend of St. Raymond of Toulouse.
In 1902, M. F. Friedlander described it as Flemish master circa
1510 and that same year G. H. de Loo suggested an attribution
to Jan Provost and the subject was described as possibly depicting
St. Francis of Assisi. In 1957, the painting was attributed to
the Master of St. Giles in an exhibition at the City Manchester
Art Gallery. The catalogue entry observes that the "attribution
to Jan II van Coninxloo has been suggested for the present work
based on comparison with other paintings" and the entry sites
a 1992 study C. Engellau-Gullander, adding that "Jan II van
Coninxloo worked in the circle of Barent van Orley in Southern
Flanders in the first half of the fifteenth century."
The faces of many of the figures certainly are consistent stylistically
with many of the artists to whom the work has been attributed
over the years. The composition is rather unusual in that the
disrobed saint appears to be quite small and the person disrobing
him seems to be quite huge.
interesting work is Lot 71, "Christ Before Pontius Pilate
and Caiaphas," attributed to Simon Myle, oil on panel, 34
1/2 by 46 inches, dated 1567. The painting, which is in fine condition,
was listed as "artist unknown" in the 1962 book, "The
Bob Jones University Collection of Religious Paintings."
It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. It failed to sell.
Lot 127 is a dramatic scene of the Adoration of the Magi that
is attributed in the catalogue to the Circle of the Master of
1518. An oil on panel that measures 32 1/8 by 23 inches. With
black drapery and some black garments it is particularly striking
and quite handsome. It has an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
It sold for $21,600.
The auction has two very handsome works by Giovanni Paolo Panini
(1691-1765), Lots 58 and 63.
Lot 58 is
a "Capriccio View of the Colisseum and Arch of Constantine
near the Roman Forum, with the Statue of the Dying Gaul and Trajan's
Column" by Giovanni Paolo Panini and Studio. The oil on canvas
measures 39 1/2 by 54 inches and has an estimate of $150,000 to
$200,000. It failed to sell. The catalogue entry
that in his catalogue raisonné on Panini, Fernando Arisi
observes that there are three versions of this composition, one
formerly in the collection of the Duke of Sutherland dated 1741,
one formerly in the collection of the Bates College Museum of
Art, and another in a private collection. This lot was consigned
by an estate.
"A Capriccio of Classical Ruins with Christ Healing the Lame
at the Pool of Bethesda," is an oil on canvas by Giovanni
Paolo Panini. It measures 42 1/4 by 46 inches and has an estimate
of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold for $38,400. When
at Christie's, New York, January 10, 1990, this work was accompanied
by a letter from Professor Ferdinando Arisi stating that on the
basis of photographs he accepted the painting as an autograph
work by Panini.
nice, but much smaller "capriccio" is Lot 60,"
Capriccio with a Church and Tower, a Fishing Boat and Gondolas
in the Foreground," by Francisco Guardi (1712-1793). The
oil on panel measures 7 by 9 1/2 inches and has an estimate of
$40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $55,200.
Venetian scene is Lot 157, "View of the Flooded Piazza San
Marco, Venice, December 9, 1825," by Vincenzo Chilone (1758-1839).
An oil on canvas, it measures 23 1/2 by 31 1/4 inches and has
an estimate of $50,000 to $70,000 and is the frontispiece of the
catalogue. It sold for $114,000.
Lot 55 is a large work by Giovanni Battista Lenardi (1656-1704)
that was donated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman of New York
in 1984 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which has consigned
the painting to this auction. Entitled "The Assumption of
the Virgin with Saints Nicholas of Myra and Anne," it is
an oil on canvas that measures 100 3/4 by 66 1/2 inches. It has
an estimate of $60,000 to $80,000. It sold for $66,000. The
catalogue notes that "the present painting, initially published
as the work of Domenichino when it appeared on the art market
in 1978, can now be identified with an altarpiece painted by Giovanni
Battista Lenardi for San Giuseppe dei Falegnami, Rome," adding
that "Lenardi, whose works has only recently been studied
in depth, was a pupil of Pietro da Cortona and Lazzaro Baldi."