Lot 1 is
a very pleasant "Madonna
and Child with the Infant Saint John The Baptist" by the
Master of the Fiesole Epiphany who was active in Florence the
15th Century. The tempera and gold on panel with arched top measures
29 7/8 by 17 1/8 inches. The work was sold in Paris as School
of Fra Filippo [Lippi], but Everett Fahy published it in 1976
as by the Master of the Fiesole Epiphany and reconfirmed that
attribution last year, adding that that artist may be "identical
to Jacopo del Sellaio's workshop companion, Filippo di Giuliano."
The lot, whih is being offered without reserve, has an estimate
of $40,000 to $60,000. It sold for $128,500 including the
premium as do all results mentioned in this article. Of the 210
lots offered, 137 sold for $14,189,500.
Lot 3 is
an impressive tempera
and gold on panel with arched top by Giovanni dal Ponte
entitled "The Madonna and Child with Saints John the Baptist,
Andrew, Anthony Abbot, and Nicholas of Bari; the Annunciation
in the predella." The work measures 46 by 24 inches. It was
once in the collection of Victor Spark of New York. The catalogue
entry for the lot notes that "The figure of Saint John the
Baptist in this composition can be compared to the same figure
in two versions of Giovanni's Triptych: Coronation of the Virgin
(Musée Condé, Chantilly; and Accademia, Florence).
The fall of the Virgin's robe, with the right side draped over
her left knee, recalls in reverse Spinello's treatment of the
same subject (Pinacoteca, Cittŕ di Castello). The artist,
whose studio was at Santa Stefano a Pontein Florence, is believed
to have been a student of Spinello Aretino."
being offered without
reserve and has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It sold
the highlights of the
auction is Lot 8, "The Madonna and Child with Two Angels,"
a tempera and oil on tondo panel that is 33 inches in diameter
and is attributed in the catalogue to the Studio of Alessandro
Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli (Florence, 1445/5-1510). The
work is property from the collection of William and Eleanor Wood
Prince of Chicago and had been with George Salting of London circa,
1875, and then sold in 1885 to Robert and Evelyn Benson of London
and then was with Duveen in London in 1927 and with Baron Michele
Lazzaroni of Rome, John Levy Galleries of New York and then Mr.
E. W. Edwards of Cincinnati, thence descent to his daughter, Eleanor
Wood Prince of Chicago.
which has been widely
published, has an extremely modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.
It sold for $152,500.
catalogue njotes that Mr.
Salting left Vermeer's "A Young Woman Seated at a Virginal"
to the National Gallery in London and a sketch by Rembrandt of
"Two Women Teaching a Child to Walk" to the British
Museum. The Benson collection included four panelsby Duccio and
masterpieces by Bellini, Giorgione,Titian, Veronese and Botticelli.
catalogue entry states, "shares a number of compositional
and stylistic traits with other works by Botticelli and by his
large and prolific studio. The device of the Madonna's fingers
disappearing into the folds of her blue robe reappears frequently;
compare, for instance, La Primavera (Uffizi, Florence) and The
Last Communion of Saint Jerome (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New
York). The pink and blue striped veil wrapped loosely around her
hair, perhaps a studio prop, features in the Madonna della Melagrana
(Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence) as well as in the Madonna del
Magnificat (Uffizi, Florence). This painting is in many ways close
to a tondo from Botticelli's workshop, the Virgin and Child with
Six Angels and the Baptist in the Galleria Borghese, Rome: the
gesture of blessing made by Christ; the costume of the young Baptist;
the frame-like device of the architecture behind the Madonna;
and the vases of pink roses on the windowsill are all remarkably
panting looks very much
an authentic Botticelli.
large tondo from the
collection of William and Eleanor Wood Prince of Chicago is Lot
10, "The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist
and two shepherds" that the catalogue states is by The Master
of Memphis (active Florence circa 1500 - 1510). The tempera on
tondo panel is 44 1/8 inches in diameter.
was sold at Christie's
in London March 24, 1961 as "Filippino Lippi" to Agnew's
for 7,000 guineas. Its estimate at this auction is $500,000 to
$800,000. It sold for $302,500.
catalogue provides the
Lippi (c. 1457-1504),
in whose orbit the artist of the present painting was certainly
active, was the son and pupil of Fra Filippo Lippi (c. 1406-1459),
and was taught also by his father's student, Sandro Botticelli.
His paintings are characterized by an expressive linearity, and
his ability to keep at the forefront of contemporary tastes won
him numerous prestigious commissions from patrons including Lorenzo
(il Magnifico) de'Medici and Filippo Strozzi. Filippino is perhaps
best known for his extensive fresco cycle for the Strozzi Chapel
in Santa Maria Novella, Florence. He was a prolific and talented
draftsman and certainly ran his own studio at some point, though
little is known about his pupils. Artists known to have been
to or at least influenced by Filippino include Raffaelino del
Garbo, Vincenzo Frediani, and the anonymous author of the present
work, the Master of Memphis. Works
given to the Master of Memphis, an as-yet unidentified assistant
of Filippino, are grouped after a signal work in the collection
of the Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis. Painted in tondo format,
this work has in the past been considered a collaboration between
Filippino and Raffaelino del Garbo; according to a 1962 opinion
by Dr. Alfred Scharf, he believed the landscape and two shepherds
to be the work of Filippino himself and the Saint Joseph and Saint
John to be by Raffaelino. However, recent scholars, including
Everett Fahy, Jonathan Nelson and Patrizia Zambrano, have all
attributed this tender devotional image to the anonymous Master
of Memphis. His paintings can be identified by the characteristically
long and slender fingers and toes of his figures, their rather
abrupt gestures and voluminous drapery, with numerous folds and
pleats - all traits evident in the present Holy Family with Saint
John the Baptist and Shepherds.There is a version of this composition,
without the infant Saint John and slightly reduced in size (diameter
86 cm.), formerly on the art market in Naples in 1928, and the
original composition may well derive from a now-lost sketch or
painting by Filippino. We can also compare the figures of the
shepherds conversing in the background to those in a tondo given
to the Master of Memphis, in the collection of the Petit Palais,
Avignon. In both instances, the artist uses the architectural
ruins as a visual device, physically separating the earthly figures
of the shepherds from the heavenly figures of the Madonna and
Child, Saint Joseph, and Saint John. In many respects this tondo
is close to similar works given to Filippino himself, and thus
also demonstrates the influence of Fra Filippo Lippi and Botticelli.
There is a particular, obvious delight in the details of the landscape
background that is typical of Filippino, with the descriptions
of the tiny plants and grasses in the foreground, as well as the
hazy blue mountains and towers of the town in the distance. The
rustic shepherds, taken from Filippino, may ultimately derive
from Hugo van der Goes's Portinari Altarpiece, which arrived in
Florence in 1483 and proved a significant influence on the staffage
of Filippino's paintings later in his career."
the composition is not
bad, the handling of the figures is not entirely graceful.
is a work of considerable
charm as a small leopard stands apart from the crowd witnessing
the magi's adoration. The oil on canvas was painted by Marco Marizle
(Venice, 1492-1507) and measures 30 3/4 by 37 inches. It has a
modest estimate of $12,000 to $18,000. It sold for $98,500.
The lot has been consigned by the Virginia Museum of Fine Art
to benefit its acquisition fund. It was once at Newhouse Galleries
in New York where it was attributed to "Carpaccio and Studio."
catalogue entry notes that
"Marco Marziale is known primarily through two signed and
dated altarpieces painted for churches in Cremona: The Circumcision
commissioned for San Silvestro and The Virgin and Child enthroned
with Saints Gall, John the Baptist, Roch (?) and Bartholomew for
San Gallo (both National Gallery, London). Comparison to these
works allows us to safely place the present painting among the
dozen or so works ascribed to him. In this Adoration of the
Magi, Marco Marziale shows
his hard-edge, descriptive style. His figures are tightly spaced
and ordered within the composition and are characteristically
slightly wooden. The attention to details of costume, in which
the artist normally delighted, is seen here only in the ferronnerie
damask silk cloak of the kneeling figure of Melchior and may previously
have been more prominent in the painting. Marziale does not hesitate
to borrow from Bellini's pictorial vocabulary, however. The arrangement
of the Madonna and Child is a direct quote from The Madonna and
Child with saints and donors, known as the Pourtalčs Madonna
(Pierpont Morgan Library, New York), which was produced in Bellini's
studio. The Magus Caspar, standing in prayer to the left of the
Holy Family, is first used by Marziale in The Circumcision (dated
1499; Museo Correr, Venice) and again in the Cremona altarpiece,
but the appearance of the same figure in The Circumcision from
Bellini's workshop (National Gallery, London) suggests that it
too was borrowed. The frieze-like arrangement of the figures in
a panoramic landscape is reminiscent of the Adoration of Magi,
once thought to be by Bellini and now given to his workshop (National
is a very detailed and
good river landscape with many people and some windmills by Jan
Brueghel II (Antwerp, 1601-1678). An oil on panel, it measures
17 by 26 1/8 inches. It has a modest estimate of $300,000 to $500,000.
It sold for $434,500. The painting was selected
"Fuhrermuseum Linz" in 1941 and returned to the Netherlands
in 1947 where it remained at the Instituut Collectie Nederland
until restituted to the heirs of Hugo Kaufmann in 2007.
catalogue entry for this
lot declares that "Bustling harbor scenes were a significant
part of the work of both Breughel the Elder and Younger, but the
present River landscape with windmills and ships is a unique
adding that "It is most assuredly an independent work by
Jan Brueghel II in which he explores his own ability to interweave
in a new way themes developed by his father."
is a very impressive
set by Francisco de Zurbaran Baqdajoz (Madrid, 1598-1664) and
his studio of the "Twelve Sibyls: Persian, Erythraean, Cumaean,
Tiburtine, Delphic, Hellespontic, Egyptian, Samian, Libyan, Cuman,
European and Phyrgian." Each oil on canvas measures about
74 by 42 inches. The lot has a modest estimate of $2,000,000 to
$3,000,000. The lot failed to sell, but after the sale it was
disclosed that an after-sale took place and it was bought by a
private American collector.
Sibyls, each a vibrant, expressively painted figure on her own
and visually stunning as a group, are perhaps even more fascinating
for the art historical questions posed by their origins: specifically,
the duality of their typically Spanish style and foreign iconography.
The series of Sibyls fits logically into Zurbarán's studio
production around 1650, during a period of financial crisis in
Spain, worsened by the plague of 1649. As commissions from local
clientele fell off, Zurbarán turned increasingly toward
a colonial market. With his assistants he produced several series
- martyred saints, Roman emperors, biblical figures - for clients
in the Americas. We know of at least two extant series of Sibyls:
the complete set discussed here, and a second, smaller-scale,
incomplete set of four. One series was recorded in the possession
of the Spanish collectors Don Antonio and Don Aniceto Bravo, and
subsequently dispersed by their heirs, though it is unclear which
set they owned as both match the descriptions in the Bravo collection
catalogues equally well. If we allow for the possibility of additional,
as-yet unknown sets, the provenance becomes increasingly murky.
uncertainty is the thematic
origins of Zurbarán's Sibyls: their iconography is not
traditionally Spanish, prompting us to look for sources from afar.
Angulo and Soria remind us that a number of Spanish painters were
influenced by Flemish prints, particularly Zurbarán and
Diego Velazquez. César Pemán points out that Zurbarán's
series of twelve Roman Caesars on horseback, sent to Lima in 1647,
was inspired by a print series by Pieter Mulier (called Pietro
Tempesta). The theme of the twelve Sibyls had a lengthy history
in Western art, but saw a resurgence of popularity in the Renaissance,
with its emphasis on the study of classical antiquity. It is,
therefore, no surprise to find that there is a direct print source
for the paintings - what is surprising is to find that there are
two, one French and one Flemish. The former is by Claude Vignon,
engraved by Rousselet and published in Paris. At the foot of each
Sibyl is a label with her name and several accompanying lines
of verse. The other set of prints is by Pieter de Jode II, whose
figures resemble Vignon's, but with longer faces and heavier limbs.
The greatest differences between the two sets lie in the tiny
evangelical scenes illustrated in the background of each: Vignon
favored smaller figures, more nervous and active, with a greater
contrast of light and shadow between foreground and background;
Jode preferred fewer, larger figures, which he situated closer
to the picture plane. It is not certain which set of prints served
Zurbarán as his model. Vignon had fairly limited influence
in Spain: he only spent time in Barcelona, in his youth and without
much consequence; nevertheless, it is probable that Vignon's prints
were Zurbarán's source, because Zurbarán's figures
(with the sole exception of the Cumaean Sibyl) are oriented in
the same direction as Vignon's, and the reverse of Jode's.
levels of quality
suggest a certain degree of studio participation in the present
series of paintings: for instance, the outstretched left hand
of the Cumaean Sibyl, fingers gracefully bent, is more finely
painted than the outstretched left hand of the Delphic Sibyl.
Overall, the positions of the Sibyls and their attributes follow
the printed models very closely, but for obvious reasons Zurbarán
could flex his creative muscles when it came to the color scheme....The
twelve Sibyls of Greek and Roman mythology were priestesses of
Apollo endowed with the gift of prophecy. In the Middle Ages,
the Catholic church adopted them into Christian iconography, as
pagan counterparts to the Old Testament prophets and foretellers
of the coming of Christ. In Zurbarán's hands, they are
united by composition and color palette, yet distinguished by
a variety of poses and the individual characterization of face
and figure. Their monumental scale, luminous coloring, and balanced,
sculptural forms resonate just as strongly today as they did when
is a very fine small
portrait of Saint Peter by Giovanni Francesco Barbieri, il Guercino
(1591-1666). An oil on canvas, it measures 19 3/4 by 15 3/4 inches.
It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It failed to sell.
catalogue notes that "This
painting is a new addition to Guercino's oeuvre."
is a striking still
life by Jean Siméon Chardin (1699-1779) that is an oil
on canvas that measures 19 1/4 by 34 1/4 inches. It was acquired
by its present owner at Sotheby's in New York January 14, 1988
for $792,000. It as an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000. It
failed to sell.
catalogue entry for this
lot notes that "Pierre Rosenberg has proposed that this spare
and powerful painting is among the earliest works by Chardin in
which he deployed the quotidian household utensils that would
become characteristic of his kitchen still lifes."
casualness of this depiction of mundane elements," it continued,
"Chardin has in fact arranged them with great artistry into
an eloquent composition of unexpected monumentality. Probably
painted around 1725 or shortly thereafter, when Chardin was in
his mid-twenties, the painting displays none of the awkward
that one might expect from a young painter forging a new style
and working in a new genre; rather, it is a masterly achievement,
perfect and fully formed from the first. Its composition instills
the banal subject matter with timeless grandeur and poetry, while
Chardin's brush magically evokes the oily, lifeless scales of
the fish, the cool solidity of copper, the shimmering translucence
of water seen through glass, the rough hardness of nut shells,
the enameled glow of glazed pottery. In rejecting the prevailing
tradition in French still life painting of depicting settings
of great lavishness, costliness and opulence - a tradition that
reached an apogee in the still lifes of Desportes - Chardin invented
a new still life painting that has the immediacy, clarity and
timelessness of great art and strikes a modern chord. Rosenberg believes that the
painting was made as the pendant to another kitchen still life,
with scallions, apples, eggs and a bottle of wine that was in
the Kaiser Freidrich Museum in Berlin...and was destroyed in a
wartime bombing in 1945 (but is known from photographs); indeed,
the two paintings were on the same large scale - among the largest
kitchen still lifes that Chardin painted - and had complementary
compositions. The warm palette of the present lot is dominated
by a wide-range of subtly different shades of brown and other
earth tones, enlivened with surprising touches of blue, pink and
silver. The copper pot and lid and the pitcher here featured
came from Chardin's own kitchen and would reappear in numerous
paintings executed by the artist throughout the late 1720s and
Wintermute, a specialist
in the Christie's Old Masters Department, told a press preview
that the Chardin was one of the earliest still lifes painted by
the artist and one of the largest and had once had a pendant that
was in the collection of the Kaiser-Frederick-Museum in Berlin
that was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. It is
"a perfectly realized composition" and Chardin was the
first French artist to "look downstairs" for his still
life subject matter that when he painted it was probably considered
"lowly" and left his contemporary viewers "aghast."
auction has two fine works
by Benjamin West (1738-1820).
is a work by him and
John Trumbull (1756-1843) that is entitled "The Battle of
La Hogue." It is an oil on canvas that measures 64 3/4 by
96 1/4 inches and is dated 1778 and "retouched" 1806.
It has a very conservative estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It
sold for $722,500.
painting was offered by
West to the Pennsylvania Academy in 1809 and then by his sons
to the United States in 1828 and it was sold in 1829 to the Hon.
John Monckton of London and Fineshade Abbey, Stamford and his
family kept it until 1921 when it was sold and changed ownership
several times under it was acquired by Victor D. Spark, a major
dealer in New York. From 1958 to 1964 it was with James Graham
and Sons from which it was acquired by The Metropolitan Museum
of Art, where it was one of the showpieces of the American Painting
department, and then sold in 2006 at Sotheby's in New York for
$632,000 to the present owner.
to the catalogue,
monumental in scale and composition, depicts the Battle of La
Hogue, a crucial naval action of the War of the Grand Alliance
in which the English and Dutch fleets successfully defeated a
large French invasion in May 1692. West first approached the subject
in 1780, in a closely-related work, which he exhibited at the
Royal Academy of that year (now National Gallery of Art,
battle, or more accurately a series of battles, was fought off
Cape La Hogue near Cherbourg and the English victory ended the
French threat of restoring James II (a Catholic) to the throne.
Depicted in the painting are both the battle's hero, Admiral George
Rooke (the figure with the sword in the small boat), and the exiled
King James II (standing on the distant cliff). As a personal touch,
West anachronistically added a portrait of his friend William
Williams, an early supporter in Philadelphia, behind the figure
of Rooke. Depictions
modern history subjects were a rather recent innovation, for which
West himself was largely responsible. His Death of Wolfe had been
applauded for its relative realism. Some conservative connoisseurs,
including the King himself, had urged West to paint the figures
in classical attire, envisioning the great victory on the Plains
of Abraham as a battle of Roman grandeur. West, who had made his
fame with paintings depicting classical antiquity, preferred a
more contemporary approach, and he dressed Wolfe and his troops
in military uniforms. While not exactly a radical approach, it
was highly innovative, and West's approach to history painting
was adopted by the majority of his contemporaries....On the 11th
of May, 1806, the painter Joseph Farington (1747-1821) visited
the studio of Benjamin West, who until recently had been the President
of the Royal Academy before his resignation was forced by a group
of Academicians, including his fellow American, John Singleton
Copley. There Farington viewed among other works a set of three
large history paintings, of the type that had made West's reputation.
West had planned the exhibition as a pointed reminder to the members
of the Academy of the powers of their former head; it proved a
huge success....The first version of the painting had been painted
for Richard, Lord Grosvenor, who owned a group of five large-scale
works by West (including the Wolfe) depicting scenes of 'modern'
English history. The composition was an immediate success. A review
of the Royal Academy exhibition of 1780, the year the picture
was first exhibited publicly, noted that The Battle of La Hogue
'exceeds all that ever came from Mr. West's pencil.' It was engraved
by Wollett the next year and a drawn copy with variations was
made by the Dutch artist Dirk Langendijk to serve as the model
of another engraving of 1783....In a very real way, the present
Battle of La Hogue epitomizes West's importance as the mentor
and supporter of the younger generation of American (as well as,
in fact, British) artists. It was almost immediately after finishing
this painting under West's direction that Trumbull became confident
enough to begin in the fall of 1785 his great series of paintings
depicting scenes of the American Revolution, beginning with the
Death of General Warren at Bunker Hill (Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford,
CT). West's encouragement and inspiration are evident throughout
that picture, and his praise of it was fulsome (he regarded it
as the best painting of a modern battle ever made). No less canny
an eye than Sir Joshua Reynolds made the mistake of confusing
the artists; when looking at the Bunker Hill, he said to West
that it was 'better colored than your works usually are,' at which
point West corrected his elder and gave Trumbull the credit."
other West, Lot 43, is
smaller, but still very large. It is entitled "Cupid and
Psyche" and is an oil on canvas that measures 54 1/4 by 56
1/4 inches. It is dated 1808 and has an estimate of $300,000 to
$500,000. It sold for $458,500. The painting,
been widely published, has been consigned by the Corcoran Gallery
of Art to benefit its acquisitions fund.
catalogue observes that
"West never exhibited the present work during his lifetime,
probably because of its erotic subject matter and it is not therefore
a canvas that would have been known to contemporary critics or
the public. For an artist, whose reputation and public image were
immensely important to him, it can be seen as an unusually personal
essay....West's treatment of Cupid and Psyche follows that found
in several other well-known works from the period, in particular
that by François Gérard of 1798 and Antonio Canova's
sculptural group of 1793 (both Louvre, Paris). The emphatic profiles
of both Cupid and Psyche in the present work suggest a lingering
influence of the French Neoclassical paintings that West had seen
on a visit to Paris in 1802. Indeed,
the present work is extremely close to Canova's composition which
West had seen in the Murat collection on that trip. "
auction includes five watercolors
by Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851). Lot 36 is entitled
"A View inthe Domleschg Valley, Switzerland" and it
measures 9 1/8 by 11/38 inches and has an estimate of $300,000
to $500,000. It sold for $398,500. It is property
the collection of William and Eleanor Wood Prince of Chicago and
was once owned by John Ruskin. The Princes were the owners of
a large Turner painting of Venice that set a record recently when
it was sold for more than $35 million.
is a small landscape
by John Constable (1776-1837) that is entitled "A View of
Salisbury." It is an oil on paper laid down on canvas that
measures 7 3/4 by 11 1/4 inches. It is property of the collection
of William and Eleanor Wood Prince of Chicago. It has an estimate
of $500,000 to $800,000. It sold for $1,082,500.
Davies, a specialist in the Old Masters Department, told a press
preview that the Constable sketch was done "en plein air"
and has pinholes where the artist pinned the paper to a board.
He suggested that the rain clouds in the sketch perhaps reflect
the artist's melancholic frame of mind and that as always in his
works the artist has included a small figure in red.
is a spectacular bronze
statue of Saturn Devouring a Male Child. The catalogue says it
is "after Pietro Francavilla (1546/7-1615). It is 18 1/4
inches high and was once in the collection of Queen Marie or Romania.
It is one of four known versions. It has an estimate of $700,000
to $900,000. It failed to sell. It is property
collection of Professior and Mrs. Clifford Ambrose Truesdell.
press preview, Nicholas
Hall, co-head of Christie's International Old Masters Department,
said that the statue is "probably the most discrete depiction
of cannibalism and infanticide and is excessively baroque"
and was probably a model after one made by Bologna. He said that
a recent Old Masters auction in London last month indicated that
the market "remains rather robust despite the economic turmoil...if
sensibly calibrated," adding that "there were more bidders
than in July."
that the the collection
of the late Julian Held being offered was very interesting as
it reflected his "eccentric taste" on "a professor's
salary" and that its Quentin Massys is "remarkable."
that there has been
"tremendous pre-sale interest" as many lots are being
sold "without reserve" by a consignor "not in a
hurry to sell."
the most lyrical and
beautiful works in the auction is lot 65, a small oil study on
paper laid down on canvas that is one about 30 preliminary studies
by Federico Barocci (circa 1535-1612) for the Entombment of Christ
altarpiece in the Church of Santa Croce in Senigallia. It is the
cover illustration of the catalogue and it measures 15 1/2 by
11 3/4 inches and has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It
sold for $1,762,500.
is a fine portrait of
a man with the Order of Saint Michael by Nicolo Dell'Abate (circa
1509-1571). An oil on canvas, it measures 22 by 18 1/2 inches
and has an estimate of $400,000 to $600,000. It failed to
is a fabulous trompe
l'oeil painting of hawking equipment, including a glove, a net,
and falconry hoods, hanging on a wall, by Christoffel Pierson
(1631-1714). It is an oil on canvas that measures 19 1/2 by 26
inches. The artist was a student of Bartholomaus Meyburgh, with
whom he traveled to Germany and he established himself in 1654
in Gouda. The lot has an estimate of $50,000 to $80,000. It
sold for $74,500. It is an extraordinary composition.
essay in the catalogue,
John Walsh, the director emeritus of the J. Paul Getty Museum,
recalled studying under Julius Held, who died in 2002, at Columbia
University and visiting his apartment nearby on Claremont Avenue.
"The walls were dense with paintings of all periods that
had no labels. There were sculptures, drawings, venerable furniture,
a harpsichord, Persian carpets...and a strange fragance in the
air coming from the maid's room that served as the studio of
Petterseen Held, called Pim, the first restorer I ever saw at
work. The fragance was picture varnish."
essay has been contributed
by Walter Liedtke, curator of paintings at the Metropolitan Museum
was many things
to many people: a much admired teacher at Barnard College and
Columbia University (fro 1937 to 1970) as well as N. Y. U., Yale,
Bryn Mawr, Williams Collee, and elsewhere; one of the world's
leading historians of Dutch and Flemish art, known above all for
his work on Rembrandt and Rubens; a loving husband and father;
a dear friend and colleague of men and women spanning four or
five generations; and a collector of paintings, drawings and prints
that dated back to the sixteenth century but also included works
by important modern artists that he happened to know....Between
1931 and 1934 Held served as Max Friedlander's junior colleague
in the Kaiser-Friedrich-Museum, Berlin. The advice of Hans Jantzen
and the hospitality of the collector Clarence Palitz brought Held
to New York in 1934."
is a amusing and exotic
work by Quentin Massys (1466-1530) that is entitled "An Allegory
of Folly." An oil on panel, it measures 23 3/4 by 18 3/4
inches. The catalogue notes that the painting was probably executed
circa 1510 when "fools were commonly found at court or carnivals,
performing in morality plays." "Sometimes a fool would
be mentally handicapped, to be mocked for the amusement of the
general public. Massys has chosen to represent his fool with a
wen, a lump on the forehead, which was believed to contain a 'stone
of folly' responsible for stupidity or mental handicap....Massys'
fool was nearly an exact contemporary of Erasmus' Praise of
Folly, in which the character of Folly is in fact a wise and
perceptive commentator on folly in others....The traditional costume
of the fool includes a hooded cape with the head of a cock and
the ears of an ass, as well as bells, here attached to a red belt.
The fool holds a staff known as a marotte, or
with a small figure of another fool - himself wearing the identifying
cap. The staff would have been used as a puppet for satirical
skits or plays, and the figure's obscene gesture of dropping his
trousers, symbolic of the insults associated with fools, was once
overpainted by a previous owner whofound it overly shocking....Massys'
fool is made even more grotesque by his hideous deformities -
an exaggerated, beaked nose and hunched back - and thin-lipped,
toothless smirk. Grotesque figures were a favorite theme of the
artist, making regular appearances in his painters as tormenters
of Christ or in allegories of Unequal Lovers. This
an awareness of the grotesque head studies of Leonardo da Vinci,
whose drawings had made their wway northward from Italy."
The lot has estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for
major painting in the
Held collection is Lot 65, "A Woman Enraged," an oil
on panel by Pieter Huys (1520-1584). It measures 25 1/2 by 19
3/4 inches and has an estimate of $100,000 to $150,000. It
failed to sell. The catalogue notes that "stylistically,
he falls withon the orbit of Hieronymous Bosch, whose work remained
popular and influential through the sixteenth century." "Thematically,
Huys favored moralizing scenes with layers of symbolic meaning,
such as the present Woman Enraged, an allegory of
and Avarice, which are Deadly Sins, a favorite topic for artist's
from Huys' era.
Hall, the head of Christie's
department, said "we are pleased with the excellent results
achieved for Part I of "The Scholar's Eye: Property from
the Julius Held Collection. It is a fitting tribute to Professor
Held's connoisseurship that 85 percent of the works were purchased
and at prices that soared beyond estimates in a number of cases.
We are particularly delighted by prices achieved for Joachin
Market Scene and for Lovis Corinth's Self Portrait, which sold
for more than four times it high estimate. In all, a healthy mix
of private, trade, and institutional buyers were active participants
in today's sale, yielding very strong results for the Old Master's
category." The Bueckelaer, Lot 41, sold for $542,000, way
over its $300,000 high estimate, and the Corinth sold for $254,500.
Of the 68 offered lots, 58 sold for a total of $2,546,875.