Art/Auctions logo

Important Old Master Paintings

Sotheby's

January 27, 2011

Sale 8712

"Sacra Conversazione" by Titian

Lot 156, "A Sacra Conversazione: The Madonna and Child with Saints Luke and Catherine of Alexandria," by Titian, oil on canvas, 50 1/4 by 66 3/4 inches

By Carter B. Horsley

The Important Old Master Paintings auction at Sotheby's January 27, 2011 is one of the most  impressive such auctions in recent years with many museum quality works highlighted by a major Titian, a magnificent Giampietrino, a fine sketch by Rubens, a great van Ruysdael, some wonderful Jan Brueghel the Elders, a pair of Botticelli's, a lovely small Fragonard and many interesting Italian Reniassance paintings.

The Titian is lot 156.  It is an oil on canvas that measures 50 1/4 by 66 3/4 inches.  According to Sotheby's, it is the finest work by Titian to come "onto the open market for two decades."  It has a very modest estimate of $15,000,000 to $20,000,000.  It is being sold by the Heinz Sisters Foundation.  The catalogue devotes about 16 pages to the lot.  It sold for $16,882,500 including the buyer's premium as do all results mentioned in this article.  The sale set an auction record for the artist.

The total for the auction was $78,621,500.

"Sacra Conversazione" by Titian, detail

Detail of Lot 156

The painting was acquired from the Dondi dell'Orologio family by Sir Richard Worsley (1751-1805) during his time in Venice as the last British Resident.  a French privateer captured the ship transporting Worsley's collection back to England and then sold it and it was acquired for Lucien Bonaparte who was Minister for the Arts under the Napoleonic regime.  It eventually entered and left several English collections and some time before 1857 entered the "illustrious Desborough collection" having been acquired by Charles Pascoe Greenfell who bought Taplow Court in 1852.  In 1867 the estate was inherited by Charles Pascoe's grandson William Henry, who was raised to peerage as the first (and last) Baron Desborough in 1905, the same year in which his wife Ethel (Ettie) née Fane was bequeathed the Panshanger Estate in Hertfordshire from her childless uncle, the seventh and last Earl Cowper, Thomas deGray.  Talplow Court was sold in 1952 for demolition.

"Madonna of the Cherries" by Giampietrino

Lot 137, "Madonna of the Cherries," by Giampiertrino, oil on panel, 25 by 19 inches

The auction's second most important offering is Lot 137, "The Virgin and Child by a Window (Madonna of the Cherries)," by Giovanni Pietro Rizzoli, called Giampiertrino, active in Lombardy circa 1495-1540).  It is an oil on panel that measures 25 by19 inches.  It is property of Robert M. Edsel of Dallas.

The painting is exquisite and in very good condition and is probably as close to a finished oil painting by Leonardo da Vinci as possible.  According to the catalogue entry, Giampietrino became "Leonardo's most faithful and productive interpreter in Lombardy" and this work "represents one of the artist's finest paintings."

"It is an essential work in the understanding not only of Giampietrino's career, but of his master Leonardo da Vinci's time in Milan, and how his presence there fundamentally transformed 16th Century Lombard painting.


Detail of Madonna with cherries by Giampietrino

Detail of Lot 137

This painting was formerly attributed to da Vinci and the catalogue notes that many versions of it by Joos van Cleve were made.  It concludes that "it is clear...that Giampietrinio must have made the present painting when he was working alonside Leonardo himself.  Indeed, this Madonna of the Cherries is unique, in that it is the only known Italian version of the composition."

In fact, it would not be stretch to imagine that it is a da Vinci.

It has a very modest estimate of $700,000 to $900,000. It sold for $2,770,500.



  "Christ Carrying The Cross" by Botticelli       "The Resurrection" by Botticelli

Lot 103, "Christ Carrying The Cross," and Lot 104, "The Resurrection" by Botticelli, tempera on panels transferred to canvases, approximately 52 by 42 inches each

Lot 103 is a pair of large tempera on panels transferred to canvases by Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi, called Sandro Botticelli and studio (Florence, 1445-1510) depicting "Christ Carrying the Cross" and "The Resurrection."  They measure approximately 52 by 42 inches each.  They were acquired by Max Aitkin, 1st Lord Beaverbrook (1879-1964) in 1963 and were on exhibition at The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in Frederickton, New Brunswick, Canada from 1963 to 2010.

The catalogue states that the paintings are from a set of four canvases depicting the Passion of Christ and that the other two, depicting the "Flagellation" and "Figures on the Road to Calvary" are at the Uffizi.  It said that "given their size and subject matter, these pictures were likely painted to cedorate a meeting room of a religious confraternity, or for some similar use."  It also noted that Federico Zeri saw the works when they were with the dealer David Carritt in London circa 1960 and recognized their relationship with the Uffizi works, which were then on deposit with the Pinacoteca in Arrezo.  "His assessment at the time...was the the group of pictures was by a follower of Botticelli," it said, but added that this assessment "seems rather summary given the quality of the present pair and the numberous changes revealed by a recent examination with infrared reflectography...which betray the participation of Botticelli himself to some degree."

Lot 103 has a very modest estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $722,500.  Lot 104 had a very modest estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $662,500.  

Altarpiece by the Master of Pratovecchio

Lot 107, "The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Flanked by Saint Bridget and the Archangel Michael," by The Master of Pratovecchio, tempera on panel, 79 by 85 inches

Lot 107 is a large altarpiece by The Master of Pratovecchio, active in and around Florence circa 1450.  Entitled "The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Flanked by Saint Bridget and the Archangel Michael, it is tempera on panel and measures 79 by 85 inches.  It is being sold by the J. Paul Getty Museum.  In the 20th Century, it was attributed at various times to Alessio Baldovinetti and Andrea del Castagno and Bernard Berenson attributed it to Giovanni di Francesco (The Master of the Carrand Triptych).

It has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000, perhaps because the panel on the left is much inferior in quality to the other two.  The catalogue notes that it is clear that the artist "must have come in contact with, and been influenced by not only Domenico Veneziano but also Donatello.  It sold for $902,500.

"TheNativity" by Benevuto di Giovanni and Girolamo di Benevuto

Lot 108, "The Nativity" by Benevuto di Giovanni and Giralamo di Benevuto, tempera on panel, 78 1/2 by 63 inches

Another property of the Getty in the auction is Lot 108, a large, pleasant and impressive altarpiece of "The Nativity" by Benevuto di Giovanni (Siena, 1470-after 1518) and Giralamo di Benevuto (Siena,1470-1534), his son.  A tempera on panel, it measures 78 1/2 by 63 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  It sold for $506,500.

 "The Triumph of Scipio Africanus" by Apollonio di Giovanni

Lot 118, "The Triumph of Scipio Africanus," by Apollonio di Giovanni, tempera and gold leaf on panel, 15 3/4 by 24 inches

Lot 118 is a very good "Triumph of Scipio Africanus" by Apollonio di Giovanni, Florence, circa 1416-1465.  A tempera and gold leaf on panel, it measures 15 3/4 by 24 inches.  It is being sold by the estate of Jan Mitchell.  It has an estimate of $300,000 to $500,000. It sold for $542,500.

"The Holy Family" by Sodoma

Lot 130, "The Holy Family with the Infant Baptist in a Landscape," by Sodoma, 30 inches in diameter, tempera and oil on panel

Lot 130 is a nice tondo of "The Holy Family with the infant Baptist in a Landscape" by Giovanni Antonio Bazzi, called Sodoma (Vercelli, 1477-1549 Siena).  The tempera and oil painting is on panel and measures 30 inches in diameter.  It was once in the collection of Prince Golinsheff Koutousoff of Saint Petersburg and Mr. and Mrs. Cyrus Hall McCormick of Chicago  It has an estimate of $600,000 to $800,000.  It sold for $722,500.

"Perseus and Andromeda" by Brueghel and Rottenhammer

Lot 122, "Perseus and Andromeda," by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hans Rottenhammer the Elder, oil on copper, 8 1/4 by 13 1/8 inches

Some auctions present collectors with overwhelming and very frustrating choices.  If one cannot get the Titian or the Giampiertino what will quell the collector's lust.  Perhaps Lot 122, a lovely and very fine oil on copper painting of Perseus and Andromeda by Jan Brueghel the Elder, Brussels 1568u-1625, and Hans Rottenhammer, Munich 1564-1625.  The work measures only 8 1/4 by 13 1/8 but the oils by such masters in this medium have a jewelly luminosity and color that is simply delectable!  The lovely female nude was probably a great-great-great-grandmother of one of Rembrandt's nudes and the "jaws" predates Benchley and Spielberg nicely while Perseus, of course, was a great Superman in days of yore.  This lot has a modest estimate of $400,000 to $600,000  and would speak volumes in any connoisseur's cabinet!  It sold for $962,500.

Landscape by Brueghel

Lot 123, "A Panoramic Landscape with a Covered Wagon and Travelers on a Highway," by Jan Brueghel the Elder, oil on copper, 8 by 12 1/2inches

An even smaller oil on copper by Brueghel the Elder without the help of Rottenhammer is Lot 123, "A Pastoral Landscape with a Covered Wagon and Travelers on a Highway."  It measures only 8 by 12 1/2 inches.  It has surprisingly a higher and more ambitious estimate than Lot 122: $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It sold for $1,874,500.
 
Return from the Kermesse by Pieter Brueghel

Lot 171, "Return from the Kermesse," by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, oil on oak panel, 19 5/8 by 31 1/8 inches

Lot 171 is a very fine village scene entitled "Return from the Kermesse" bby Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Brussels, 1564-1637/8.  An oil on oak panel, it measures 19 5/8 by 31 1/8 inches.  It has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.  The catalogue notes that there are about 18 versions of this subject by the artist and that this is one of the finest.  It sold for $4,562,500, an auction record for the artist.

"Townscape with Skaters on a Frozen River" by Jacob Grimmer

Lot 178, "Townscape with Skaters on a Frozen River," by Jacob Grimmer, oil on panel, 12 5/8 by 17 3/4 inches

Lot 178 is a very pleasant "townscape with skaters on a frozen river," by Jacob Grimmer, Antwerp, 1525/6-1590.  An oil on panel, it measures 12 5/8 by 17 3/4 inches.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000.  The catalogue notes that Grimmer was "lavishly praised by Vasari."  It sold for $182,500.

"Town with figures working in bleaching fields" by Gysels

Lot  162, "A Town with Figures Working in Bleaching Fields inthe Foreground," by Pieter Gysels, oil on copper, 9 7/8 by 12 3/8 inches

Lot 162 is a lovely oil on copper by Pieter Gysels, Antwerp 1621-1690 that is entitled "A Town with Figures Working in Bleaching Fields in the Foreground."  It measures 9 7/8 by 12 /38 inches.  It has an estimate of $150,000 to $200,000.  It failed to sell.

Landscape by van Ruysdael


Lot 146, "Ferry boat with cattle on the river Vecht near Nijenrod," by Salomon van Ruysdael, oil on canvas, 41 3/4 by 58 inches

In the early and mid-20th Century nice works by Salomon van  Ruysdael, Naarden 1600/3-1670, were highly sought after by the nation's leading collectors.  This very fine, large and lovely  riverscape by him surprisingly has a very modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  Entitled "Ferry Boat with Cattle on the River Vecht near Nijenrod," this work measures 41 3/4 by 58 inhes and was once in the collection of Josiah Quincy, a mayor of Boston, and Elizabeth Gardner Amory, a niece of Isabella Stewart Gardner.  It sold for $506,500.

"The Martydom of Saint Paul" by Rubens

Lot 161, "The Martydom of Saint Paul," by Peter Paul Rubens, oil on panel, 15 by 9 inches

Lot 161 is a very fine sketch by Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) for a large altarpiece for the High Altar of the Church of the Augustinian Priory of Rood Kloster near Brussels.  The oil on panel measures 15 by 9 inches and was first recorded in the collection of Sir Robert Staynor Holford who had acquired it in 1847 in Florence.  Later it was owned by Thomas Mellon Evans.  It has a modest estimate of $1,000,000 to $1,500,000.  It failed to sell.

"The Crucifixion" by Daddi

Lot 114, "The Crucifixion with the Madonna and Saints Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist, Christ the Redeemer, above," by Bernardo Daddi, tempera on panel, gold ground, 23 3/4 by 13 inches

Lot 114 is a fine Crucifixion scene with the Madonna and Saints Mary Magdalene and John the Evangelist by Bernardo Daddi, active in Florence circa 1320-1348.  A tempera on panel with gold ground, it measures 23 1/4 by 13 inches and has a modest estimate of $200,000 to $300,000.  The catalogue entry notes that the composition repeats that of a larger panel, dated 1343, fomerly from tthe Convet of Santa Maria del Carmine and now in the Galleria  dell'Accademia in Florence.  It sold for $542,500.

Two saints by Puccinelli

Lot 106,  "Saint Catherine and a Bishop Saint, Possibly Saint Regulus," by Angelo Puccinelli, tempera and gold ground on panel, 32 by 20 1/4 inches

Lot 106,  "Saint Catherine and a Bishop Saint, Possibly Saint Regulus," by Angelo Puccinelli, active in Siena and Lucca 1350-1399, is an impressive tempera and gold ground on panel that measures 32 by 20 1/4 inches.  It is being sold by the J. Paul Getty Museum and has a modest estimate of $100,000 to $150,000.  It sold for $506,500.

"Imago Pietatis" by Benaglio

Lot 136, "Imago Pietatis," by Francesco Benaglio, tempera on panel, unframed, 23 1/4 by 14 inches

Lot 136 is a charming tempera on panel by Francesco Benaglio, Verona, 1432-circa 1492, that is entitled "Imago Pietatis."  It is property of Robert M. Edsel of Dallas who had bought it at Sotheby's in New York January 30, 1998 when it was attributed to Schiavone.  It measures 23 1/4 by 14 inches, and has a modest estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. It sold for $158,500.

Detail of Lot 136 "Imago Pietatis" by Benaglio

The catalogue entry notes that his "striking" work is "almost surreal in its conception and presentation."  

"The Emperor Charles V Receiving The World" by Parmigianino

Lot 131, "Emperor Charles V Receiving The World," by Parmigianino and Studio, oil on canvas, 68 by 47 inches

Lot 131 is a large oil on canvas that depicts "Emperor Charles V Receiving The World."  It measures 68 by 47 inches.  The catalogue states that it is attributed to Giralamo Francesco Maria Mazzola, called Parmigianino, Parma 1503-1540, and Studio.  It has an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000 and is being sold to benefit The Morgan Library and The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  It failed to sell.  The painting is mentioned in Vasari's book of artists as presented to Charles V by Pope Clement VII but taken back by Parmigianino after which it passed to Cardinal Ippolitode Medici who gave it Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga of Mantua.  It eventually was acquired by Sir Franics Cook of Doughty House, Richmond, Surrey.  Nicholas Penny believes that it is the work of a studio assistant who use a sketch by Parimigianino for the composition, the catalogue notes.  The two angels are clearly in the style of Parmigianino but the king is rather clumsy.

"Jupiter and Antiope" by Giordano

Lot 129, "Jupiter and Antiope," by Luca Giordano, oil on canvas, 71 3/4 by 93 inches

Lot 129 is a very large and impressive painting of "Jupiter and Antiope" by Luca Giordano, Naples 1634-1705.  An oil on canvas, it measures 71 3/4 by 93 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It failed to sell.

"St. Andrew" by Jordaens

Lot 120, "St. Andrew," by Jacob Jordaens, oil on canvas, 21 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches

Lot 120 is a superb painting of St. Andrew by Jacob Jordaens, Antwerp, 1593-1678.  An oil on canvas, it measures 21 1/2 by 19 5/8 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $80,000 to $120,000. It sold for $278,500.

"Portrait of a jewler, probably Giovanni Pietro Crivelli" by Lotto

Lot 110, "Portrait of a Jeweler, Probably Giovanni Pietro Crivelli," by Lorenzo Lotto, oil on canvas, 30 3/8 by 25 1/4 inches

Lot 110 is a very fine portrait of a jeweler, probably Giovanni Pietro Crivelli, by Lotenzo Lotto, Venice circa 1480-1556.  An oil on canvas, it measures 30 3/8 by 25 1/4 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $250,000 to $350,000.  It is being sold by the J. Paul Getty Museum. It sold for $578,500.

"Portrait of a Bearded Man with a Sword," Lombard School

Lot 124, "Portrait of a Bearded Man with a Sword," Lombard School, circa 1520-1530, oil on canvas, 29 by 24 1/2 inches

One of the world's great paintings hangs in the Borghese Gallery in Rome and depicts a man with a large broad-brimmed black hat wearing a white ruffled shirt and holding his right hand to his chest.  For many years, it was attributed to Giorgione but that attribution is now not so certain.  It was about the same size of Lot 124 in this auction, "Portrait of a Bearded Man with a Sword," that the catalogue says is Lombard Schhol, circa 1520-1530.  

The painting is an oil on canvas that measures 29 by 24 1/2 inches.  In a exhibition in 1914-5 at the Grosvenor Gallery in London the work was attributed to Giorgione but  at a 1930 exhibition at the Burlington House in London it was attributed bo Guilio Campi, an attribution endorsed by Berenson.  Ridolfo Palluchini published it as awork of Romanino in the1960s after it was cleaned and entered the collection of the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Lugano. Zeri endorsed the attribvution to Romanino and others have more recently suggeseted Giovanni Cariani.  It has a modest estimate of $100,000 to $200,000.  It sold for $146,500.

Portrait of a Lady by Cranach

Lot 164, "Portrait of a Lady," by Lucas Cranach II, oil on panel, 24 1/4 by 15 1/2 inches

Lot 164 is a stunning oil on panel by Lucas Cranach II, Wittenberg 1515-1586 that measures 24 1/4 by 15 12 inches. It is entitled "Portrait of a Lady, Three-Quarter-length in a Green Velvet and Orange Dress and a pearl-embroidered black hat."  It sold for $3,656,92 at Christie's in London July 5, 2007.  At this auction, it has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $4,000,000.  It failed to sell. The catalogue notes that "the faithful attention to the details of costume and jewelry are dazzling," adding that "this elegant portrait is characteristic of the style Cranach perfected during his years in Wittenberg studying with his father."

"Les Baisers Maternels" by Fragonard

Lot 186, "Les Baisers Maternels," by Fragonard, oil on canvas, 10 3/4 by 8 3/4 inches

Lot 186 is a very lovely small oil on canvas by Jean-Honoré Fragonard entitled"Les baisers Maternels."  An oil on canvas, it measures 10 3/4 by 8 3/4 inches.  It has a modest estimate of $600,000 to $800,000. It failed to sell.

Sketch by Constable

Lot 194, "Summer Evening with Storm Clouds," by John Constable, oil on paper, 9 1/2 by 12 inches

Lot 194 is a very strong and abstract oil on paper by John Constable (1776-1837) entitled "Summer Evening with Storm Clouds."  It measures 9 1/2 by 12 inches.  It was sold at Sotheby's June 7, 2006 in London for 295,000 pounds.  At this auction it has an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000. It failed to sell.

Lot 183, "A Grand View of the Sea Shore Enriched with Buildings, Shipping and Figures," by Claude-Joseph Vernet, sold for $7,026,500, an auction record for the artist, to Carol Strone Art Advisory.  It had an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.

Lot 177, "Adam and Eve," by Joachin Anthonisz. Wtewael, sold for $6,242,500, an auction record for the artist.  It had an estimate of $800,000 to $1,200,000.

Lot 151, "An Elderly Woman, Seated by a Window at her Spinning Wheel, Eating Porridge," sold for $5,346,500, an auction record for the artist.  It had an estimate of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.

Lot 141, "A Scholar in his Study with Figures with Masks," by Willem Willemsz van de Vliet, sold for $2,994,500, an auction record for the artist.  It was the cover illustration of the catalogue and had an estimate of $1,200,000 to $1,800,000.

Lot 113, "The Holy Family with the Infant Saint John the Baptist," by Pietro Buonacorsi, called Perino del Vaga, sold for $2,098,500, an auction record for the artist, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It had an estimate of $300,000 to $400,000.

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

 

Use the Search Box below to quickly look up articles at this site on specific artists, architects, authors, buildings and other subjects

 

 

 

 

Home Page of The City Review