Lot 48, "The Virgin and Child" by Jan Gossart, called Mabuse, oil on panel, 17 5/8 by 13 3/8 inches
The painting was included in the 2010-11 exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The National Gallery in London entitled "Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart's Renaissance."
The catalogue entry provided the following commentary:
stunning representation of the Virgin and Child was painted by Jan
Gossart toward the end of his life, a time when he was championed as
the 'Apelles of our Age' by Philip of Burgundy’s court poet and
humanist, Gerard Geldenhouwer....The Virgin looks at Christ, her
expression one of maternal devotion tinged with sorrow. Framed by wavy
hair dotted with gold highlights, her youthful face is as nacreous as
the single pearl that punctuates her forehead and symbolizes her
purity. The delicate fingers of her right hand gently restrain her son,
whose muscular body is fraught with restless energy as he attempts to
"Mother and Child share this moment within an elegant setting, replete with fanciful, eclectic architectural elements, including a pair of slender marble columns housed in mismatched cases of gold fretwork. Typical of Gossart’s particularly imaginative interpretation of Antwerp Mannerism, the latter recalls his whimsical vision of Gothicism as captured in the graceful tracery of the canopy in the Malvagna Triptych of c. 1513-15....Beyond the elaborate combination of colorful stone and gleaming metal portrayed in the present picture, spandrels, moldings and other details executed in cool gray stone fill the background. All together these components appear to form an architectonic throne, although the precise nature of the structure is difficult to determine. Adding to the luxurious atmosphere are the jewel tones of the Virgin’s gown and mantle, as well as the embellished devotional book on which Christ rests his right hand. The book, which features a handsome contemporary Flemish binding, is tooled in blind with central boss and corner-pieces. Offering yet another opportunity for Gossart to demonstrate his talent for foreshortening, a slip of vellum juts forth from between the book’s pages. Neatly inscribed in red and black ink, the lines on this manuscript indulgence prayer scroll are still discernible but no longer legible.
"Hidden away in a Swiss private collection for decades, the present Virgin and Child was misunderstood by early scholars. Following its reemergence in 2002 at Christie’s, London, it was studied in 2008 by Maryan Ainsworth in the Conservation Studio at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it became clear that it was a late, autograph work by Jan Gossart....Its place within the artist’s oeuvre was fully appreciated in the 2010 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the National Gallery, London. In the corresponding catalogue, Ainsworth argues that the present work is especially close, both in terms of composition and style, to the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Virgin and Child..., which is signed and dated 1531. In particular, Ainsworth draws attention to the sculptural quality of the Virgin’s veil in these paintings, as well as to her 'sweet countenance and demurely downcast eyes' (loc. cit.). Also common to both pictures is the Herculean Christ Child with an unusually large head and tendency to squirm. She places both works in a group of late Virgin and Child paintings by Gossart dating from around 1525-30, which includes the Virgin and Child formerly in a London private collection and recently sold at Sotheby’s, London, 9 December 2015, lot 6....Dating to 1520, this latter painting reveals Gossart’s profound appreciation of Italian art, as attested to by the relatively sober setting and the Virgin and Child’s resemblance to their counterparts in Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna..., which was installed in the Onze Lieve-Vrouwekerk following its acquisition in Florence in 1506 by the Flemish wool merchant, Alexander Moscheron. The other paintings in the group discussed by Ainsworth, namely the Virgin and Child in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie, and the Holy Family in the Museo de Bellas Artes, Bilbao, date to the second half of the decade, when Gossart increasingly embraced his Northern identity. Thus, while the influence of Michelangelo’s Bruges Madonna lingers in the faces of the Virgin and Child in the present painting (chronologically the penultimate of the group), the impact of Albrecht Dürer’s Virgin and Child with the Pear.... - which was likely present in the Netherlands during Gossart’s lifetime - may also be detected in their features. Moreover, the eccentric stylishness of the setting in our painting, as in the Berlin and Bilbao pictures, is wholly characteristic of Gossart’s distinctive brand of Antwerp Mannerism, which grew ever more assertive toward the end of his career."
lot has an estimate of $3,000,000 to $5,000,000. It sold for $3,372,500.
Lot 52, "Francois Langlois, called Chartres," by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, oil on canvas, 41 by 32 7/8 inches
Lot 52 is a handsome and fine portrait of "Francois Langlois, called Chartres" by Sir Anthony Van Dyck (1599-1641). It is an oil on canvas that measures 41 by 32 7/8 inches.
The catalogue entry provides the following commentary:
"As with many of van Dyck’s best likenesses, the work offered here portrays a friend or close acquaintance. Its extraordinary liveliness must at least in part be credited to the obvious affection the painter held towards his model, François Langlois, called Chartres after his birthplace. He is identified by the inscription on an engraving by Jean Pesne, probably published in 1645, two years before his death....Well-travelled and well-connected, Langlois built up a successful business as a print dealer and publisher. The firm’s central position on the international art market lasted well into the eighteenth century....
recently, a painting previously in the collection of Viscount Cowdray
and now jointly owned by the National Gallery, London, and the Barber
Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham, was considered the only surviving
autograph version, a view still subscribed to by Dr. Christopher Brown.
Rightly celebrated as ‘a work of the finest quality’, with the head
‘very fully modelled’ and the instrument ‘painted with a beautiful
liquid touch’ (Barnes et al., op. cit., p. 549), that
painting was assumed to be the one owned by Langlois, and engraved
during his lifetime by Pesne.
"Langlois is shown by van Dyck while playing a type of bagpipes known as a musette, ‘associated with virtuoso music enjoyed in a courtly context’....The prestige of the instrument and the relatively soigné clothes worn by Langlois argue against the idea that he is represented in the guise of a Savoyard, a travelling street musician, as has been argued.... Rather, van Dyck’s painting must be compared to an earlier portrait of Langlois by Claude Vignon, in which he wears a much fancier, ‘Spanish’ costume and also plays a musette (Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College...)
"It is possible that van Dyck was inspired by Vignon’s model, which he could have seen at Langlois’ home when visiting Paris....As so often, van Dyck modified several details of the drawing when working on the painting, replacing the melancholy mood of the sketch with the ‘relaxed mood and genial character’ of the painted versions....The result in one of the most engaging and memorable likenesses by one of the greatest portraitists of his age."
The lot has an estimate of $2,000,000 to $4,000,000. It sold for $1,812,500.
Painter caused a ripple of excitement in the art world when it
appeared at auction in Paris in June 2012, because the painting - only
known from an 18th-century engraving and an old black and white
photograph made when it was in the collection of Baron Edmond de
Rothschild - had not been exhibited publicly since the 19th century and
was unseen even by the specialists of Boucher’s art. Covered in thick
layers of discolored varnish, when the work came to public attention,
its debut nonetheless disappointed no one: it was self-evidently one of
Boucher’s earliest masterpieces, a small canvas overflowing with wit,
charm, invention and technical virtuosity. It can be compared to the
better-known variation of the same subject by Boucher, also
called The Landscape Painter, that entered the Louvre as the gift
of Dr. Louis La Caze in 1869..., but its complexity and ambition are
greater, its painterly touch even more masterly.
"The present painting is related to two other small-scale genre scenes by Boucher depicting modest, rustic interiors, made in conscious emulation of the style of David Teniers, Frans van Mieris and Willem Kalf, 17th-century Dutch and Flemish painters widely admired by French collectors in the 18th century. Boucher painted his trio of cabinet pictures in the early to mid-1730s, shortly after his return to Paris from Rome in 1731. The publication of an engraving of one of the paintings, La Belle cuisinière, was announced in April 1735, giving a probable terminus point for all three. In La Belle cuisinière (...Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris), a handsome young servant boy embraces a pretty kitchen maid and implores her attentions; in La Belle villageoise (...Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena), a voluptuous young mother cares for her three small children. In The Landscape Painter, the artist sits in his studio before his easel, fully absorbed in putting the final touches to a new landscape; a young assistant in a tricorn peeks from behind the easel as he enters the studio carrying a portfolio; another assistant - this time, a self-confident adolescent - pauses from grinding colors to peer over the painter’s shoulder and assess his progress, while the painter’s wife and swaddled infant look on from behind. A single drawing for the painting survives, a beautiful trois crayons study for the assistant carrying the portfolio; it was last known in the collection of J.P. Heseltine, London....
"The three compositions share nearly identical settings, depicting the homes of rustic laborers of a modest class: dark, ramshackle and cluttered interiors, with disorder everywhere - pots and cauldrons scattered across floors, open cupboards with jugs, bottles, woven baskets and candlesticks precariously balanced. (In each, Boucher shows himself a master of still life.) The floor of the landscape painter’s garret seems to be made of dirt, and a side of meat and a bunch of onions hang from the ceiling to keep them away from vermin. The dilapidation is charmingly picturesque, but has the feel of lived experience, and it may well be that Boucher - himself barely 30 years old, recently married (in 1733) and newly a father (1735), working diligently in difficult conditions to make a successful career for himself and his family - brought more than a little autobiography to his rendering of the scene, characteristically romanticized as it is. Indeed, the sense of authenticity in the painting is so palpable that when it appeared in the posthumous sale of the architect Pierre-Hippolyte Lemoyne in 1828, the landscape painter was, not surprisingly, identified as depicting Boucher himself, the woman his wife and the pupil with the portfolio under his arm as Deshays, Boucher’s son-in-law. The ages of the various characters, in view of the presumed date of the painting, make the purported identifications wholly fanciful.)
"Although the signs of poverty are evident, the painter wears a striped dressing gown abundantly lined in heavy red velvet, and his red bonnet, while creased, is not without a certain chicness. His assistant is barefoot, yet he wears his three-cornered hat at a jaunty angle. Despite the cramped conditions and congestion of the studio, everyone in the painting seems happy; indeed, the same can be said of all of the characters in Boucher’s trio of ‘lowlife’ interiors. It is interesting to contrast these scenes to the kitchen interiors being painted by Chardin at the exact same moment. Boucher paints the modest workers in their own, unvarnished dwellings; Chardin depicts domestic servants at work in the homes of their wealthy employers. Georges Brunel (1986) perceptively compared the vision of the two artists, observing: 'Pictures like [Boucher’s] probably give us a better idea of the dwellings of the common people than Chardin’s contemporary paintings…Order reigns in the kitchens and offices that Chardin paints: the floor is swept and the utensils in their places…'. On the other hand, Brunel notes, 'Boucher’s characters…seem to congregate, they touch and brush against one another in rooms apparently too small and too crowded for anyone to move about with ease…But this hubbub with all these people living on top of each other, corresponds to everything we know about living conditions in the 18th century, particularly in Paris. The pictures like those Boucher paints in 1735 cannot be criticized for their arbitrariness and fantasy; they are realistic in their way, gay with a touch of Rabelaisian spirit.'
"Depictions of artists at work had appeared frequently in European art since the Renaissance, but almost invariably in guises that exalted the artistic calling, invoking biblical or mythological precedents, such as ‘St. Luke Painting the Virgin’ or ‘Zeuxis Choosing his Models for the Portrait of Helen of Troy’. Boucher broke with these traditions in celebrating his craft and exalting human creativity in the guise of a humble young painter alone at his easel....
"It is not known if The Landscape Painter was a commissioned work or who its original owner might have been, but it was first recorded in 1778 in the sale of the estate of the distinguished sculptor, Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, where it was sold with a pendant, The Sculptor’s Studio, by Jean-Baptiste-Marie Pierre (...present location unknown). Pierre’s painting, which is of identical dimensions to the present lot and has a complementary composition, was presumably painted many years after Boucher’s painting specifically to pair with it...."
lot has an estimate of $1,500,000 to $2,500,000. It sold for $1,692,500.
Lot 5, "The Madonna and Child with the infant St. John the Baptist," by Pietro del Donzello, tondo, oil on panel, 36 1/8 inches in diameter
The catalogue provides the following commentary:
"This beautiful renaissance tondo,
monumental in scale, was only recently restored to the oeuvre of
the Florentine painter, Pietro del Donzello. At the time of it sale in
1962 and its subsequent publication in Burlington Magazine later
in the decade, the painting was considered to be the work of the
younger Raffaellino del Garbo and was listed under that attribution by
both Federico Zeri and Bernard Berenson in their respective archives.
Prof. Laurence Kanter, however, recognized the painting’s author as
Pietro del Donzello (written communication with the department, 25
February 2018). The elegance of the figures and pervading sense of
serenity recall the work of Lorenzo di Credi and Domenico Ghirlandaio,
to the whom the artist’s style is indebted. The figures are placed
before a stone ledge and their high vantage point permit the inclusion
of distant landscape with no interruption in the middle ground. The
painting’s beautiful surface allows the viewer to fully appreciate the
meticulously detailed representation of the city, rendered almost in
miniature, nestled in the hills beyond.
"Pietro and his brother, Ippolito, also a painter, took the name “Donzello” from their father, who was a donzello dell Signoria, a messenger of the Florentine government. Pietro is largely recorded as having produced standards and shields for the city of Florence and, while many commissions of that kind are recorded, only two paintings by the artist are documented, both executed for the city. The location of the first, his Crucifixion with Two Angels for the Ospedale di San Matteo, is unknown, but the second, his Annunciation can be found in the church of Santo Spirito, Florence....The Annunciation was painted for the one of the church’s Frescobaldi chapels in 1498-99 and remains in its original position today. The porcelain-like treatment of flesh and clean, sharply outlined features of the figures in the documented Santo Spirito painting find parallels in those depicted in the present tondo."
The lot has an estimate of
$400,000 to $600,000. It sold
Lot 2, "Saint Augustine," by Matteo di Giovanni, tempera and gold on panel, a fragment, 16 5/8 by 11 1/2 inches
Lot 2 is a fine tempera and gold fragment on panel of "Saint Augustine" by Matteo di Giovanni (1430-1495). It measures 16 5/8 by 11 1/2 inches.
The catalogue entry provides the following description:
di Giovanni’s depiction of Saint Augustine once formed part
of one of the artist’s most important altarpieces, formerly in the
church of Sant’Agostino, Siena. The principal panel of the altarpiece
was TheMassacre of the Innocents now in Santa Maria della
Scala, Siena....The present saint is a fragment of the lunette that
once sat atop the Massacre and has since been divided into
three pieces and dispersed across various collections. At its center
was The Madonna and Child with two angels (Keresztény Múzeum,
Esztergom...), at right was a Saint Francis, whose sleeve is just
visible at the right edge of the Esztergom panel (private
collection...); and at left was the present Saint Augustine.
"John Pope-Hennessy was first to propose the reconstruction of the altarpiece in 1960...while conducting a separate search for the original home of a predella panel by Matteo di Giovanni. Noting that the artist’s very similar Massacre of the Innocents for the church of Santa Maria dei Servi, Siena (now in the Museo Nazionale del Capodimonte, Naples), had been surmounted by a lunette, he suggested that the Sant’Agostino panel might have been conceived in a similar manner....
"The harmonious simplicity of the lunette, with its tranquil figures placed against a celestial gold background, must have presented a stark contrast to the tangled frenzy of violence in the scene of the Massacre below."
lot has an estimate of $150,000 to $250,000. It sold for $348,500.