Some pictures can be decisive for an artist’s entire life. In the autumn auctions of Old Masters and 19th century art, Lempertz calls up several such examples.
Is that art? It is even royal!
Every now and then, one finds oneself in a situation in which the rest of one’s life is decided. We always live in the knowledge that everything could have turned out so differently and look back all the more joyfully on those moments when our fate turned out for the better! Wilhelm Leibl captured such a moment from his own artistic life in his masterpiece A Critic, painted when he was just 24 years old. On 18th November, Lempertz will auction the painting that would become decisive for the career of the most important painter of German Realism.
The painting shows the exact moment when the young Leibl subjects his work to the judgement of the critic – and passes! Leibl achieved his breakthrough as a genre painter with this work; it met with great acclaim at several exhibitions and Leibl was even proclaimed the ‘King of Painters’. It is understandable that a painting of such comprehensive and personal significance does not often change hands. The picture thus passed from the artist into family ownership, where it has remained until the auction at Lempertz in Cologne on 18th November.
How to prevail over van Dyck and Rubens
A work by a young painter from the period of his breakthrough which remained in family ownership for centuries – also true for Jacob Jordaens Holy Family. At the age of 27, he found himself confronted by a market in Antwerp in around 1620, where the young Anthny van Dyck was already running his own studio, and all was under the influence of the great Peter Paul Rubens. How could the young Jordaens – who at that time did not yet run his own workshop and therefore was responsible for all the painting – establish himself there? He succeeded, among other things, with this work.
Two versions precede this work, one today in the North Carolina Museum of Art and the other in the National Gallery in London. The present third version completes Jordaens’s development of a pictorial language. This painting was owned for centuries by a Westphalian noble family until Hans Vlieghe, the author of seminal works on Flemish art, was able to view it in original and confirm its authenticity. This work will be auctioned at Lempertz on 18th November, fitting perfectly into the Advent season.
Further highlights waiting to be discovered in the autumn auction catalogue include works by the Master of the Holy Blood, van Ostade, Cornelis de Heem, Edwaert Collier, Jan Steen, and numerous others.