Old Masters and 19th Century

The upcoming autumn auction will include numerous important highlights. The most significant of which being two extremely rare works by Matteo Giovannetti (700 – 800,000), followed by an equine portrait painted by the famous George Stubbs (400 – 450,000), a courtly hunting scene by Jacopo Amigoni (300 – 350,000), a capriccio by Francesco Guardi (180 – 220,000) and a winter landscape by Philippe de Momper (80 – 120,000) - the most prominent work in a very fine selection of Netherlandish and Dutch pieces.


The top lot this autumn comprises two panels of Saints painted by Matteo Giovannetti (recorded 1322 – 1369), an artist who probably originated from Viterbo and worked at the papal court in Avignon. The appearance of two panels by this Italian master, from whom only a handful of paintings have survived, is also an exceptional event for art historical research. The elegant style of Simone Martini was an important influence for Giovannetti. Art historians agree that the panels originate from a small hinged altarpiece and that they can be dated to his early phase, around 1344 – 46. Giovannetti's work is characterised by a keen observation of nature, which is especially evident in the features of the donor in the Correr-panel, as well as those of the elderly Saint Anthony and the graceful figure of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. His exceptionally modern interest in the human form inspired him to paint figures, gestures and physiognomies unparalleled in the art of his time. This allowed him to become the most original painter not only in Italy, but the whole of Europe at the time, incorporating elements common to the International Gothic style of the early 15th century. Both panels were formerly owned by the painter Franz von Lenbach and are being offered for sale from his estate (lot 1007, 700 – 800,000).   

George Stubbs was the most important painter of horses of the 18th century in England. He lived and worked in an era in which both horse breeding and the arts were in the midst of a considerable boom on the island. A genuinely British school of painting was developing, London was becoming an internationally renowned centre of the arts and institutions like the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Academy were established. At the same time, breeding and riding horses was becoming a more popular pastime, especially for the aristocracy. George Stubbs was able to masterfully combine these passions for horses and art in his images. This painting, made shortly after the publication of Stubbs’ well-received work on equine anatomy, cleverly combines the genres of portrait, horse painting and picturesque landscape (lot 1115, 400 – 450,000).

This work, showing a courtly hunting party with ladies, by Jacopo Amigoni, was probably painted around 1740 and previously attributed to the French artist Carle van Loo, but this erroneous ascription was abandoned in 1989 at the latest, when the piece was sold at auction in London as “attributed to Amigoni”. The expert and author of the first monograph on this artist, Annalisa Scarpa Sonino, plans to feature the work in an upcoming publication. The artist was among an important group of Venetian artists of the settecento, to which Tiepolo, Sebastiano Ricci and Gianantonio Pellegrini as well as the veduta painters Antonio Canal and Bernardo Belloto also belonged, whose fine works enriched courtly life throughout Europe (lot 1105, 300 – 350,000). 

Francesco Guardi’s small Capriccio con Arco rovinato e mura di paese was painted around 1770/1775 is estimated at 200 – 250,000. The works of Antonio Canal (called Canaletto) and those of Francesco Guardi have done much to shape our mental image of Venetian art - the one with severe topographical precision, the other visionary and impressionist. Unlike other veduta painters of the era, Guardi was purely interested in the outer appearance and magical atmosphere of this unique city. Whilst Guardi's Venetian colleagues dispersed throughout Europe to decorate the palaces and churches of the Ancien Regime, he never left his home town. Instead he remained in Venice as an independent artist, but died before being able to enjoy his renown as one of the city's great masters. (lot 1107).

Lucas van Gassel’s Panoramic Landscape with Christ Healing the Blind Man, dated 1540, is one of just 10 signed and dated works by this artist. These works, made between 1530 and 1540, follow the tradition of Joachim Patinir, and testify to Gassel’s great talent as a landscape painter. Typical of Gassel's style is the subdivision of the landscape into different levels, interspersed with numerous small narrative scenes - some taken from daily life and others from the Bible. The topic of Jesus healing a blind man refers to the spiritual blindness of mankind redeemed by Christ's Incarnation (lot 1016, 150 – 180,000).

Philippe de Momper, was a close friend of Jan Breughel the Younger. Whilst Pieter Brueghel the Elder was the first artist to explore the motif of winter landscapes in detail, the generation of Josse de Momper were responsible for establishing the winter landscape as an independent genre. This work, painted in 1630 by his son Philippe was long considered to be an authentic work of Josse de Momper. Philippe, who died at just 36 years of age, was well acquainted with his father’s work, but still able to establish himself as an artist with a unique style of his own. This atmospheric image of a village in the grip of a harsh winter is peopled by numerous figures which provide a realistic insight into rural life in 17th century Flanders (lots 1033/34, up to 50 – 55,000).

Lempertz will also be offering a finely painted pair of still lifes with roses and wild flowers in vases by Gaspar Peeter Verbruggen the Elder, one of the most successful flower and still life painters in Antwerp (lot 1076, 100 – 120,000). Salomon van Ruysdael is represented by a scene of a village street with a herd of cattle and a tavern, estimated at 80 – 100,000 and a river landscape for 50 – 70,000 (lots 1046/47).This auction also includes two works by Pieter Coecke van Aelst. Lot 1013, a depiction of the holy family, is estimated at 65 – 70,000 and the rest on the flight into Egypt at 65 – 70,000 (lots 1013 & 1014). We will also be offering a portrait of Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg, second son of Emperor Ferdinand I, brother of Emperor Maximillian II and later Prince of Tyrol, attributed to William Scrotts (lot 1023, 80 – 100,000).

 An expressive panel showing an Ecce Homo scene from the Bruges School, painted around 1520 – 30 is estimated at 80 – 90,000 (lot 1012). A Landscape with Horsemen and Peasants by Philips Wouwerman is estimated at 60 – 80,000 (lot 1056), and lot 1057, a scene of Peasants and Horsemen before a Tavern is estimated at 60 – 70,000. A painting of a young man in a feathered cap by the Rembrandt School is estimated at 60 – 80,000 (lot 1055). The Flemish-Dutch master Alexander Keirincx is represented by a scene of a robbery in a panoramic landscape (lot 1038, 70 – 80,000). Antoni van Stralen, who specialised in winter landscapes, is represented by a scene of ice skaters on a frozen canal (lot 1037, 50 – 60,000). The auction will also include works by Catharina Ykens, Jan van Mieris, Swart van Groningen, the Master with the Parrot, Frans Mieris the Younger, a South German master and an Antwerp Master of around 1520, all estimated at 40 – 60,000.


The sculptures on offer this autumn originate from the 13th to the 19th centuries, but the focus lies with Gothic sculpture of the 14th – 16th century from Germany and Flanders. Among the highlights are a Northern French limestone Madonna with Child (lot 1166, 60 – 80,000) and several works from the workshop and circle of Tilman Riemenschneider. These works comprise a limewood sculpture of Anna Selbdritt, lot 1193 estimated at 30 – 35,000, and a pair of reliefs showing Saint Agatius and a further Anna Selbdritt (lots 1194/1195, each 40 – 50,000). A further Anna Selbdritt figure made by Hans Gottwald von Lohr, who was active from 1503 – 1545, is also being offered for an estimate of 40 – 45,000 (lot 1190).    


The sale of 19th century paintings will include works by Otto Scholderer, Andreas and Oswald Achenbach, Hugo Mühlig, Johann Michael Wittmer and Felix Ziem. Otto Scholderer’s painting Peasants Returning from the Fields has the appearance of a genre painting, but is actually a family portrait (lot 1563, 50 – 60,000). Andreas Achenbach is represented by three northern coastal landscapes (lots 1541 – 43, from 32 – 36,000 to 45 – 50,000). Oswald Achenbach is included with a view of Mount Rigi and an Italian landscape with two monks (lots 1544 – 1545, from 30,000 – 50,000). In a work by Johann Michael Wittmer, we see Saint Boniface, who is known as the Apostle of the Germans, felling Donar’s Oak, which was sacred to the God Thor. The work, which was completed in 1861 and measures 166 x 208.5 cm, is estimated at 40 – 50,000 (lot 1540). Hugo Mühlig is represented by a scene of a horse drawn cart on a snowy, tree-lined avenue (lot 1577, 40 – 55,000), and one of his characteristic hunting scenes, which is estimated at 40 – 45,000 (lot 1578), whilst Felix Ziem’s evening scene of Istanbul and the Bosporus straight transports the viewer to sunnier climes (lot 1553, 40 – 45,000).

Hans Thoma’s “Trout Pond” was probably painted in 1906 and shows one of his typical Black Forest landscapes (lot 1569, 20 – 25,000). A view of the Cistercian monastery of Maulbronn by Domenico Quaglio is also estimated at 20 – 25,000 (lot 1511). A scene of horsemen amid sand dunes by George Henrik Breitner is estimated at 20 – 30,000 (lot 1568).A rectangular work by Eugen Klimsch has been given the same estimate. The unusual work measures 103 x 311 cm and shows a courtly scene, most likely representing a Renaissance banquet (lot 1566). Ten decorative watercolours by the Irish artist James George O’Brien, called Oben, showing Irish, English and Welsh landscapes together come to an estimate of 48 – 54,000 (lot 1501).