Last weekend’s successful auctions of old masters and decorative arts brought in a total result of almost 7 million euros. The sales also included a lot of surprises. Not only were a large number of works consigned from outside of Germany, the auction also attracted numerous foreign bidders. Buyers from Belgium, France, England and Russia were particularly well represented.
Highlights included a panel by a Flemish master, which sold for €390,000 and a work by a Lower Rhenish artist from around 1490/1500, which sold for €322,000. Successful 19th century works included a landscape painting by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot, which changed hands for €248,000 and a view of Venice by Friedrich Nerly, which sold for €223,000. There were also a number of pleasant surprises among the drawings and sculptures.
A panel from around 1490/1500 by a Lower Rhenish master depicting the Passion of Christ became the subject of a substantial bidding battle. The piece rose far above the original estimate of €70-80,000 to achieve €322,000 (lot 1004). Another piece which achieved a considerable price increase was an oil study depicting the head of a bearded man. The work, which was quite literally consigned at the last minute and in less than ideal condition, was cautiously attributed to a Flemish master. It attracted numerous telephone bidders who were obviously speculating on a differing attribution, and the panel became the subject of a lengthy bidding battle in which it rose from the estimate of €5-6,000 to achieve €390,000 (lot 1058).
Among the numerous still lifes on offer, a piece by Floris van Schooten proved to be a particular highlight, achieving €112,000 (lot 1045, €100-120,000). These types of works showing laden tables were known in the Netherlands as “banketje”. The motif originated in Antwerp but was popularised in Haarlem by artists such as Floris can Dijck, Pieter Claesz, Nikolaes Gillis and Floris van Schooten. Another highlight among the still lifes was a collaborative work between Daniel Seghers and Simon de Vos showing a medallion in a floral garland. The piece was purchased by a Belgian collector for €118,000 (lot 1053, €70-90,000).
Works by the Dutch still life painter Nicolaes Lachtropius rarely appear on the market, and those that do are usually forest floor still lifes in the manner of Marseus van Schriek. The opulent still life offered in this auction with naturalistic flowers in contrasting colours was among the rare classic still lifes painted by this artist in the manner of Willem van Aelst. The canvas was purchased for a European collection for €99,000 (lot 1978, €90-110,000). Aelbert Cuyp was a masterful painter of horses. His depictions of riders and hunts clearly illustrate the care and attention that the artist took in giving the horses he painted unique individual features. The work “Horse at the Trough” was purchased by an American collector for €99,000 (lot 1065, €80-120,000).
A Belgian bidder honoured a painting by Jan van Goyen with €93,000. The important Dutch landscape artist frequently painted works in this small, round format, the first of which were made in 1621 and the last in 1641. The river landscape sold here as lot 1036 was painted in 1633, and thus represented a mature product from the middle of this phase (€80-100,000). Michele Tosini, called Michele di Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio, featured in this auction with a depiction of Venus and Cupid that was sold for €62,000 (lot 1011, €50-60,000). The “Merry Drinker” by David Teniers the Younger was sold for €74,500 (lot 1061, €60-70,000) and the same artist’s allegory of autumn for €56,000 (lot 1060, €45-50,000). A fruit still life by Cornelis de Heem achieved €69,500 (lot 1092, €50-60,000). A village fete scene by Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot rose sharply from the estimate of €30-40,000 to achieve €89,000 (lot 1042). An Italian landscape by Abraham Hondius changed hands for €67,000 (lot 1066). A fruit still life with a parrot by Gabriello Salci, whose works rarely appear at auction, was also highly successful, rising from the estimate of €10-14,000 to achieve €52,000 (lot 1109).
Among the drawings on offer, a red chalk depiction of a young man in a helmet by a Florentine Master was the greatest success. Thanks to a hefty bidding battle, the piece – which had remained unsold when it came up for auction in London not too long ago – rose from the estimate of €800-900 to achieve €80,600 (lot 1131).
The traditional focus of our sculpture auction on Gothic works from Germany and Flanders remained the same. Two statuettes experienced a dramatic price increase – possibly also due to speculation on their attributions. A 10cm high 17th century North Italian figure of a man playing the bagpipes rose from the estimate of €2,5-3,000 to be sold to an English collector for €79,000 (lot 1237). A 17th century marble bust of Bacchus also rose starkly from the modest estimate of €6-9,000 to achieve €87,000 (lot 1257). An early 15th century presumably North German figure of the Virgin and Child as a “lüsterweibchen” achieved €32,000 (lot 1186, €25-30,000).
Highlight among the 19th century paintings was a landscape by Jean Baptiste Camille Corot. The work is a product of the artist’s later phase, in which the realistic elements of his landscapes seemed to transform into a kind of vision. The work is stylistically related to those made in Mortefontaine near Senlis, and could also have been painted there. The work was sold to China for €248,000 (lot 1539, €150-180,000).
A further highlight was the magnificent view of the Canale Grande in winter painted by Friedrich Nerly from an Italian collection. This relatively late work shows Nerly’s talent for capturing the magic of Venice. He depicts the city after the fall of the once mighty Serenissima and on the eve of the founding of Italy. A German collector was able to purchase the work for €223,000 (lot 1536, €180-220,000).
Carl Spitzweg was represented with a romantic landscape estimated at €80-100,000. This almost exactly square, perfectly balanced composition with a panoramic view in the central axis doubtlessly occupies a prime position among the artist’s early works and achieved €89,000 at auction (lot 1534, €80-100,000). A depiction of the “Dyrehaven” deer park near Copenhagen by Johann Christian Clausen Dahl was sold for €59,500 (lot 1535, €50-60,000). An Oriental scene by Adolf Schreyer was purchased for €37,000 (lot 1544, €30-50,000) and one of Carl Jutz the Elder’smasterpieces, which at 147 x 189cm was also one of the artist’s largest works, was sold for €68,000 (lot 1551, €50-60,000). Alexander Koester was also represented by one of his characteristic depictions of ducks on the water, which brought €37,000 (lot 1570, €35-40,000).