Fine Art - Enchanting Venus

The auction of Old Master and 19th century paintings and sculptures comprised almost 260 lots, with the sculptures presented in an individual catalogue. The focus was on Italian art of the Renaissance and the Baroque as well as Dutch 17th century painting – both areas in which Lempertz traditionally holds a leading position. The auctions of Paintings and Drawings 15th-19th Centuries, Sculptures, Decorative Arts and Jewellery realised a pleasing total of 7.2 million euro. With these auctions, Lempertz has once again born testimony to its outstanding position in this field in Germany. The remarkable result for the Decorative Arts auction will be followed on 15th July by the exquisite highlight of the De Leye Collection – by far the most important antiques auction Lempertz has ever held.

Of particular importance was “Reclining Venus” by the Venetian Palma Vecchio. This impressive large format work painted in Venice in around 1500 in the tradition of Giorgione and Titian was once owned by Princess Labadini, later by the prominent collector Count Seilern, and was also in the collection of J. Paul Getty in Sutton Place, London. It sold for € 750,000 to a German private collection (lot 2019, € 600/800,000).

Further significant Italian works included a gold ground panel worked by Giovanni da Bologna, active in Venice in around 1370/80. With a distinguished provenance, it changed hands for € 450,000, also to a German private collection (lot 2015, € 370/450,000). The English trade were the successful bidder with € 300,000 for a large still life by Jan Bruegel – a collaborative work by father and son Jan Brueghel (lot 2034, € 180/220,000), and “Mystic Marriage with Saint John the Baptist and Angels” by the Master of the Stockholm Pieta sold to a further German private collection for €275,000 (lot 2020, € 240/280,000).

Jan van Goyen painted his “River Landscape” on wood. A hefty bidding skirmish led to a Dutch collector eventually acquiring the work for € 194,000 (lot 2041, € 80/90,000), whilst a price rise was also seen for a particularly fine still life painting on copper by Jan Brueghel the Younger, selling to a Russian Collection (lot 2050, € 70/90,000). A Rhenish private collector invested € 100,000 in “Lamentation of Christ” from the circle of the Dutch painter Gerard David, a master of the 15th/16th century (lot 2002, € 100/120,000), and the English trade almost as much, € 98,000, for the noteworthy “Adoration of the Magi” painted on wood in around 1450 by a Cologne Master (lot 2001, € 80/100,000).

A brilliant result was seen for “The Face of Christ” by a Flemish master of the 16th century. The small painting on wood elicited a veritable bidding war and sold at last to a German collector for € 113,000 – a real rise from the estimate of € 4/6,000 (lot 2014). The same result was also reached by the 22.6 x 26.2 cm panel “The Annunciation” by Lucas Cranach the Elder (lot 2012, € 90/120,000). “Madonna and Child” by Corrado Giaquinto had a result of € 100,000, the canvas moving on to a German private collection (lot 2079, € 80/90,000), whilst a figure picture by Michael Sweerts was acquired by a Dutch collector for € 81,000 (lot 2055, € 60/80,000).

19th Century

With Italian, Russian and German painters, the chapter of 19th Century Paintings was equally internationally decorated. “Peasants in a Wooded Landscape”, a small painting by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek far exceeded its estimate of € 30/35,000 to sell to a North German collector for € 113,000 (lot 2140). A great result was also seen for the sanguine drawing “Study for a Figure of Bacchus” by Hans von Marées which was eventually won by the German trade for € 37,500 (lot 2124, € 10/14,000), whilst “Danae and the Rain of Gold” by Alexander Rothaug found a new owner for € 36,000 (lot 2176, € 25,000).


With a total of 76 lots, the offer was presented in an individual catalogue with two chapters. In the first, 17 lots from an important South German collection featured art of the Renaissance and the Baroque, whilst the second offered 59 lots from various provenances with numerous small sculptures of the Middle Ages worked in bronze, copper, enamel and ivory.

A limestone Burgundian “St. Cecilia” stood out amongst the Late Gothic sculptures from the first half of the 15th century with a result of € 35,000 (lot 2236, € 18/20,000). Also significant was the boxwood relief with “Flagellation of Christ” by Christoph Daniel Schwenck from 1680 which achieved € 11,300 (lot 2267, € 8/10,000), whilst a German gilt bronze processional cross probably from the second half of the 12th century was pushed up from € 6,000 to € 25,000 by a Belgian collector (lot 2219).


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 0221/92 57 29–30.

Edgar Abs Press and public relations Cologne, June 2021