With 8.3 million euro, the auctions of Old Masters/19th Century, Decorative Arts and Jewellery have brought in a very pleasing total result.
As lot 2130 was called for sale, there was no stopping it. Interest was on an international scale. Fifteen telephone bidders fought to acquire the black chalk drawing of a “Skeleton, striding right”, attributed to Agnolo Bronzino. Connoisseurs, however, had identified it as the work of Bronzino’s nephew and pupil, Alessandro Allori (1535-1607). The 40 x 27.5 cm drawing was tentatively estimated at € 3000 - 3,500 but the sheet skipped past the 10,000s, then 100,000, and by-passed 200,000, 300,000, 400,000 and 500,00 to eventually sell at € 525,000 to the successful bidder from the French trade.
From the range of works offered from the Golden Age of Dutch painting, “Travellers in a Rocky Grotto” stood out above all. The atmospheric painting is by Philips Wouwerman, one of the most diverse and productive painters of the Golden Age of Dutch painting, whose paintings were already found in the most prominent European collections in his lifetime. This picture, for example, was in the important collection of the Prince de Conti in Paris in the 18th century. Painted on wood, the picture was eventually sold for € 188,000 (lot 2070, € 100,00/140,000). Pieter Schoubroeck’s copper picture surpassed its € 30/40,000 estimate to reach € 94,000 (lot 2018), whilst active interest pushed a rare landscape picture by Rembrandt’s pupil Govaert Flinck up to € 150,000 (lot 2042, € 120/130,000). A large mythological scene, “The Crowning of Mirtillo” by Jan Mijtens, one of the artist’s largest and thematically very rare works sold for € 88,000 (lot 2074, € 80/90,000).
A tondo by the Florentine artist Tommaso di Credi was taken on by a Russian collector for € 88,000 (lot 2007, € 80/90,000), who also purchased a canvas by the Mantuan Fermo Ghisoni depicting a life-size representation of the hotly discussed antique statue of Adonis Pighini, discovered in 1545 (lot 2013, € 40/50,000). Lorenzo di Credi’s “Madonna Adoring the Christ Child” also sold for € 50,000 (lot 2012, € 40/50,000), whilst “Allegory of Temperance by the 17th century Bolognese female painter Ginevra Cantofoli was acquired by an English collector for € 70,000, far above its estimate of € 15/18,000 (lot 2049).
“Still life with a pumpkin, peaches, plums, grapes and insects” by Abraham Mignon jumped up to € 98,000 (lot 2077, € 30/40,000), and Johann Heinrich’s ”Tischbein’s two daughters as children” also went far above its estimate to sell for € 63,000 (lot 2112, € 15/20,000).
Classical landscape painting from the turn of the 18th to 19th century was highlighted by a view of the English garden of Caserta near Naples by Jacob Philipp Hackert, acquired by a German collector for € 106,000 (lot 2503, € 80/100,000).
A drawing by Jean-Baptiste Greuze has come to light after nearly 90 years in a Russian museum, sold by the Soviet Union in 1931 (lot 2167, € 20/30,000), and now auctioned by Lempertz for € 20,000, whilst “Seated male nude” by an unknown master of the 18th century considerably multiplied its estimate of €1,5/1,800 to reach € 35,000 (lot 2169).
Carl Spitzweg was represented by a total of five paintings, crowned by one of his favourite subjects, a walker in a landscape from around 1865-70 depicting a village parson enjoying his morning walk with his dog on a summer’s day. The coveted painting could only be taken on for € 125,000 (lot 2538, € 50/60,000). A considerable rise was seen for a “View from Aricia” by the early deceased Ernst Fries which jumped from € 2,200/2,500 up to € 75,000 (lot 2515).
Hans Kauffmann’s 1873 painting “The Auction” sold for € 58,000 (lot 2554, € 40/50,000), and John Collier’s “Circe”, seated decoratively between two predatory cats, brought € 53,000 (lot 2561, € 15/20,000).
In this chapter, a total of 47 objects from the 14th to the 18th centuries were presented with the focus on Late Gothic sculpture of the 15th and 16th centuries from German and Flemish speaking countries. With a considerable rise, the top object was a 1520 South German “Leuchterweibchen” chandelier made of wood which eventually changed hands for € 63,000 (lot 2209, € 30/35,000).