Fine Art & 19th Century - Tiepolo completely in brown

The auctions last weekend – Old Masters and 19th Century, Jewellery, Decorative Arts with the very important collections of Roentgen furniture and from Renate and Tono Dreßen featuring Meissen porcelain and old glass, were very successful, with a total result of 9.2 million euro (see separate press releases for the Roentgen and Dreßen collections).

The highlight of the Old Masters and 19th Century was a painting by Giovanni Battista (Giambattista) Tiepolo with a result of 500,000 euro. Further high points included a still life pair by Pieter van Schaeyenborgh for € 338,000, followed by a fruit still life by Abraham Brueghel (€ 125,000) and a still life by Frans Snyders for € 144,000. A “Kitchen Interior” by David Teniers the Younger reached €100,000, as did a large canvas from Theodore Boeyermans.

The 19th Century art offered for sale realised equally strong results. Anselm Feuerbach’s early, large canvas rose to €125,000, as did the splendid painting “After the Ball” by Conrad Kiesel, whilst a significant increase to €106,000 was seen for a painting by Konstantin Makowski.

The sculptures glistened with two outstanding results: A 15th century Madonna from Northern France for € 103,000 and a gilt copper and enamel wafer box made in Limoges in the 13th century which made € 88,000.

For Giovanni Battista (Giambattista) Tiepolo, the 56 x 42cm canvas “Interior with Capuchin Monks at the Deathbed of a Religious Brother” is an unusual theme: a monk accompanied on his deathbed by six friars in a monastery cell. Equally unusual is the picture’s colour palette of various rich brown tones – the frock of the Capuchin, one of the mendicant orders sworn to poverty whose church is Palladio’s “Il Redentore” in Venice. However, the sketchy immediacy of the rapid and virtuoso brushstrokes capturing the subject is directly recognisable as the hand of the great Venetian Settecento painter, also seen in the vivid, flickering lighting of this intimate scene. The provenance is also noteworthy: The painting was passed from the Corniani-Algarotti family to Lord George Cavendish-Bentnick (1821–1891), the passionate art lover and trustee of the British Museum. Sold for € 500,000, the remarkable picture now joins an overseas collection (lot 2079, €400/450,000).

A further highlight of the auction with a result of €338,000 was Pieter van Schaeyenborgh’s pair of paintings “Still Life with Freshwater Fish / Still Life with Saltwater Fish”. These two large-format paintings occupy a special place in the history of Dutch fish still lifes owing to the fact that they are probably the only examples of the genre, whose provenance can be traced back to the time of the commission. They thus provide us with a clear picture of the paintings' original purpose. The works decorated the Provenhuis van Nordingen in Alkmaar for more than 200 years before being transferred to the Stedelijk Museum in Alkmaar in the 19th century, then returned to the Provenhuis for a time before finally being divided and sold in 1974. It was through a stroke of luck that they were reunited and today form a pair as originally intended and will now be going to the Netherlands (lot 2043, € 150/200,000).

A German collector parted with € 144,000 for “Still Life with Birds and Basket of Grapes” by Frans Snyders. In the first decade of the 17th century, the artist belonged to the most sough-after and well-connected painters in Antwerp in the early 17th century. He was a pupil of Pieter Brueghel the Younger and Hendrick van Balen, an employee of Peter Paul Rubens and head of a large workshop in which Jan Fyt and other renowned artists were active (lot 2028, € 90/110,000). A collector invested € 100,000 for a signed “Still Life with Flowers and Fruits” by Abraham Brueghel (lot 2050, €100/120,000), the same price paid by another collector for “Rustic Kitchen with Still Life and a Couple” by David Teniers the Younger – an artist who had a deciding influence on the development of the peasant genre of Flemish art in the 17th century (lot 2053, € 60/70,000). Theodore Boeyermans, an artist rarely seen on the art market, also brought € 100,000 for his 219.5 x 141 cm canvas “The Tribute Money” (lot 2062, € 80/90,000).


An intense bidding fight erupted around Anselm Feuerbach’s 147 x 182 cm canvas “Jacob and Rachel”. The early and large-format work was probably painted in 1854. Valued at € 40/50,000, the German trade had to persist to € 125,000 to win the painting (lot 2249, € 40/50,000).

Konstantin Makowski’s 39.5 x 31.5 cm painting “The Duet” from 1880 experienced a noteworthy rise following extended, hefty bidding to reach € 106,000 – the picture had been estimated at 6/8,000 (lot 2276) – whilst “A Mill in Eichtal” by Ernst Ferdinand Oehme sold for € 88,000 (lot 2239, € 80/100,000).


A 73 cm high sandstone Madonna and Child, probably made in Northern France in the first half of the 15th century, far surpassed its estimate of € 12/14,000 thanks to active bidding, to sell for € 103,000 to a German collector (lot 2132), whilst much interest pushed a rare Limoges host box of gilt copper and enamel from the second half of the 13th century from € 25/30,000 to € 88,000 (lot 2123).

The drawings were confidently led in particular by Federico Barroci’s pastel “The Head of Christ with Crown of Thorns” which was taken on by a German collector for € 45,000 (lot 2087, €35,000).