Lot 40
  • 40

Tobias Stranover

120,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Tobias Stranover
  • A Great Curassow, Silver Pheasant, Golden Pheasant and other birds in a landscape
  • signed and dated lower left: T. Stranover/1728
  • oil on canvas


With Lane Fine Art, London, circa 1980;
Private collection, USA.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. The restoration to this work is very good. The work should be hung in its current condition. The canvas has a good glue lining. The paint layer is cleaned and varnished. The retouches are clearly visible under ultraviolet light, particularly in the lower sky. There is retouching in some cracking in the remainder of the sky and to some slight thinness in the dove in the upper left. There are also retouches to thinness in the very darkest colors of the birds and in the upper chest and neck in the central brown bird. The only other restoration of any note is in the furrows of the field beneath the farmhouse on the left side. Otherwise, the condition is particularly good, particularly given the scale and period of the work.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

Stranover spent most of his career in England, after arriving there in circa 1703.  In London, he initially worked in the studio of his uncle, Jakob Bogdani, who specialized in fruitpieces and decorative assemblages of birds in landscapes.  As in Bogdani’s work, many of Stranover’s bird pieces are set in park landscapes with classical buildings and garden features. This painting, dated 1728, is unusual in showing a rural landscape with ploughed fields and a farmhouse.  In the distance is a church that seems like a medieval English parish church, framed in mountains which owe more to Stranover’s native Transylvania than his adopted country.

Stranover characteristically groups both exotic and native species, and large, showy birds with smaller ones, to create a lively gathering of avian colors, shapes and behavior.  The centerpiece of Stranover’s painting is a female Great Curassow (Crax rubra), a large bird of the turkey family found in the rainforests of Mexico and Central America. The aesthetic attraction is its black and white, curly crest and barred tail offset by a reddish body.  Equally dramatic are the male Silver Pheasant (Lophura nycthemera) and Golden Pheasant (Chrysolophus pictus) to the left, both natives of China but brought to Europe for their spectacular plumage.  Tucked at the feet of the Curassow are two resident British species, the Red-legged Partridge (Alectoris graeca, originally from southern Europe) and Oystercatcher (Haematopus ostralegus), attacking its favorite food, shellfish. Behind the Curassow is a Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchicus), introduced into Europe from Asia in the 11th century.  To the right is a Guinea Fowl, related to pheasants and originally from Africa, but long domesticated for its meat.  Behind is another Oystercatcher, an adult with the white "chinstrap" of winter plumage.   Across the top of the painting are a Pigeon in flight, a Chough (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) and a male Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis).1


1.  Birds identified by David Dallas.