Lot 103
  • 103

Circle of Rogier van der Weyden

40,000 - 60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Rogier van der Weyden
  • The Annunciation
  • oil on panel


Private collection, France.


The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 336 West 37th Street, Suite 830, New York, NY 10018, 212-564-4024, info@thomasartconservation.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting is in good condition overall with many minute details nicely preserved (see for example the feathers in Gabriel's wings, the nails in the window shutters, the lilies on the bedstand, the fringe at the bottom of Gabriel's garment). Large losses, primarily following the vertical wood grain, can be found in various locations. Areas of reconstruction include portions of the bed hanging and vertical strips along the right two inches of the picture, as well as smaller losses in the figures''garments. These losses appear to go down to the wood support and were not filled to level prior to retouching, thus areas of retouching can be discerned under a strong raking light as being out of plane with the original. Some of the retouching is slightly discolored but for the most part it is very well executed. A very fine craquelure is visible across throughout. The thin panel is planar; a dark coating on the back is fragmentary but stable. A narrow strip of wood approximately 6mm wide was added to the left edge and the composition extended onto it.
"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

This small Annunication is a free adaptation of the left wing of Rogier van der Weyden’s Columba Triptych (Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv. no. WAF 1189-91), a complex altarpiece of about 1455 thought to have been completed with the assistance of the artist’s thriving workshop.1  Because the triptych was likely sent to the Church of Saint Colomba in Cologne soon after its completion, its influence in the Low Countries was limited to artists that trained in or had intimate knowledge of the master’s studio, in which a few copies or preparatory drawings of the triptych possibly remained after it left for Germany.2   Although several copies by anonymous German artists of the left wing of the triptych exist, only a few fifteenth-century Netherlandish copies, all with differences from the original, are known. 

In addition to the present work, other variations of this Annunciation scene include a work by the Master of the Saint Catherine Legend, a follower of Rogier van der Weyden active from about 1470-1500 (Florence, Museo Nationale del Bargello, inv. no. 2050c), as well as the Clugny Annunciation (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, inv. no. 17.190.7), once thought to be a late work by Rogier but more recently identified as by Hans Memling, who trained in Rogier’s studio before moving to Bruges in the mid-1460s.3 Furthermore, a number of comparable drawings were completed after this Annunciation, for example one in the Stockholm Nationalmuseum (inv. no. 122/1918) and another formerly in the Oppenheimer collection, London.4  

Dendrochronological analysis of the Baltic oak panel undertaken by Dr. Peter Klein upholds an early dating for this painting.  His report, which is available upon request, suggests an earliest possible creation date of 1452, with a more likely date from 1458 upwards.

A later and reduced version of the present composition is recorded in the RKD online database.5

1.  See D. De Vos, Rogier van der Weyden: The Complete Works, New York 1999, p. 278, reproduced.
2.  Ibid., p. 282.
3.  For the Master of the Saint Catherine Legend, see L. Campbell and J. van der Stock, Rogier van der Weyden 1400-1464: Master of Passions, exhibition catalogue, Leuven 2009, p. 356, cat. no. 29b, reproduced p. 358.  For the Hans Memling, see K. C. Galitz, The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings, New York 2016, p. 267, no. 143, reproduced pp. 150-151. Other versions known are by The Master of the Prado Adoration (Glasgow, Glasgow City Museums and Art Gallery, Burrell Collection, inv. no. 474) and an anonymous hand in Rogier’s studio (Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, inv. no. 396). 
4.  See M. Sonkes, Dessins du XVe Siècle: Groupe van der Weyden, Brussels 1969, pp. 39-43, cat. nos. B1 and B3, reproduced plates VIa and VIIb. 
5.  25 by 18 cm.  This painting was last recorded with the Berlin dealer, Franz Zatzenstein.  See RKD, online database, no. 49760.