PIETER COECKE VAN AELST THE ELDER AND WORKSHOP | TRIPTYCH WITH THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
PIETER COECKE VAN AELST THE ELDER AND WORKSHOP | TRIPTYCH WITH THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI
114

Property from an American Private Collection

PIETER COECKE VAN AELST THE ELDER AND WORKSHOP | TRIPTYCH WITH THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI

Estimate: 150,000 - 250,000 USD

Property from an American Private Collection

PIETER COECKE VAN AELST THE ELDER AND WORKSHOP | TRIPTYCH WITH THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI

Estimate: 150,000 - 250,000 USD

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Lot Details

Description

Property from an American Private Collection

PIETER COECKE VAN AELST THE ELDER AND WORKSHOP

Aelst 1502 - 1550 Brussels

TRIPTYCH WITH THE ADORATION OF THE MAGI


oil on panel

central panel: 33 by 22 in.; 83.8 by 55.9 cm.

side panels, each: 33 by 9 in.; 83.8 by 22.9 cm.

Condition Report

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. 


All three elements of this triptych are in excellent condition overall with only very minimal, beautifully-executed retouching. The vibrantly colored paint layers, replete with minute painted details, are well-preserved with no major losses. One tiny flake loss is visible near the bottom edge of the central panel, right of center. Retouching takes the form of narrow stripes running along the panel joins, with a few losses adjacent the center join of the central panel. Due to normal, age-related increased transparency of the paint, underdrawing, pentimenti, and strong wood grain can be seen through the paint in some areas. Where this translucence might prove visually distracting or confusing, such as in the infant's body and in the kneeling king's face and white sleeve, it has been minimized with delicate retouching. The vertically grained wood panel supports are in sound condition overall. The join in the left wing is visible in the paint as a hairline crack but appears stable. There are indications of old repairs on the backs of the panels, and all the panels appear sound. This triptych may be displayed in its current state, with the expectation that the present restoration should last well into the future. A light revival of the varnish would not go amiss, particularly in the left wing, but is not essential. 


"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." 

Cataloguing

Provenance

With Johnny van Haeften, London;

From whom acquired 19 May 2005.

Catalogue Note

Pieter Coecke van Aelst was the leading figure of the early-sixteenth century movement that has come to be known as Antwerp Mannerism and this is a typical example of his lavish style of painting. Probably the single most popular subject for panel painters in Antwerp during this period, the Adoration of the Magi permitted the artist to show off his skills in the depiction of exotic fabrics, jewellery, and precious objects. The Magi themselves, as Dan Ewing has convincingly argued, may have had a special significance for rich Antwerp merchant traders of the period, their dazzling gifts from foreign lands symbolising the importance of foreign trade to this new and important group of art patrons.1 The present painting is closely related to a version that also features the Christ child blessing the Magi, and is now in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Alava, Vitora, Spain.In the Vitoria painting as here, the two Magi on the lateral wings have removed their hats, while the magus kneeling before Christ wears a gold embroidered robe and his hat hangs at his shoulders. Both versions also include a canopy over the Virgin and a stone table in the foreground laid with gold cup and scepter.


1. See D. Ewing, "An Antwerp Triptych: Three Examples of the Artistic and Economic Impact of the Early Antwerp Art Market," in Antwerp: Artworks and Audiences, Northampton 1994; and D. Ewing, Magi and Merchants: Civic Iconography and Local Culture in Antwerp Adorations, 1505–1609, Mobile 2002.

2. See G. Marlier, La Renaissance flamande Piere Coeck d'Alost, Brussels 1966, p. 157, fig. 92. 

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