School of Antwerp, circa 1520
Property from the Collection of David and Louise Carter
School of Antwerp, circa 1520
oil on panel
panel: 36 3/4 by 29 5/8 in.; 93.3 by 75.2 cm.
framed: 43 1/2 by 36 1/2 in.; 110.5 by 92.7 cm.
The following condition report has been provided by Karen Thomas of Thomas Art Conservation LLC., 119 West 23rd Street, Suite 400, New York, NY 10011, 212-564-4024, email@example.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.
This picture presents moderately well, with potential for noticeable improvement through cleaning and a new restoration. The central majority of the painting is in a fairly good state of preservation despite wear found along the top and bottom few inches of the painting. The aging restoration creates visual chatter, detracting from the quality of the painting. This is readily noticeable in Mary's garments and the upper sky, where wear, combined with an age-related change in the blue pigments, has led to extensive retouching (now discolored) to knit the passages together. Elsewhere, fills to compensate for small losses — mostly concentrated in and around the two figures in the bottom right quadrant and along the bottom few inches of the painting — are beginning to fail and are pulling away from their settings. It appears that an area in the bottom right corner, crossing from the ground into the crouching figure, has been reconstructed, and a horizontal loss (restored) about a finger's-width high runs from the base of the cross into Mary Magdalene's chest. Along two vertical joins in the panel, narrow bands of retouching show mild tenting following the direction of the wood grain; islands of similar tenting are found scattered across the painting. The green glazes in the garments, lower right, are rubbed. The wood panel support has been thinned and cradled and appears to be structurally sound. An insert to the panel is found in the upper right corner; here the surface shows a distinctly different crack pattern.
Cleaning to remove the aging restoration and failing fills, along with a new restoration, would better highlight the strengths of the painting. While this would take some work, a strong and a careful restoration should prove very rewarding. In the long term, removing the cradle should be considered.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."