T he mid-season sale of Old Master paintings includes excellent examples from most major schools of Western European art. With estimates ranging from a few thousand pounds to over £50,000, this is the perfect introduction to Old Masters for new buyers, and a superb opportunity for established buyers to expand their collections.
Amongst many highlights in this auction is a magnificent group of full-length seventeenth-century portraits of famous Englishmen from the celebrated Clarendon Collection, which were for many years, until recently, on loan to the Palace of Westminster.
The sale also includes over 70 portrait miniatures from the celebrated collection of the late Dr Erika Pohl- Ströher, the granddaughter of Franz and Marie Ströher, who founded German hair care and cosmetics giant Wella AG. Between 1978 and 2016, a period of nearly forty years, she passionately and discerningly collected portrait miniatures, putting together one of the greatest collections ever formed, with exquisite examples dating from the 16th through to the 19th centuries.
Explore Highlights from the Auction
The sale boasts a number of high-quality view paintings, from the very first painted view of the Piazza at Covent Garden in London, to the iconic Piazza San Marco in Venice, represented both by a work based on a design by Michele Marieschi, and a beautifully lucid canvas by a Follower of Canaletto. A capriccio view of the Floating City is found in a 17th-century panel attributed to Louis de Caullery, depicting the Bucentaur, the state barge of the doges of Venice; and datable to over a century later, is an anonymous capriccio view of a fantastic palace, which bears many of the hallmarks of a Venetian set designer, such as Francesco Battaglioli. Two other impressive Italian views paintings are the large canvases by Carlo Labruzzi, an artist based in Perugia in the 18th and early 19th century, which depict the dramatic waterfalls at Tivoli and a serene afternoon at Lago Nemi, to the south of Rome.
Go Behind-the-Scenes with a Specialist
In this episode of At Home With Sotheby’s, Old Master Paintings specialist Georgina Eliot introduces the sale highlights, including a 17th-century view of London’s iconic piazza, and over 70 portrait miniatures from the celebrated collection of the late Dr Erika Pohl-Ströher.
An Iconic View of London and Other Old Masters Highlights
The sale also includes a particularly strong group of still life paintings, such as the opulent work by Jacques Hupin, a French artist working in Rome in the late 17thcentury, which displays rich carpets, flowers and fruit. More unusual is the depiction of birds and insects by the female artist, Orsola Maddalena Caccia – a Northern Italian nun, who set up a studio in her convent. From Northern Europe comes an extremely rare signed and dated work by Herman Verelst, elder brother of the well-known flower painter, Simon Verelst, both of whom came to work in London at the end of the 17th century. This painting, along with high-quality works by Jan Vermeulen and Jan Mortel, exemplify the Northern concern for depicting signs and symbols of the passing of time, as well as a meticulous attention to the details of materials and textures.
Artists have always sought inspiration from each other. In some cases, the result is a direct copy of another composition, such as The Baptism of Christ, after Domenichino, or the View of the Royal Exchange, after a print. In other instances derivations, with minor variations, can spring from a particularly popular image, like the high-quality devotional diptych of the Ecce Homo and Mater Dolorosa, of which a number of contemporary versions are known. Artistic exchange may also be found in paintings such as the Madonna and Child by Girolamo Macchietti, painted in Florence towards the end of the 16th century in a Mannerist style, which looks back to the work of a Florentine Renaissance painter of the previous generation, Domenico Puligo, in its design and motifs.
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