W ith high-quality, interesting works from the Dutch and Flemish schools from the 16th to the 18th centuries, amassed over 40 years, the collection reflects the discerning eye for which Juli and Andrew Wieg were known. Andrew Wieg and his wife Juli fled Hungary in 1956 to start a new life in The Netherlands.
There they immersed themselves in the art world and, having pursued careers in bio-chemistry and photography respectively, later became art dealers themselves, along with their daughter, Kati. Testimony to the shared passion of two generations from a single family, this auction presents a unique opportunity to acquire a piece of this history in the form of Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings and Drawings, with a broad range of genres, and estimates starting at just £200.
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Sotheby’s is delighted now to offer art lovers the opportunity to experience the thrill of buying the paintings and drawings that gave the Wiegs such pleasure, and of knowing that their own judgement is vindicated - either by winning a lot in competition with others or by being outbid.
During the Dutch Golden Age a vast number of artists produced work to fulfil the demands and tastes of a broad Dutch society. The establishment of the art market in 17th-century Holland meant that, for the very first time, the public at large were able to start buying and collecting works of art.
Many cities in The Netherlands developed into distinct artistic centres, characterised by style and specialities of subject, and the lots in this sale have been organised geographically to reflect these unique qualities.
Amsterdam, the largest and wealthiest city of the age, dominated the art world with a prolific and diverse output, from portraits, marines and still lifes, to religious and genre subjects. And a similar variety was found in nearby Haarlem, which had a particularly strong artistic community and became home to many wealthy patrons.
The court circles of the exiled ‘Winter King’ of Bohemia, Frederick V, in The Hague, attracted artists from Holland and beyond. The city saw not only the flourishing of portraiture but also landscape painting, influenced in particular by Jan van Goyen, who settled there in 1631.
Leiden became the home of the highly specialised ‘fijnschilders’, painters executing meticulous, small-scale paintings, while the small number of artists in Rotterdam faced less competition and consequently produced a more varied œuvre. The prosperous Catholic city of Utrecht in the West, meanwhile, saw the development of an artistic tradition strongly influenced by Italian painting.
The exchange with Catholic Antwerp in Flanders, a thriving artistic hub under the influence of Rubens and the Brueghel dynasty, not far from Southern Netherlandish towns such as Middelburg, was also strong.
The relatively short distances between all these places naturally meant that many artists settled in several different locations during their lifetime, and other painters travelled further afield to work in England, France, Italy and Germany.