An Exceptional Selection of Old Masters in London

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The annual Old Masters Evening Sale promises some exceptional offerings and a huge variety of works. Highlights include an enigmatic portrait by Sir Peter Paul Rubens, a restituted Dutch masterpiece by Jacob Ochtervelt, and a beautiful watercolour of Lake Lucerne by J.M.W. Turner. Click ahead to see more.

Old Masters Evening Sale
4 July | London

Old Master & British Works on Paper
4 July | London

An Exceptional Selection of Old Masters in London

  • Peter Paul Rubens, Portrait of a Venetian nobleman
    Estimate £3,000,000–4,000,000
    Rubens was, with Caravaggio, the most influential painter of the 17th century in Europe. Painted in the 1620s, at the height of Rubens’ career, this depiction of a Venetian nobleman is believed to have been kept by the artist until his death. Although it is generally assumed that he based this study on a Venetian prototype, we are left with the impression that he knew the subject of his painting well. Leaving the presumed prototype far behind him, Rubens has envisioned his subject so that it is a product of his own immensely creative imagination. It portrays his idea of a forceful Italian nobleman, a Renaissance man who is accustomed to leading, and to getting his own way. A rapidly and supremely confident study, more sketch than formal portrait, this is a superb expression of Rubens’ artistic personality.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Property from the Loyd Collection, Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A, Walton Bridges
    Esimate £3,000,000–5,000,000.
    Turner is Britain’s greatest painter. Now known to have been painted in 1806 and bought directly from the artist by Sir John Leicester, one of the greatest patrons of English art in the late 18th and early 19th century, the picture’s longstanding status as one of the masterpieces of Turner’s early period is attested to by its extensive exhibition history. Walton Bridges appear several times in Turner’s work in 1806-7, which he painted from a boat moored in the middle of the river where he could get an expansive view and make the most of the light reflecting on the water.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Property from the Loyd Collection, Liberale Da Verona, Triumph of Chastity
    Estimate £he Trium400,000–600,000
    This is a fine example of an Italian cassone, a type of decorated wooden dowry chest from central Italy, which were used extensively from the end of the 14th and through the 15th and 16th centuries. Cassone panels themselves are enormously commercial in their unique status as a domestic artefact closely associated with marital nuptials in Renaissance Italy. Due to their function, they were typically decorated with stories connected to love, romance and marriage – the present work is inspired by Petrarch’s allegorical poem I Trionfi, and shows Chastity enthroned on a triumphal chariot drawn by unicorns.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Jan Brueghel the Elder, A wide village street in summer with carts, villagers and gentlefolk
    Estimate £2,500,000–3,500,000
    This beautiful copper is an exceptionally fine example of landscape painting in Flanders in the first quarter of the 17th century. Breughel has placed groups of everyday villagers against the rich blues and greens of the landscape which is bathed in warm sunlight. By painting onto copper, the artist has given the scene a translucent ‘jewel’ like quality, which is enhanced by its intimate scale.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Sir Anthony van Dyck, Adoration of the Shepherds
    Estimate £600,000–800,000
    Painted circa 1627-8, this oil sketch is remarkable not only for its execution but also its size, being considerably larger than Van Dyck's other oil sketches of this second Antwerp period. Although almost monochromatic, The Adoration of the Shepherds brings the young Van Dyck's extraordinary pictorial talents into sharp focus. Using a monochromatic grisaille technique and thinly applied paint, the artist explores the effect of light and shadow on the figures, and successfully combines the freshness, immediacy, and fluency of a drawing with the monumentality of a large painting.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Jacob Ochtervelt, The oyster meal
    Estimate £1,500,000–2,500,000
    Formulating his own distinctive style, Jacob Ochtervelt became one of the leading genre painters in Rotterdam, Holland, in the second half of the 17th century, of which the present work is an excellent example. Much has been written about the subject of this and similar pictures; then as now oysters were seen as emblems of sexual pleasure, and the disordered bedclothes and the bed itself are further indications that we are in a room intended as much for love as for sleep. Its refined style and amorous theme make this painting one of the artist’s finest surviving works.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Old Masters from the Van Dedem Collection
    Balthasar van der Ast, Flower still life in a glass beaker on a stone ledge
    Estimate £600,000–800,000
    Balthasar van der Ast was a painter of considerable versatility and energy. His known oeuvre consists of over two hundred works in a wide variety of formats, ranging in size from small intimate panels and coppers such as this to large and more complex compositions. This superlative and beautifully preserved example displays a glass beaker filled with a colourful variety of blooms, set upon a stone ledge into which the artist has ‘carved’ his name in paint as a trompe-l'œil, while the bouquet as a whole teems with insects. This panel dates from the year 1622, in the middle of what was to be Van der Ast’s most successful and productive period, the first half of the 1620s, and may be considered among his very finest works of this date.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Old Masters from the Van Dedem Collection
    Peter Paul Rubens, Christ on the Cross
    Estimate £600,000–800,000
    This densely packed scene , painted within the confines of a panel no larger than a standard bible, centres around the poignant image of the crucified Christ, a subject that Rubens was to return to repeatedly throughout his life. Christ on the Cross captures the artist’s inventiveness, spontaneous brushwork and ability as a colourist. Painted in today’s highly prized medium of the oil sketch, it vividly embodies the artist’s compositional ideas and succeeds admirably in conveying on a diminutive scale a monumental scene.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Old Masters from the Van Dedem Collection
    Jan Brueghel the Elder and Hendrick van Balen, Diana and her nymphs after the hunt
    Estimate £600,000–800,000
    The subject of Diana and her nymphs has been a perennially desirable one for artists, offering as it does the opportunity to allude to the mythological origin of the courtly pursuit of hunting and to depict a variety of animals, detailed still lifes, bosky landscapes, and of course the female nude. It was a theme that saw particular popularity in 17th-century Flanders and The Netherlands, and was often treated collaboratively. Brueghel, who executed the landscape, animals and still life, and van Balen, who painted the figures, frequently worked together on such paintings; they painted at least five other renditions of this subject, which all date, like the present work , to between 1620 and 1625.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Old Masters from the Van Dedem Collection
    Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Christ with the Woman Taken in Adultery
    Estimate £300,000–400,000
    This painting is the only work with an autograph signature and date among fifteen versions of this composition by Pieter Brueghel the Younger or his workshop, which all follow an original design by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, today in The Courtauld Gallery, London. The artist has here interpreted the scene in his own characteristically colourful palette, drawing more figures out of the background and carefully delineating them, granting a fascinating insight into Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s artistic vision and interpretation of his father’s work.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Old Masters from the Van Dedem Collection
    Lucas van Valckenborch, An expansive landscape with a river valley and a rushing mountain stream
    Estimate £200,000–300,000
    It is not hard to see why Lucas van Valckenborch’s cabinet pictures such as this were so favoured by collectors at the Imperial courts in Brussels, Prague and beyond, for the luminous beauty of his landscapes in this format completely transcend their tiny dimensions. This beautiful example is a late work by the artist, painted just before the turn of the 17th century, and reveals him as one of the most talented painters of the generation that continued the World Landscape tradition instigated by Pieter Breugel the Elder.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
  • Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A., The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen
    Estimate £1,200,000–1,800,000
    Among the great highlights of the summer sale is J.M.W. Turner’s Lake Lucerne from Brunnen – which is considered to be one of the greatest and most beautiful Turner watercolours to remain in private hands.  It forms part of the celebrated group of twenty-five ‘finished’ landscapes that Turner made during the final decade of his life and that were inspired by his travels to Switzerland between 1841 and 1844. It is these fully realised ‘late’ Swiss works that, above all others, have come to be seen as the pinnacle of Turner’s achievements in watercolour and the ‘climax of a lifetime devoted to the expression of light and colour.’ The watercolour has exceptional provenance. It can be considered as the ‘sister’ of the iconic Blue Rigi (Tate Britain) and has not appeared on the market since 1967.

    Old Master & British Works on Paper
    4 July | London
  • Ferdinand Bol, Self-Portrait.
    Estimate £300,000-500,000
    Ferdinand Bol, who was among the most talented artists to work in Amsterdam with Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), painted this self-portrait leaning on a stone balustrade in about 1647. Taking a work by his teacher as his starting point, he has given the composition its own distinctive character. Bol was arguably at his most original in the genre of portraiture and an imaginative interpreter of his own self-image. Here Bol places himself in the pictorial tradition of the elegant gentleman–artist of elevated status. This painting is one of the last of Bol’s self-portraits in private hands.

    Old Masters Evening Sale
    4 July | London
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