Highlights from Old Masters in Los Angeles including Rembrandt, Brueghel & More

A still life with apples and peaches.
Launch Slideshow

Works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Jan Brueghel the Elder and Angelica Kauffman are among a selection of magnificent Old Master Paintings that will be on view at Sotheby's Los Angeles on 6–7 November. Click ahead to discover more works from the upcoming London and New York Old Master auctions that will be traveling to the West Coast.

Exhibition Information
Old Master Paintings
Sotheby's Los Angeles
6–7 November 2018
10 AM–5 PM

Highlights from Old Masters in Los Angeles including Rembrandt, Brueghel & More

  • Balthasar van der Ast, A still life with apricots, cherries, a wild strawberry, red currants, shells and insects. Estimate $400,000–600,000.
    This simple yet beautifully observed still life is a wonderful example of Balthasar Van der Ast’s virtuosity on a small scale. Here, the three apricots at center are surrounded by various fruits, insects and rare shells, all on a stone ledge, with a few droplets of fresh water at lower center. Although the objects may seem casually arranged, they are, in fact, carefully placed to create a balanced and naturalistic impression, while the low vantage point and dark shadows add a sense of immediacy and dynamism to the composition. Although van der Ast was initially rooted in the traditions of Jan Brueghel the Elder and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder (his brother in law), his ambitious and realistic paintings, like the present work, allowed him to establish his own artistic reputation that put him at the forefront of Netherlandish still life painting in the first half of the 17th century.
  • Rembrandt van Rijn, Study of the head of a young man. Estimate £6,000,000–8,000,000.
    On a small oak panel Rembrandt depicts the head of a young man with long black hair and a flowing beard, his gaze directed upwards and his clasped hands raised in supplication. The model – whose identity remains unknown to us – was very likely a member of the Jewish community living in Rembrandt’s neighborhood, chosen by the master to serve as the basis on which he would develop a new type of face to represent Christ. In features such as the hair and beard the depiction looks to traditional images of Christ, but the physiognomy and characterization of the face itself is clearly based on study from life. Indeed, in the 1656 inventory of Rembrandt’s chattels, there is an entry for: ‘Een Christus tronie nae ‘t leven’ (‘A head of Christ after life’).

    Rembrandt would use this facial type in several major works of the late 1640s, such as the so-called Hundred Guilder Print, which depicts Christ preaching, and the painting of Christ and His Disciples at Emmaus of 1648, now in the Musée du Louvre, Paris.
  • Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, Italian landscape, with haystacks at left and a farm on the hill to the right. Estimate $60,000–80,000.
    Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot was one of the most important landscape painters of 19th-century France. His style absorbs that of the 17th-century masters Claude Lorrain and Nicolas Poussin, while anticipating the Impressionist landscapes of the later 19th century. The warm light and terrain is that of Italy, a country to which Corot traveled multiple times and where he found great inspiration. Corot-scholars Martin Dieterle and Claire Lebeau date the painting to 1827–28, towards the end of his first trip to Italy.
  • Jan Brueghel the Elder, An extensive coastal landscape with fishermen landing and selling their catch, Jonah being cast overboard offshore. Estimate £1,800,000–2,500,000.
    This painting is one of Jan Brueghel the Elder’s earliest works, probably painted in 1594/95, when he was still in Rome (before going to Milan) in the employ of influential patrons such as Cardinals Ascanio Colonna and Federico Borromeo. This work was recorded in another eminent Roman collection – that of Cardinal Antonio Barberini – in 1644, where it had probably already been for at least a decade. The composition combines two subjects that Brueghel favored early on in his career: marines, and harbor or beach scenes with fishermen, which reflect the lasting influence of the artist’s father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and the conception of the ‘World Landscape’ – panoramic vistas filled with detail and attention to perspective and atmospheric conditions.The excellent state of preservation of this painting on copper offers a fantastic opportunity to study Brueghel’s fine brushwork, subtlety of modeling and his handling of minute, luminescent details, which established his reputation and help us to readily understand the great appreciation his works received at this early stage of his career.
  • Fede Galizia, A glass compote with peaches, jasmine flowers, quinces, and a grasshopper. Estimate $2,000,000–3,000,000.
    Fede Galizia, who was celebrated in late 16th-century art literature as a painter of portraits and altarpieces, was also the leader of the Milanese school of Baroque still life painting. Although she produced fewer than 20 refined, naturalistic still life compositions on panel, her works inspired followers in her lifetime and continue to enchant viewers today. A glass compote with peaches, jasmine flowers and a grasshopper is probably the first of several autograph versions of the same composition. The painting beautifully displays Galizia’s attention to realistic details and her ability to create a sense of grand scale within an intimate format.
  • Jan Frans van Dael, Still life of flowers in a vase with a pineapple, peaches, and grapes on a stone ledge. Estimate $300,000–500,000.
    Jan Frans van Dael was one of the most highly regarded painters of flowers and fruit in Paris during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. He turned to still-life painting after training as an architect in his native Antwerp. He moved to Paris in 1786 as a decorative painter and gained important commissions at the chateaux of Saint-Cloud, Bellevue and Chantilly, among others. In 1793 Van Dael acquired lodgings in the Louvre and came under the guidance of his fellow countryman, Gerard van Spaendonck, the leading still-life painter of the time, whose influence inspired Van Dael to specialise in the genre for the rest of his career. The popularity of his work is attested to by the commissions he secured from patrons as important and influential as the Empresses Josephine and Marie-Louise Bonaparte, and the Restoration kings Louis XVIII and Charles X. When he died in 1840, Van Dael was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery next to van Spaendonck.
  • Jan Sanders van Hemessen, Christ as Triumphant Redeemer. Estimate $400,000–600,000.
    This never-before-published picture is a recent discovery. It was painted by the Flemish painter Jan Sanders van Hemessen circa 1545, and is among the artist’s most striking and modern compositions. Though previously known through a small handful of inferior versions, the paint of this example is the best preserved, in no small part due to the later overpaint (recently removed) which covered nearly the entire surface. The rainbow coloring effect is very rare and unusual in Early Netherlandish painting, and imbues the picture with an overall sense of modernity.
  • Joachim Anthonisz Wtewael, The Banquet of the Gods. Estimate Upon Request.
    This glittering copper depicting a "Banquet of the Gods" is an extraordinary work by Joachim Wtewael, one of the most important Netherlandish artists of the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Wtewael was praised by his contemporaries for his versatility and refinement, capable of working across mediums and on both large and small scales, and he was known during his lifetime as a brilliant colorist as well as an imaginative and inventive storyteller. Within this tiny composition, which derives from a famous print of 1587 by Hendrick Goltzius, nearly 50 figures have been dexterously arranged for a celestial banquet set within a glade and upon an elaborate arrangement of clouds. With its elegant forms, classical subject and finely rendered technique, this painting is a paradigm of the Dutch Mannerist tradition.
  • Angelica Kauffmann, R.A., Portrait of Lady Georgiana Spencer, Henrietta Spencer and George Viscount Althorp. Estimate $600,000–800,000.
    This elegant and charming portrait depicts the three children of John Spencer, 1st Earl Spencer (1734-1783) and his wife Georgiana (d. 1814). One of the wealthiest families in England, the young generation of Spencers depicted here were prominent figures in the English aristocracy. Seated at left with a handful of flowers is Georgiana Spencer, who later became the Duchess of Devonshire when she married William, 5th Duke of Devonshire in 1774, and was one the most famous and powerful society woman in the 18th century. Her sister, Lady Henrietta Frances, later the Countess of Bessborough, is depicted at the center holding an arrow. On the right is George John, Viscount Althorp and later 2nd Earl Spencer, who would become a Member of Parliament for Northampton and later for Surrey. Angelica Kauffmann moved to England in 1766 after studying in Rome, where she first met the Spencers. The family were among her earliest British patrons; by the late 1770s Kauffmann was one of the most sought-after painters in England and was one of only two female founding members of the Royal Academy.

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