Must-See Master Paintings & Sculpture Under $50,000

31 January | New York
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Whether it's impressive British portraits, Dutch still lifes and landscapes or stunning early works dating to the 15th century, Sotheby's Master Paintings & Sculpture Day sale presents a diverse selection of art spanning 500 years. With many works on offer for less than $50,000, our specialists share their favorites, all at accessible price points.

Must-See Master Paintings & Sculpture Under $50,000

  • Abraham de Vries, Portrait of a Bearded Gentleman, Bust Length, With a Lace Collar. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    "One of the joys of collecting Old Master Paintings is that it is still possible to buy wonderful and high quality works at very accessible prices. This engaging Portrait of a Bearded Gentleman by the Dutch painter Abraham de Vries is an excellent example. It dates to the 1640s, when the artist begins to show the influence of Rembrandt. In most all of his portraits, de Vries shows an incisive ability to capture the personality and intellect of his subjects." –Christopher Apostle
  • Attributed to Lucas van Valckenborch, A Path in the Mountain. Estimate $8,000–12,000.
    "This luminous scene is undoubtedly among my favorite paintings in this sale. Although small in scale, the artist has successfully rendered an imposing and captivating landscape. Its appeal for me also lies in the contrast between the loose and lively brushstrokes of the mountain and the tiny, charming details scattered throughout, such as the group of figures near the bridge in the distance, the animals upon the rocky outcrops at right, and the delicate wooden railing that lines the pathway up the mountain." –Elisabeth Lobkowicz
  • Johannes Voorhout, A Young Scholar Reading by a Lamplight in a Study with an Ecorché Model and a Plaster Head of a Putto on a Table. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    "This painting reflects the desire on the part of 17th century artists to align their practice with intellectual pursuits, and Voorhout’s inclusion of a famous écorché model was a way for him to show off his skill in depicting human anatomy as well. I also like the dramatic shadows that emphasize how the student is 'burning the midnight oil' – it reminds me of grad school, except I had electricity." –Molly Harrington
  • Friedrich Kisters
    Flemish School, Portrait of a Man, Bust-Length. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    "The immediacy and direct stare of the sitter feels to me like it should be a self-portrait. It has previously been considered a self-portrait by the Flemish painter Adriaen Brouwer, but modern scholarly consensus is mixed. Whatever, and whoever it is, I love it. The spontaneity of brushwork is a perfect complement to the piercing gaze of the subject. I suspect the mystery will be solved soon!" –David Pollack
  • Nicolas de Largillierre, Portrait of a Gentleman, Said to be the Chamberlain De Montargu, Half-Length, Wearing a Breastplate over a Red Velvet Jacket with Gold Embroidered Sleeves. Estimate $40,000–60,000.
    "This handsome portrait by Largilliere is beautifully preserved. While his wig and costume may not exactly be 'timeless,' look at the detail of the stubble on his face and expression in his eyes – it’s as if you know him, as if it was painted yesterday." –Calvine Harvey
  • Eglon Hendrick van der Neer, A Portrait of a Woman, Three Quarter Length, Seated with a Lute in a Landscape. Estimate$30,000–40,000.
    "I have always thought that Eglon Hendrick van der Neer was one of the first plein-air landscape painters. Working in the late 17th century, he painted beautiful and vibrant independent landscapes. In the background of this small work you see one such a landscape that, although it needs to be cleaned, is in lovely condition." –George Wachter
  • South German, circa 1500, Lifesize Corpus of Christ. Estimate$25,000–45,000.
    "Perhaps it’s my German blood, but I have always loved German Gothic and Renaissance wood sculpture from the South. This life-size corpus has all of the hyper-realism and pathos that epitomizes the work of this period. That coupled with the contrasts of light and shadow created by the deeply carved ringlets of hair and numerous folds of drapery, produce an arresting moment." –Margaret Schwartz
  • Lorenzo Costa, Saint Catherine in a Landscape, Estimate $30,000–40,000.
    "The compact size and subject of this earlier work by Lorenzo Costa suggests that it was probably made for an altarpiece. The landscape in the background of this composition, likely inspired from the paintings of Perugino and Lippi, was a new development for Costa. It creates a sense of depth that makes this devotional piece truly special and a great opportunity for collectors to acquire a quintessential Italian Renaissance artwork." –Alexa Armstrong
  • Thomas de Keyser, Equestrian Portrait of a Gentleman, Traditionally Identified as Signeur De Maarsseveen. Estimate$40,000–60,000.
    "This is far and away my favorite painting under $50,000 in the Day Sale. For one thing, it is by Thomas de Keyser, and there must be more to be found out about it. For example, that house in the background must be the residence of the man on horseback, who commissioned the painting. I also love the way the riding party is coming up the road, slowing being revealed as they mount the path upward." –Otto Naumann

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