No Reserves: Accessible Old Master Paintings and Drawings

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Old Master art encompasses a lush variety of subjects and styles, depicting an abundance of allegories, landscapes, cultures and history throughout the years in Europe. From the idealization of Ancient Rome in Renaissance religious scenes to the decadent yet frivolous depiction of opulence in the Dutch still lifes, each works depicts the unique sentiments and styles of its time and place. For the aspiring buyer hoping to begin the perfect collection, Sotheby’s Old Masters Online sale offers a wide range of important paintings and drawings at no reserve. Click ahead to learn more about the accessible lots that will be offered in the sale.

Old Masters Online
10–24 April | Online

No Reserves: Accessible Old Master Paintings and Drawings

  • Manner of Antonio Canale, called Canaletto, A view of the Bacino di San Marco from the entrance to the Giudecca Canal. Estimate $6,000–8,000.
    During the 18th century, Canaletto was renowned for his large scale Venetian vedute that captured the daily life of the city and its people. These paintings, depicted with such topographical and atmospheric accuracy, became quite popular and were frequently imitated. The present painting is by an anonymous artist looking at Canaletto’s work in order to perfect his own. Not only is it a lovely landscape of Venice, but this canvas also appears to be based on a painting by Canaletto in the Wallace Collection, London (P499). Pseudo-replicas such as these become an affordable gateway to owning works with shared qualties to those in museums.

  • Thomas Miles Richardson R.W.S., The village of Bourg-Saint-Pierre on the Great St. Bernard Pass. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
    Thomas Miles Richardson was a keen painter of Scottish landscapes and travelled on tours around Scotland and North England. The present watercolor offers access to the views that inspired many to embark on the grand tours through Europe. These renditions, probably done on sight, served as souvenirs and subtle reminders of their trips.

  • Marco Grubacs, Piazza San Marco by moonlight, Venice. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
    The present painting is reminiscent of a larger canvas Christie’s offered in 2001 as "Attributed to Carlo Grubacs" (Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 5 July 2001, Lot 44). This panel by Marco Grubacs is smaller and from a later date but also captures the splendor of Venice when touched by the moonlight. The charming size of this panel makes it the ideal decorative piece.

  • Follower of Phillips Wouwermans, Rabbit huntsmen on their way home. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    This painting quite possibly could have been made during the end of the 17th century or beginning of the 18th century, when many painters in Antwerp and Paris were copying pictures by Wouwerman to satisfy the growing demand of art collectors all over Europe. The present composition, like much of Wouwerman’s works, depicts the everyday life with travelers in a landscape. This painting – made by an anonymous artist – is an affordable option for those attracted to such quintessentially Dutch compositions from the Golden Age.

  • Circle of Franz Christoph Janneck, A landscape with a shepherd with his cattle and sheep, a village and mountains beyond. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
    Franz Christoph Janneck, best known as an artist for his lavishing and elegant genre scene, also painted a number of small landscapes. Both Janneck and the present artist of this work were strongly influenced by Flemish artists, while showing affinities with Austrian contemporary artists. Judging from the few dated works by Janneck, it seems that he was most prolific in depicting landscapes in Vienna circa 1730. In light of this, it is possible that the artist of this work was also practicing in Vienna around the same time.


  • Attributed to Paulus Pietersz. Potter, Three cows in a pasture. Estimate $10,000–15,000.
    Potter became exceedingly popular in France and England during the 18th century, leading many artists to imitate his works. This panel is a testament of the success Potter had as a landscape painter.

  • Sienese School, early 17th century, The Three Maries at the Tomb. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    The magic of drawings is that one can delve into the mind of an artist during the creative process. Here the lines, composed of brown ink, wash and red chalk, create an energetic composition of a solemn subject.

  • After Tiziano Vecellio, called Titian, An allegory of Marriage. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
    This composition appears to derive from a painting Titian made before circa 1530 now in a private collection. Though it is most likely a later copy, it serves as an example of the popularity Titian had even long after the 16th century. This copy can be seen as a celebration of all the artists Titian inspired, and continues to inspire.

  • Louis-Léopold Boilly, Portraits of two young women, bust length, dressed in green offered as a pair. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
    This pair is to be included in the catalogue raisonné of Louis Léopold Boilly, currently being prepared by Étienne Bréton and Pascal Zuber. The pair is of a charming size and decorative nature, which is appealing to new collectors.

  • Flemish School, late 17th century, Head of an apostle. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
  • Follower of Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Portrait of a young lady, half length, wearing a white and yellow dress and a mantilla. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
  • French School, 18th century, Portrait of a Lady, half length. Estimate $1,500–2,000.
    This elegant portrait in a delicate medium presents well and preserves much of its detail. It is a lovely decorative image at an appealing price.

  • Allan Ramsay and Studio, Portrait of Miss Leighton, three-quarter length, wearing a white satin dress and blue scarf. Estimate $2,000–3,000.
    Though the identity of the sitter is uncertain – the painting could portray Anne Leighton, her sister or Renea Leighton, the wife of Francis Leighton – this work embodies the longstanding tradition of capturing striking images of family members, which continues to this day. Offered at an affordable price, this portrait was painted on a large canvas, making this lot a great deal for new or seasoned collectors alike.

  • Circle of Thomas Gainsborough, Portrait of Captain Sharpe, half length. Estimate $3,000–4,000.
    Though the present lot was previously offered as work by Thomas Gainsborough, it has come to light that this work was possibly by an anonymous artist practicing at the same time. Undoubtedly inspired by Gainsborough, this handsome portrait offers an affordable option for those interested in the artist. 

  • Circle of Simon Vouet, Portrait of a Young Man in Armor, three-quarter length. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
    This painting appears to be close to a portrait by Vouet in the Musée du Louvre, Paris. Bidding starts at an approachable price and provides a good opportunity for young collectors to own a canvas that appears to derive its inspiration from a painting in a museum.

  • Florentine School, late 16th century, An allegorical portrait of Dante, bust length. Estimate $7,000–9,000.
    Allegories of Dante were popular throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, as artists turned to literature for inspiration.

  • Follower of Salvator Rosa, Democritus in Meditation. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
    Salvator Rosa was a prolific etcher whose works favored subjects borrowed from classical antiquity, such as the print above that appears to have inspired the present canvas.

  • Follower of Adriaen Brouwer, A tavern interior with figures around a table. Estimate $5,000–7,000.
  • Circle of Melchior de Hondecoeter, Decorative fowl by a river. Estimate $2,000–4,000.
    In the second half of the 1600s, still lifes of birds and animals were particularly popular, as they commemorated the aristocratic country life. In the Netherlands, Melchior de Hondecoeter was one among the many sought-after artists, known especially for his depictions of live fowls and other exotic birds. This composition most probably derives inspiration from his work, and given its size and decorative nature, it is a very accessible for new collectors.

    This composition most probably derives inspiration from his work, and given its size and decorative nature, it is a very accessible for new collectors.
    This composition most probably derives inspiration from his work, and given its size and decorative nature, it is a very accessible for new collectors.
  • After Luca Cambiaso, Venus disarming Cupid. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
    This painting depicts a mythological scene that appears to draw inspiration from compositions by Luca Cambiaso.

  • After Sir Peter Paul Rubens, The consequences of war. Estimate $3,000–5,000.
    This work is a smaller scale copy of a painting Rubens made in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. It is an accessible opportunity for emerging collectors to own a panel that draws inspiration from a work in a museum.

  • Flemish School, early 17th century, The infant Bacchus holding up a glass filled with wine surrounded by a bacchanal of putti drinking and dancing. Estimate $4,000–6,000.
  • Cuzco School, 18th century, Mary and Joseph Being Refused Entry to the Inn. Estimate $5,000–7,000.

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