Exceptional Works by Rembrandt, van Dyck and Brueghel Lead Highlights of Old Master Paintings Sale

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This December’s Old Masters Evening sale includes a particularly exciting group of 17th century Dutch and Flemish paintings, including portraits, still lifes and landscapes. The highlight is a tender study of a young man by Rembrandt, painted around 1650.

Exceptional Works by Rembrandt, van Dyck and Brueghel Lead Highlights of Old Master Paintings Sale

  • Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Study of the head and clasped hands of a young man as Christ in prayer.
    Estimate £6,000,000-8,000,000.
    In this rapidly painted oil sketch, from circa 1650, Rembrandt depicts the head of a young man. It was painted in one sitting, wet on wet, quite likely from life, and certainly from direct knowledge of a particular model, but it was intended from the outset to represent the head and hands of the young Christ, pensive or in prayer.
  • Sir Anthony van Dyck, Portrait of Charles II (1630–1685) when Prince of Wales.
    Estimate £2,000,000-3,000,000.
    This portrait of the eleven year old Prince of Wales, later King Charles II, and the portrait of his nine year old sister Mary, the Princess Royal and newly married Princess of Orange, were among the last, if not the very last, works that Van Dyck was able to paint for the court of King Charles I. Both were conceived and executed in the summer of 1641, soon after Mary’s marriage to Willem II, Prince of Orange here in London.
  • 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 is one of Jan Brueghel the Elder's earliest works, painted probably at the end of his stay in Rome, before his departure for Milan where he is recorded in the same year. It is a pioneering work, and one that was to prove influential, both on Jan Brueghel's own pictures, and on those of his contemporaries.
  • Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael, A Haarlempje (a panoramic view of Haarlem and the bleaching fields seen from the north-west).
    Estimate £1,500,000-2,000,000.
    This is a Haarlempje, a genre that belongs to Ruisdael, in which he celebrated his native city and its setting in a series of painted panoramas done throughout the 1660s and the first half of the 1670s, and which are widely regarded as among his finest achievements.
  • The Master of Saint Veronica, A portable triptych.
    Estimate £1,200,000 - 1,800,000.
    This beautiful and intensely personal triptych was painted in Cologne around 1410. It is one of the earliest and most complete surviving works of art of its type, and certainly one of the finest examples of early German Gothic art still in private hands.
    (Centre panel: Virgin and Child enthroned before a golden mandorla, with God the Father and angels in adoration above, Saints John the Evangelist, Barbara, Christina, Catherine, Mary Magdalen and John the Baptist seated in a semi-circle below; Inner wings: The Crowning with Thorns, The Crucifixion, The Resurrection and The Ascension; Outer wings: The Way to Calvary.)
  • Jan van de Cappelle, A calm sea.
    Estimate £1,000,000 - 1,500,000.
    This is a particularly successful evocation of a nearly windless summer day in Dutch inshore waters. The view depicted is likely to be imaginary, but evokes the calm shallow waters of the Zuider-Zee or among the islands of Zeeland.
  • Aert van der Neer, Winter landscape with kolf players.
    Estimate £1,000,000-1,500,000
    On a freezing cold but still day in the depth of winter, two gentlemen are playing a game of kolf on a frozen canal in the late afternoon. Aert van der Neer’s composition is set on an unforced diagonal, the left marked off by a repoussoir of buildings and trees, while the right is open, both near the viewer where a frozen watercourse arrives from the left, and beyond where it has curved round the centre of the picture plane and recedes to the far distance.
  • Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Winter landscape with skaters.
    Estimate £700,000-900,000.
    Only a child when his father died, Pieter Brueghel the Younger would come to perpetuate Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s innovative vision of ‘the winter landscape’ – perhaps the theme most highly favoured by one of the most original and resourceful artists of the Northern Renaissance.
  • Balthasar van der Ast, A still life of fruit on a pewter plate, a parakeet perched on a basket, a flower vase, shells and a lizard, on a ledge.
    Estimate £600,000-800,000.
    With this grand display of fruit, flowers and shells, Balthasar van der Ast has created a complex showpiece of great elegance and refinement. This well-preserved painting has been dated between about 1635 and 1640 and is among the finest still lifes made by Van der Ast during his final period in Delft.
  • Sir Anthony van Dyck and Studio, Portrait of Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange (1631–1660).
    Estimate £600,000-800,000.
    Painted shortly after her marriage to Prince Willem of Orange, aged just nine years old, this portrait of Mary, Princess Royal, is the last of the artist’s likenesses of the young princess. The colour of the Princess’s dress in the present painting has been consciously changed from the coral pink with white ribbons – as worn on her wedding day – to a noticeably more orange hue, with blue ribbons at the waist and chest – the colours of the House of Orange-Nassau – strongly suggesting that this is the version that was painted for her new mother-in-law, the Princess of Orange.
  • Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine, in the company of the saintly Virgins: Barbara, Margaret and Dorothea.
    Estimate £400,000-600,000.
    The greatest exponent of the Weibermacht, or ‘Power of Women’, theme of the Northern Renaissance, Lucas Cranach the Elder produced some of art history’s most distinctive and memorable depictions of both sacred and secular female subjects. Common to almost all his portrayals of women are their elegant, elongated forms, rich, courtly attire, and the precious accessories with which they are adorned.
  • Floris Claesz. van Dijck, An uitgestald still life of grapes and cheese on pewter plates, a roemer, a wineglass, pears, olives in a porcelain bowl, a bread roll, on a table draped with a red damask cloth and white lace-trimmed.
    Estimate £300,000-500,000.
    Floris van Dijck was one of the very earliest and most influential of the native Dutch still-life painters. Together with his contemporary, the Fleming Nicolaes Gillis, he was the pioneer of the uitgestald (display) piece still-life, of which this is a quintessential example.
  • Sebastiaen Vrancx, The Story of the Prodigal Son: The Departure of the Prodigal Son; The Prodigal Son's Feast; The Prodigal Son with the Swine; The Return of the Prodigal Son.
    Estimate £300,000-500,000.
    Vrancx had a great sense of theatre, his compositions indeed are often akin to stage-sets populated with actors in costume, and in this lively set of four panels depicting episodes from the story of the Prodigal Son the artist adds a narrative to this artifice.
  • Samuel Palmer, R.W.S, The Lane Side.
    Estimate £300,000-500,000.
    This beautiful little landscape is a rare masterpiece from Palmer’s late Shoreham period, which for many represents the creative high point of Palmer’s individuality as an artist.
  • Leonardo da Vinci, Bust of Christ.
    Estimate £250,000-350,000.
    This arresting and refined image of Christ was painted by a close associate of Leonardo da Vinci around 1510. The frontality of the design and iconography of the painting fit well with the production of the great master and his workshop, and the soft modelling of Christ’s face finds direct parallels in many of Leonardo's followers such as Giampietrino.
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