The Remarkable Old Masters from The SØR Rusche Collection

Launch Slideshow

Ahead of Sotheby's SØR Rusche Collection online and Old Masters sales we take a look at some of the finest of the more than 220 Old Master paintings, made up of 17th-century Dutch and Flemish works. Together they offer a broad survey of Dutch painting and a fascinating insight into the diverse range of art that was created and collected in the Netherlands during that period. Click above to see the highlights.

The Remarkable Old Masters from The SØR Rusche Collection

  • Daniel de Blieck, Church interior
    Estimate £6,000-8,000
    Daniel de Blieck specialised in architectural paintings. This work is distinguished by the beautiful marble columns featured in the foreground, in contrast to many of his other paintings, which depict plain, whitewashed Calvinist church interiors. The fascination for this genre developed with an increased understanding of perspective and the effect of light on architectural geometry.
  • Pieter de Bloot, Parable of the blind
    Estimate £6,000-8,000
    ‘The blind leading the blind’ is an idiom that finds its roots in ancient Sanskrit texts dating back to 800 BC, and has been echoed in philosophical and religious writings ever since, including Matthew 15:14. Pieter Bruegel the Elder painted what is probably the most famous depiction of this verse in 1568, and it is highly probable that De Bloot had knowledge of that work. Here, he has translated the different characterisations and diagonal composition of Bruegel’s painting into his own distinctive artistic vocabulary.
  • Jan Van Kessel the Elder, Floral Garland with the Christ Child as Salvator Mundi
    Estimate £15,000-25,000
    Jan van Kessel was a member of the great Brueghel dynasty of artists, and took much inspiration from his grandfather, Jan Brueghel the Elder, who pioneered the development of the genre of garland paintings. Born out of the imagery of the Counter Reformation, garlands typically surround devotional images or portraits, executed in collaboration with a figure painter. The reverse of this panel bears the mark of the Antwerp panelmaker, François de Bout (active 1637-1649), who is known to have provided many of David Teniers the Younger’s panels.
  • Claes Claesz. Wou, Storm off a rocky coastline
    Estimate £6,000-8,000
    This painting on panel, about the size of a large postcard, is an eloquent tonal description of the cold, stormy atmosphere of the sea on a forbidding coastline. The scudding clouds, choppy waves, and the small forms of the seagulls borne aloft by the gusts of wind are convincingly conveyed through energetic brushwork and a number of shades of grey.
  • Herman Saftleven, the Younger, Barn Interior
    Estimate £8,000-12,000
    A quiet interior is bathed in golden afternoon light, which streams in from a window on the left, revealing a clear blue sky. Inside, the precariously-balanced earthenware jug, propped-up yoke, abandoned broom, scattered egg and mussel shells and the overturned copper pot that still holds water, though not the three fish now on the ground, are transformed into a poetic moment of tranquillity.
  • Willem van Mieris, Ceres and Bacchus
    Estimate £12,000-18,000
    Willem van Mieris belongs to the second generation of Leiden fijnschilder painters – artists working in the style pioneered by Gerrit Dou, creating works distinguished by meticulously-executed, exquisite details and smooth surfaces. Trained in the workshop of his father, Frans van Mieris, Willem was particularly interested in the idealisation of the female nude, following his study of classical sculpture. This preoccupation is clearly reflected here in the elegant figure of Ceres.
  • D. Witting, Vanitas still life
    Estimate £10,000-15,000
    Virtually all still lifes painted in this period had a moralistic message, generally concerned with the brevity of life and mankind’s preoccupation with worldly goods and pleasures. The vanitas theme is particularly explicit in this work with the inclusion of a skull adorned with a laurel wreath. The variety of objects on the table are an exercise in depicting the effects of light, directed from the left-hand side, on differing textures, from the feather, to the smooth gourd, to the sheaves of paper.
  • Gerhart van Steenwyck, Interior with still life of armour
    Estimate £20,000-30,000
    This painting is one of only three signed works by Gerhart van Steenwyck on which the identity of this artist rests. Only a handful of other paintings have been ascribed to him - interior still lifes featuring a similar interest in the meticulous depiction of gleaming armour. It is believed that the artist may have worked in Delft alongside painters such as Anthonie Palamedesz. creating guardroom scenes, and possibly Leiden, with knowledge of the fijnschilder works of Gerrit Dou, amongst others.
  • Willem Cornelisz. Duyster, Young officer
    Estimate £20,000-30,000
    This painting of a single, military figure standing in contemplation against an entirely plain background is a very rare image in Dutch art of this time, and all the more arresting as a result. One can almost draw parallels with the corresponding ideas, though entirely different styles, in the works of Diego Velázquez, and later Édouard Manet. Duyster himself reused this figure in an interior guardroom scene in which the soldier considers a woman kneeling in remorse (Musée du Louvre, Paris, inv. no. 1229).
  • Jan Verkolje, the Elder, Portrait of Jacomina le Pla
    Estimate £4,000–6,000
    This portrait depicts Jacomina Le Pla (1647-81), who married the Leiden merchant David van Royen (1625-79) in 1666. Van Royen, Director of the 'Levantsche Handel ter Kramer', took a leading role in long-distance trade with the Eastern Mediterranean. The presence of the black attendant in this portrait also implies that the Van Royens had business connections further afield, and 'exotic' members of the household were a sought-after status symbol at this time.
  • Cornelis van Poelenburgh, St Peter in an Italianate Landscape
    Estimate £10,000-15,000
    Cornelis van Poelenburgh was one of the first Dutch artists to travel to Rome in the early 17th century and to incorporate the influence of Italian painting into his work. While there he met the German painter, Adam Elsheimer, whose series of small paintings of saints, also on copper, clearly influenced this painting. Executed with the refinement of a miniature, the copper plate is painted on both sides, the reverse depicting a rocky landscape.
  • Attributed to Otto Marseus Van Schrieck, Kitchen still life with fishes, lobster, and cauliflower
    Estimate £4,000-6,000
    This is one of the earliest works to be signed and dated by Otto Marseus van Schrieck, and is also his only known fish still life, painted during his Italian sojourn between 1652 and 1657. Best known for his dark, atmospheric depictions of forest floor fauna and flora, as well as snakes, lizards and butterflies - captured specimens of which he would even apply to the paint surface - this work shows us that the young artist started his career painting a different sort of still life.

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