Reappearance of a painting by Jacques Stella in Milan

1. Jacques Stella (1596-1657)
The Marriage of the Virgin
Oil on canvas - 83.5 x 103 cm
Sale Sotheby’s Milan, November 20, 2007
Photo : Sotheby’s

1/12/2007 — Discovery — Jacques Stella — Tuesday, 20th November during a sale at Sotheby’s in Milan, a Marriage of the Virgin (ill. 1) was put up for auction and ascribed to the French School of the XVIIth C. with an estimate of 15 to 20,000 €. The final sale price reached 120,250 € (without charges) since the canvas was obviously recognized by several knowledgeable amateurs [1] as actually being an important unknown painting by Jacques Stella, related to the tapestry cartoon of the same subject belonging to the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse.
It is not known if this is an early study for the latter or if it is an independent work using the same composition, which Stella often did. The question will have to be debated by the artist’s specialists. This new Marriage of the Virgin in fact presents several differences with the composition in Toulouse, both in the architecture as well as in the figures, which are more numerous, and in the presence of the flying angels. One finds, a similar variation for example, in other interpretations by Stella of Christ Found in the Temple by his Parents.

2. Jacques Stella (1596-1657)
The Holy Family, 1637
Signed and dated
Oil on copper - 29.5 x 42 cm
Sale Uppsala Auktionskammare (Sweden) June 5, 2007
Photo : Uppsala Auktionskammare

3. Jacques Stella (1596-1657)
The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine
Oil on canvas - 39.5 x 45.3 cm
Sale Koller Zürich, September 21, 2007
Photo : Koller

We would like to point out two other Stellas that were not known and reappeared in 2007, correctly identified this time at auctions in Sweden and Switzerland. The first one, a Holy Family on copper (ill. 2), was sold in Uppsala (Uppsala Auktionskammare) on 5th June 2007 for the equivalent of $231,000. The second is an oil on canvas representing The Mystic Marriage of Saint Catherine (ill. 3) which sold at Koller’s in Zurich on 21st September 2007 for 120,000 SF, that is $102,000. Jacques Stella is not a rare figure these days at auction and we hope other works will continue to appear in order to further our knowledge of this artist.

Version française

Didier Rykner, samedi 1er décembre 2007


[1] Our thanks to Alexandre Galdin, who found the correct attribution, for pointing it out to us.

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