Upcoming auctions of old masters in London

1. George Stubbs (1724-1806)
Mares and Foals
Oil on canvas - 99.7 x 188.6 cm
Sale Sotheby’s, 8/12/10
Photo : Sotheby’s

6/12/10 – Art market – London – As is now the tradition, every year in early December Christie’s and Sotheby’s offer major auctions for old masters in London. The 2010 edition very clearly favors the former. Sotheby’s is presenting very little in the way of significant works. There are, however, a remarkable work by George Stubbs, Mares and Foals (ill. 1), a beautiful Portrait of Diana Russell, Lady Newport by Peter Lely, a large Liberation of Saint Peter by Luca Giordano and a Venitian by Nicolas Régnier, unpublished, representing A Young Woman Pouring Red Wine. Also worthy of notice is the ensemble of seven panels by Goswijn van der Weyden, the grandson of the great Rogier, representing scenes from the life of Saint Dymphna with several very beautiful pieces. Some other paintings with tentative attributions are also excellent, such as a Mary and Joseph Adoring the Child Jesus ascribed to the circle of Giuseppe Maria Crespi.
The few canvases presented at the preview showing for the New York January auctions are much more important (Venus and Adonis by Jacopo Amigoni, a Pannini, a strange Allegory by Willem Willemsz. Van Vliet…).

2. Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665)
Oil on canvas - 95.5 x 121 cm
Duke of Rutland’s collection
Sale Christie’s, 7/12/2010
Photo : Christie’s

At Christies, Ordination by Nicolas Poussin (ill. 2) is obviously the highlight of the auction (see news item of 7/9/10), even though this will mean seeing it separated from the four other Sacraments which are still together, a dramatic loss. It will probably be banned for export temporarily after the sale, but how can the National Gallery in London raise the funds needed to acquire it when it is still attempting to purchase the second Titian belonging to the Duke of Sutherland (see news item of 4/2/09) ? We can only hope that another National Gallery, in Washington this time, which already holds one of the other paintings from this series, will procure it.

3. Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670)
Portrait of a Man
Oil on canvas - 111.7 x 96.2 cm
Sale Christie’s, 7/12/10
Photo : Christie’s

4. Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670)
Portrait of a Woman
Oil on canvas - 111.7 x 96.2 cm
Sale Christie’s, 7/12/10
Photo : Christie’s

On the subject of separating works which form an ensemble, we would like to say that it is highly regrettable to see the pair of canvases by Bartholomeus van der Helst (ill. 3 and 4) representing a couple being sold separately.

5. Joseph Anton Koch (1768-1839)
Historical Landscape with a Rainbow, 1806
Oil on canvas - 73.5 x 60.3 cm
Sale Christie’s, 7/12/10
Photo : Christie’s

We could easily quote a long list of paintings at this auction. However, we point out simply, and without necessarily choosing the most famous names, a large Gerrit van Honthorst, The Adoration of the Shepherds, a monumental still-life by Anne Vallayer-Coster, a beautiful Garofalo, Saint Jerome in the Desert (despite a slight flaw in the position of the right arm), a few English portraits (Lawrence, Reynolds…) and a fine Heroic Landscape with Rainbow by Joseph Anton Koch (ill. 5).

Sotheby’s, Old Master & British Paintings, Evening Sale, 8 December 2010 (catalogue)
Sotheby’s, Old Master & British Paintings, Day Sale, 9 December 2010 (catalogue)
Christie’s, Old Masters & 19th Century Paintings and Watercolours, Evening Sale, 7 December 2010 (catalogue)
Christie’s, Old Masters & 19th Century Paintings and Watercolours, Day Sale, 8 December 2010 (catalogue).

Didier Rykner, lundi 6 décembre 2010

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