Except otherwise stated, all results include the premium.
1600 Summer by Pieter II Brueghel
2014 SOLD for $ 5.2M by Sotheby's
Pieter Bruegel chose the theme of peasant life. Their occupations are indeed symbols more or less easy to decode of the struggle between vices and virtues.
The difficulty in deciphering his message, which is explained by the political context, allows the modern viewer to focus his admiration on the anecdote. Bruegel's characters enchant us by their picturesque features and by the exceptional reference to the lifestyle of another time.
Pieter Bruegel died untimely in 1569. His art, however, had a sequel. His mother-in-law Mayken Verhulst transmitted his images to Pieter II and Jan, four and one years old at the father's death.
The large picture of Summer - Harvesters, 119 x 162 cm, painted by Pieter Bruegel in 1565, comes by this way into the suite of modellos used by Pieter Brueghel II (recovering the h from the original spelling of his father's name).
Pieter II copies the characters from the scene made by his father, with a translucid method of transfer. His peasants are placed in a similar landscape, but any moralizing intention has disappeared. He erased the idle fellow and the players to retain one peasant at work with his scythe and the quiet group who takes his snack. The tree no longer separates good and evil.
On January 30, 2014, Sotheby's sold for $ 5.2M from a lower estimate of $ 2.5M one of these scenes of harvest painted by Pieter II, lot 22. This oil on panel 60 x 80 cm is dated 1600, which is quite early in the career of the artist. Tirelessly repeating the same themes, Pieter II has not often dated his paintings in his later career.
1612 Jupiter and Antiope by Goltzius
2010 SOLD for $ 6.8M by Sotheby's
Go further to the North. Haarlem is not yet knowing Frans Hals. Hendrick Goltzius, also influenced by Italy, led his artistic career with a degree of originality. Recognized as one of the best printmakers of his time, he decided in 1600, aged 42, to practice the great art of oil painting.
Like Rubens, Goltzius uses the ancient and mythological themes as an excuse to show nudes. The flesh shown by Goltzius is abundant and always erotic. On January 28, 2010, Sotheby's sold for $ 6.8M Jupiter and Antiope of 1612, 122 x 178 cm. The young woman is sleeping, naked in the light, thus being offered to a satyr. It is illustrated in the press release shared by AuctionPublicity.
This piece has been returned by the Dutch government to the heirs of the Jewish family which had been forced to sell it to Göring.
1615 Crowning with Thorns by Valentin de Boulogne
2016 SOLD for $ 5.2M by Sotheby's
Manfredi takes his friends to taverns and drinking bouts and is probably the first to paint those scenes of bad life that characterize the first post-Caravaggesque generation. All of them are at that time far away from the official commissions they had yet come for, and reliable information is missing in their biographies. It is not exactly known when Valentin de Boulogne arrived in Rome but it was too late for him to meet Caravaggio.
The theme of the decisive moment when action is just rocking also applies to the great Christian dramas. Valentin seems to develop in parallel from his beginnings the themes of Christianity and of tavern life. He is professionally right since his reputation will grow at the end of his career through official orders. He died at 41 in 1632, following a drinking bout as reported by the gossips of that time.
On January 27, 2016, Sotheby's sold for $ 5.2M from a lower estimate of $ 1.5M a Crowning with Thorns 146 x 107 cm painted by Valentin circa 1615. The action is shown at the very moment when the torturer leans to push the crown on the head of Christ. The young soldier makes his famous mocking.
early 1620s Saint André by Georges de la Tour
2021 SOLD for £ 4.3M by Christie's
His work was poorly documented in period. Nevertheless a series of 13 portraits on the theme of Christ and the Apostles looks outstanding in his early career. The set was made in the early 1620s, probably for a local church or monastery, and was donated in 1694 by a canon to the Albi cathedral where it remained until the Révolution. Six of them are currently located. These pictures express spirituality and humanity in the spirit of the Counter-Reformation.
The portrait of Saint James the Greater was sold for $ 3.23M by Sotheby's on January 24, 2008, lot 80.
The portrait of Saint Andrew, oil on canvas 62 x 50 cm, was sold for £ 4.3M on July 8, 2021 by Christie's, lot 42. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1630 Saint Martin by Jordaens
2016 SOLD for $ 4.7M by Sotheby's
In 1628, Jordaens is honored to be chosen with Rubens and van Dyck as one of three painters of church altars for the Augustinian church in Antwerp. Each artist makes a separate work but their simultaneous execution brings some overall homogeneity.
Following this success, Jordaens is commissioned in 1630 for an altar piece in the Benedictine monastery of St Martin in Tournai, on the theme of exorcism.
Preparatory drawings are known. One of them, associated with the beginning of the creative process, is arranged around a diagonal pointing to the healing saint. This design is directly inspired by a miracle painted ten years before by Rubens. The baroque crowd is holding the possessed man in the lower part of the image.
An oil on canvas 122 x 87 cm dated 1630 and consistent with this first drawing has just surfaced. It was sold for $ 4.7M from a lower estimate of $ 4M by Sotheby's on January 28, 2016, lot 27. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
The Benedictines were demanding about the compliance of the images with their religious interpretation of the stories and this version with a stiff and domineering saint did not suit their purpose. In the version that was finally accepted for the monastery, St Martin is leaning over the crowd. The painting for sale is probably a modello made to facilitate the choice of the composition by the patrons.
An analysis by infrared reflectography shows that the face of one of the assistants of the saint, which resembles another portrait of one of the leading monks of that monastery, overpainted a younger head. It opens the interesting hypothesis that the artist hoped a new order benefiting from his preliminary work, more spectacular and closer to Rubens.
early 1640s Maritime Pen Painting by Van de Velde
2015 SOLD for $ 5.4M by Sotheby's
At that time, van de Velde developed a new technique, the penschilderij. He considered after Goltzius that a work of art can reuse on panel or canvas the techniques of drawing for providing the same sharpness of details on a larger size.
The preparation was long and difficult because the white coating used in background had to be perfectly dry to support the whole quality of a pen drawing. No other artist reused the penschilderej.
On January 29, 2015, Sotheby's sold for $ 5.4M from a lower estimate of $ 2M the view of an unidentified harbor with boats and a lively shore, pen painting in ink and oil on panel 48 x 65 cm, lot 32.
The achievement combining the qualities of a painting and those of a drawing is excellent. The artist has managed to execute the backgrounds in a softer line, improving the perception of distance and atmosphere under the beautiful cloudy sky.
Christ Enfant by Le Nain
2018 SOLD for € 3.6M by Rouillac
It shows the young Christ in his age of awareness, kneeling in front of the symbols of the Passion. He is dressed in a wide white tunic, symbol of purity. The evening light is mystical.
This previously unknown image adds a new theme to the Christian iconography. The engraver Wierix who died in 1619 had published the image of a young adult saint in the same attitude. No image of Christ at that age in that role was known up to now. A little later Murillo will be one of the very few artists to consider the pre-adolescence of Christ but in less mystical attitudes. We also knew a newborn Christ sleeping on the cross.
The role of Christ is played on this Le Nain painting by a young boy of about twelve or thirteen with a beautiful childish face, fair skin and blond hair. This very recognizable healthy child appears at various ages in works by Le Nain, as an angel and then as a young peasant.
The small size of this painting indicates that it was made for a private devotional use. It is difficult to appreciate why no similar example is known, especially since it is well matching the new trends of the Counter-Reformation considering that the life of Christ must be analyzed as a whole. On this point the presentiment of sad Madonnas by Botticelli is a precedent.
Le Nain has treated here the age of wisdom when Christ understands and accepts his destiny for the first time. The same passage is important for the kings of France who are assisted by a regency until the age of 13 years. From 1643 to 1651 King Louis XIV is a minor. Once the king has begun his personal reign, it is possible that the boy Christ had a decreasing appeal to the customers of the only survivor of the Le Nain brothers.
This painting of l'Enfant Jésus méditant sur les instruments de la Passion was sold for € 3.6M from a lower estimate of € 1M to be sold by Rouillac on June 10, 2018, lot 60. This work had been classified as Trésor National.
Please read the essay prepared by Rouillac which contains many convincing illustrations to demonstrate the importance of the artwork.
Découverte : Commissaires-priseurs dénicheurs de trésors dans les caves et les greniers de France, les @RouillacSas ont mis la main sur la toile "Le Christ enfant méditant sur la Croix" des frères Le Nain ! Vente prévue le 10 juin au château d’Artigny.— Quotidien de l'Art (@Quotidiendelart) March 16, 2018
Courtesy: Rouillac pic.twitter.com/iZ8bjj03vf
1645 The Wine Harvest by Teniers
2020 SOLD for £ 3.65M by Sotheby's
The story is read from left to right. The grapes brought by the pickers wait in the workshop of the coopers. The old winegrower presents the wine-tasting to the merchant. The villagers form a happy company, gathered around a table. Some are already drunk. Further on, the procession brandishes torches in front of the temple of Bacchus.
The artist has taken care to show with precision the processes and tools of this activity. The merchant, who occupies exactly the central position of the foreground, was certainly the commissioner of the work. The young woman, who looks after three young children and keeps the money bags without worrying about the villagers, is his wife.
Teniers never missed an opportunity to fit himself somewhere in his compositions. He is there, in the middle distance, as a merry drinker who annoys the dog. He is about 35 years old. All elements match for a date around 1645.
Kept as a treasure for 240 years in an English aristocratic family, this painting was sold for £ 3.65M from a lower estimated of £ 3M for sale by Sotheby's on December 10, 2020, lot 12. The title used in its last exhibition in 1881, Worship of Bacchus, suited the Victorian sensibility. It is now The Wine Harvest.
1646 La Fillette au Braisier by Georges de La Tour
2020 SOLD for € 4.3M by Lempertz
A portrait of Saint James the Greater painted circa 1620 for the Albi cathedral was sold for $ 3.23M by Sotheby's on January 24, 2008 from a lower estimate of $ 1.5M, lot 80.
The work of La Tour, revealed in 1915 by Hermann Voss, is famous with the general public by the visibility of the light source, most often a candle. This signature style was developed late, after 1635, with his series of the Penitent Magdalene.
Another source of light is the braising pan. In the dark of the kitchens, the women need it to prepare the meal. The fire smolders in this stove in the form of orange or red amber, and is maintained by stirring or blowing. The potager is a similar instrument where the fire is enclosed to protect the cook from ashes and tar. La Tour is the son of bakers, and the braisier is probably also a childhood memory.
On December 8, 2020, Lempertz sold for € 4.3M from a lower estimate of 3M La Fillette au braisier, oil on canvas 76 x 55 cm including a strip added at the top of the image, lot 11. It is dated around 1646 by Pierre Rosenberg and is the only late Nocturne by La Tour in private hands.
Please watch the video shared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
The peasant girl, seen in profile, blows while collecting a piece of amber. She gives her full attention to this ordinary occupation. The composition is very delicate in its simplicity, without superfluous information on the surrounding of this night scene. This painting may have been a pendant with a young boy blowing glass, two versions of which have been authenticated.
1649 Allegory of Painting by Dou
2012 SOLD for € 3.8M by Lempertz
He was so meticulous that he finished, they say, some of his paintings with a magnifying glass. He preferred working on panel to avoid the grain of a canvas.
On May 12, 2012, Lempertz sold for € 3.8M from a lower estimate of € 1.8M an allegory of painting signed by Dov in 1649. Sizing 68 x 53 cm, it is one of the largest works of the artist.
The old painter is installed in front of an easel, focused on his work. This is not a self-portrait : the artist was then 36 years old.
Various sources of inspiration are arranged around him. Nature is represented by a big dead peacock, poetry by a flying Eros, knowledge by a book, art by a bust, interior scene by a metal pot and a heavy curtain. The workshop is beautifully lit, assessing the influence of Rembrandt.