1640 Psalms for a New World
2013 SOLD 14.2 M$ including premium
The singing of the psalms is a strong element of their liturgy, linking together the first parishioners of that region still in wilderness. Their scholars do not want to use the available British translations. Their new version in English verse takes the excuse of a need to be closer to the original Hebrew text. It was actually a remarkable collective work, and the first sign of their independence from the Church of England.
They now have to publish this text. In London, Josse Glover supports the project and in turn leaves to America in 1638. He did not reach it, but he was accompanied by Stephen Day (or Daye), a locksmith who will be the first printer in New England.
Currently known by the nickname Bay Psalm Book, The Whole Booke of Psalmes Faithfully Translated into English Metre is printed by Day in 1640 in Cambridge and sold by the earliest bookseller of New England, Hezekiah Usher.
The original edition consisted of 1700 copies. For a century, the book was highly successful and often reprinted. Because of its liturgical use, most copies were damaged and destroyed.
The arrival at auction of a copy in good condition of the 1640 edition is an event of the utmost importance for American bibliophiles and patriots. In 1947, one of them went to be more expensive than the Old Testament of the Gutenberg Bible.
Another one is estimated $ 15M to 30M, for sale by Sotheby's in New York on November 26. Here is the link to the home page of the sale. The seller is the Old South Church in Boston which keeps another copy in a similar condition.
POST SALE COMMENT
The Bay Psalm Book was sold for $ 14.2M including premium.
I invite you to play the video shared by Sotheby's :
1641 Van Dyck painted by Himself
2009 SOLD 8.3 M£ including premium
In 1641, a few months before his death, he made the self-portrait on canvas that Sotheby's is selling in London on December 9. He is a typical gentleman of the mid-seventeenth century, with long hair pulled back to clear the forehead, and abundant whiskers. He was shown almost in profile, in an oval format that is highlighted by a splendid frame.
The lower estimate announced by Sotheby's is £ 2 million, but the press retains only the higher estimate, £ 3 million. Recent results for paintings by Van Dyck can actually give hope that this price is reached.
In the same family for three centuries, this portrait was one of the stars of the Van Dyck exhibition at Tate Britain in London last spring.
Here are links to information provided by other sites that encourage sharing. You will access to the photo of the artwork, with in one of these pages the presence of an assistant who gives the scale. I wish you a pleasant visit.
Shared by Guardian
Shared by Bloomberg
Shared by Art Market Monitor
POST SALE COMMENT
This outstanding and attractive painting gets one of the best results of this London sale session: £ 8.3 million including premium.
1641 Royal Children by van Dyck
2018 SOLD for £ 5.9M including premium
When van Dyck began this new mission in 1632, the royal couple had two children, Charles and Mary. James, Elizabeth and Anne will be born later. The artist watches them grow.
The mother, Henriette, brought to the Stuart court her French elegance with luxurious fabrics. A portrait kept in the Boston Museum shows Mary in 1637. The six-year-old princess wears a long silk dress to which the artist's skill brings a lustrous appearance.
On May 2, 1641 Mary marries a prince of Orange. In the days that followed, van Dyck paints a new portrait similar to the previous one, on which the little girl now wears her wedding ring and the brooch offered by her newlywed.
Making autograph copies is a common practice of van Dyck. By the quality of dress and jewels and the transparency of the embroidery, the 158 x 109 cm autograph oil on canvas for sale by Christie's in London on December 6 is perhaps the original painting of 1641. It is estimated £ 5M, lot 15.
On December 5 in London, Sotheby's sells another example of same size, lot 30 estimated £ 600K. The figure of the child is identical but the ambience background has nearly vanished, and the spectacular coral pink gown worn at the wedding has become a saturated orange, probably to please the new Orange in-laws of the princess. A participation of the studio is possible.
A portrait of the same format and same year shows the Prince of Wales later King Charles II, aged 11, in armor. It was probably since its creation a pendant with Mary's picture in orange and is estimated £ 2M for sale by Sotheby's in the same sale, lot 29.
Please watch the videos shared by the auction houses.
RESULTS INCLUDING PREMIUM :
Christie's (Princess Mary) : SOLD for £ 5.9M
Sotheby's (Prince Charles) : SOLD for £ 2.6M
Sotheby's (Princess Mary) : SOLD for £ 790K
These portraits of an 11 year-old Charles II, when Prince of Wales, and his 9 year-old sister Mary, Princess Royal, were among the last works #VanDyck painted for his royal patron, Charles I. #SothebysMasters https://t.co/cGm7aFEAvb pic.twitter.com/lYbs1RzTEW— Sotheby's (@Sothebys) September 13, 2018
1640s The Five Labours of Hercules
2018 SOLD for £ 6.8M including premium
Tacca designs groups in violent action as well as equestrian monuments, made in bronze by assembling elements. His statue of King Philip IV of Spain on a rearing horse only standing on its hind legs and tail is an unprecedented technical feat but the artist died in 1640 just before the installation of this masterpiece.
In 1612 the heir to the throne of England is the 18 years old Prince Henry. He communicates to the Grand Duke of Tuscany his interest in bronzes. Appealed by the idea of an easy support for a new alliance, the Grand Duke commissions to Tacca a set of groups illustrating the labours of Hercules.
Around 1614 Tacca prepares five models but the young English prince had died and the project no longer interests anyone. Twenty years later there were still arrears of payment.
It is not Pietro but his son Ferdinando who brings to perfection the art of the Florentine bronze, with a surface finish that simulates in a differentiated way the skin, the hair, the textile, the hide, the rock, the plant. The five groups of Hercules had remained unused. Ferdinando made the first bronzes of this series after the death of his father. The sculpture is out of fashion. Ten years later Ferdinando had become a theater machinist and an architect.
In 1681 the French King Louis XIV wishes to complete the education of his son and heir the Grand Dauphin. He gathers a collection of nine humanist minded bronzes including four groups of Hercules made in the 1640s by Ferdinando Tacca.
Released from the royal collections during the French Revolution, Hercules slaying the Acheloüs bull, 58 x 55 x 38 cm with a beautiful reddish-brown patina, was sold for $ 1.65M by Sotheby's on May 20, 1994. It will be sold by Christie's in London on July 5, lot 110. The press release of April 16 announces an estimate in the region of £ 5M.
Groupe en bronze représentant Hercule terrassant Achelous sous la forme d'un taureau. Attribué à Ferdinando Tacca, Florence, XVIIe siècle. Cadeau de #LouisXIV au Grand Dauphin en 1681. Portant le n°302 dans l'inventaire des bronzes de la Couronne. @Sothebys Londres 05/07 pic.twitter.com/KA4OE8frr5— Didier P. Doré (@DPDORE) June 19, 2018
1643 Mazarin's Treasure
2013 SOLD 7.3 M€ including premium
At that time in Europe, the commode has not been invented, and the usual saving furniture is the coffre, without drawers. A wonderful chest kept in the Victoria and Albert Museum is part of a group of four shipped to Batavia on 1 October 1643. Its attested belonging to the Mazarin - La Meilleraye family suggests that it was acquired by the cardinal-minister. It is identified as the Mazarin chest.
The very detailed website of the museum devotes a full page to another chest from the same series, lamenting that its fate is unknown since 1941. Black and white photos show a panel and the top..
The lost piece was just found in a family that had no idea of its importance. It is listed in the annual prestige sale at the château de Cheverny by Rouillac on June 9. The auction house considers that it had been acquired circa 1658 in Amsterdam by an agent of Mazarin. The cardinal, a great lover of art, was considered as the richest man in the world.
This is a large piece, 64 x 145 x 73 cm. The total surface of black and gold lacquer is extraordinary: nearly 9 square meters including the inside of the lid. Despite its decades of incognito survival, it is in very good condition.
Above all, it represents by itself a synthesis of the decorative arts of Japan, with all the technical applications of lacquer including inlays of mother of pearl. The many figures of people, animals and palaces are exquisite.
The position of these chests in the history of furniture is great. It was to wait for more than half a century to get the fashion of commodes and desks decorated with lacquered panels.
POST SALE COMMENT
Purchased for the benefit of the Rijksmuseum, the chest will come back to Amsterdam three and a half centuries after being bought in this city by an agent of Mazarin. Its price, € 7.3 million including premium, confirms that Rouillac made a perfect analysis by considering it as a masterpiece.
1648 Humility of Christ
2018 SOLD for £ 9.5M including premium
The scenes from the Gospels are part of his offer. In 1648 he paints The Pilgrims of Emmaus, oil on wood 68 x 65 cm preserved in the Musée du Louvre. Christ, who is of course the central character, responds to his traditional figuration, with waving hair covering his shoulders and with a short beard.
Rembrandt is more interested in the realism and psychology of faces than in mysticism. The young man who posed for the Emmaus scene is recognizable in a group of portraiture studies with various positions of the head that express the concentration of prayer and the humility, without a halo.
Two of these portraits were considered as autographs by the Rembrandt Research Project. The four or five other paintings in this group are copies of lost originals or imitations.
One of the two authentic portraits, oil on wood 25 x 21 cm, is kept at the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin. The other one, in same technique and dimensions, is estimated £ 6M for sale by Sotheby's in London on December 5, lot 18. Please watch the video prepared by the auction house. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1650 Sunrise on a Roman Seaport
2013 SOLD 5 M£ including premium
On December 3 in London, Christie's sells an oil on canvas 101 x 135 cm, estimated £ 3M, recently rediscovered after having remained out of sight for more than a century.
This painting was done in 1650 on order of a cardinal. The artist honors a local saint: during the reign of the pious emperor Theodosius, a woman named Paula left Rome to live the hermit adventure under the direction of Jerome who is indeed the only recorder of her hagiography.
From the perspective of Christian iconography this action is not spectacular, but the sunrise on a fancy Mediterranean seaport is sumptuous. Much later, Turner complacently recognized the considerable influence of Lorrain on his own vision.
The antique columns that close the left edge of the picture anticipate by more than half a century the fashion of the Roman capricci and the tall ships are worthy of a van de Velde.
POST SALE COMMENT
The quality and rarity of this painting led it to £ 5M including premium.
1651 The Baroque Myths of Guercino
2010 SOLD 5.2 M£ including premium
Born in Italy but masterfully continued by Rubens, the Baroque art is rooted in an unconditional Christianity which is however questioning other sources of mysticism.
Guercino, who works in Bologna, is a typical Italian painter of this movement. We discussed him recently in this column, illustrating a Tasso's theme about the impossible relationship between Christians and Muslims during the Crusades. His work is characterized by the emotion in the action, and catches the eyes through the quality of colors.
In 1651, in the purest Baroque trend, an Italian knight places an order to him for a pair of paintings, a Prophet and a Sibyl. The prophet will be King David, considered in the Bible as the ancestor of Christ. The Sibyl is a classical theme recovered from paganism, by the fact that their exegetes saw Christian announcements in some of their words.
The pair of paintings came in 1768 to adorn Spencer House, the London residence of the rich and powerful family who wanted to be the arbiter of taste. On July 6 in London, Lord Spencer and his trustees put up for sale at Christie's the King David of Guercino, estimated £ 5 million.
This large oil on canvas, 223 x 170 cm, shows the Hebrew prophet in his middle age, seated, calm and dignified, displaying a tablet with a text of the Psalms.
POST SALE COMMENT
This large size painting by Guercino was probably the most important work of this artist to be presented at auction, and it was fresh on the market. The estimate was too high, but the sale is successful: £ 5.2 million including premium.
1655 Vermeer's Pigments
2014 SOLD 6.2 M£ including premium
His early works are copies: Diana and her companions from Jacob van Loo, and Christ in the House of Martha and Mary from Erasmus Quellin. The young artist exercised his skills in mythological and Christian themes.
In 1969, the discovery of the ancient unretouched inscription 'Meer 1655' in a copy of a Florentine painting starts a long series of analyzes and assumptions. This oil on canvas 102 x 82 cm on the theme of Saint Praxedis is accepted since 1986 as a genuine Vermeer. The isotopic analysis of lead white pigment later confirmed this attribution.
Lead white enables to compare the location. This color was common and artists did not carry it in their travels. Particles collected in the white of Diana and Praxedis reveal a strictly identical composition.
The ultramarine blue paint in the sky of Praxedis is also interesting because it was a very expensive pigment. Its use by a novice painter is a proof of his commitment to perfection and of his ambition.
The image shows Praxedis wringing a sponge soaked with the blood of a beheaded martyr visible in the background. Her hands clasped in that action also hold a crucifix. This rare and poignant scene has certainly moved Vermeer who had converted to Catholicism when he married two years earlier.
The three works mentioned above are the whole of the known work of Vermeer before he specialized in the contemporary themes that will ensure his glory.
The Saint Praxedis by Vermeer is estimated £ 6M for sale by Christie's in London on July 8.
POST SALE COMMENT
This very interesting and extremely rare example from the formative years of Vermeer was sold for £ 6.2 million including premium.
Please watch the video shared by Christie's. The image is shared by Wikimedia.
1658 Rembrandt and Experts
2009 SOLD 20.2 M£ including premium
It is a half-length portrait of a man, painted in 1658. It had not been seen publicly since 1970 and has not participated in the major exhibition made by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam in 2006 to celebrate the 400 th anniversary of the birth of the artist. It is estimated £ 18 million.
Rembrandt is the best studied artist in the world. Under the name of Rembrandt Research Project, a multidisciplinary team has been working since 1968 to authenticate or refute all the works that could be attributed to the master. This team, which was renewed several times, includes art historians and scientists.
Among the scientific methods used, we first think of the X-ray, of course. Do not neglect the dendrochronology, which allows to date the felling of the oak trees whose panels were used by the master. Historians, meanwhile, compared the artworks together by considering a consistency of style in order to separate the works of the master from those of his employees.
This work sponsored by the University of Amsterdam is extremely important. Thanks to these pioneers the ancient art has become the most exciting area of artistic expertise.
Small precision now that the official press release from Christie's is available on the web: the artwork for sale is on canvas, 107 x 87 cm.
My comments on dendrochronology do not apply to this work.
POST SALE COMMENT
The release by Christie's on Twitter expresses the essential: Rembrandt sells for £ 20.2M : the world auction record for a Rembrandt and the 4th highest price for an old master painting at auction.
The quoted price includes the premium.
I would add that this Rembrandt was important but not to the point of being described as historic. It is therefore quite understandable that it has not exceeded its estimate.
The image is shared by Wikimedia.