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Major Works by Renoir and Lievens Bought by Visitor to TEFAF Maastricht 2011
Tronie of an Old Man by Jan Lievens, c1629, oil on panel, 60.1 x 47.8cm.
HELVOIRT.- Two important paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Jan Lievens exhibited at this year’s TEFAF Maastricht have been sold to private collectors who visited the world’s most influential art and antiques fair. The 2011 edition of The European Fine Art Fair was held in the city of Maastricht in the southern Netherlands from 18-27 March. A total of 260 of the world’s best art and antiques dealers exhibited at the Fair, which attracted more than 73,000 visitors from 55 countries.

Femme cueillant des Fleurs (Woman picking flowers), a major work by Renoir from the pioneering early days of Impressionism has been bought by a European collector who viewed it at the Fair. It was exhibited at TEFAF by the London-based international dealer Dickinson with an asking price of US$15 million. The Renoir was offered for sale through Dickinson by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts in order to strengthen other areas of its collection.

James Roundell from Dickinson says: “TEFAF Maastricht is the Fair where you can bring the best and hope to find a buyer. It is not uncommon that the actual deal is done after the Fair.”

Femme cueillant des Fleurs depicts Camille Monet, the first wife of Renoir’s fellow Impressionist Claude Monet, who died aged only 32 in 1879. Important early Impressionist paintings are increasingly rare on the market and this work, dating from c1874, is from a pivotal period. It had not been on the market since 1933 when it was bought by Sterling and Francine Clark. The Institute that bears their name has 32 other works by Renoir and proceeds from this sale will be used solely for new acquisitions.

A magnificent portrait by the 17th century Dutch artist Jan Lievens, which had an asking price of €3.9 million, has been sold to another European collector who came to TEFAF Maastricht by Haboldt & Co of Paris. Tronie of an Old Man, dating from c1629, is one of the finest of a number of pictures that Lievens painted of this man whose name is unknown because he was the model for anonymous genre portraits. Together with his friend Rembrandt van Rijn, Lievens developed tronies (studies of heads) into an independent type of portrait painting that became the major product of his early career in the Dutch city of Leiden.

Tronie of an Old Man, which has been in a number of distinguished private collections during the past two centuries, demonstrates Lievens’s skill in rendering textures by contrasting wrinkled skin, heavy embroidered cloth and soft velvet. The man with a large, full beard, weary face and heavy eyelids conveys a depth of wisdom and experience.

Next year the European Fine Art Fair will celebrate its 25th anniversary from 16-25 March 2012.

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