XURICH.- Among the highlights of the Old Master Paintings auction on 23 March is Bernardo Strozzis large-format portrait of Paolo Gregorio Raggi, governor of Corsica in 1547. The portrait was painted posthumously, sometime before 1638, and was commissioned by the Raggis, an important Genovese family, for their portrait gallery of distinguished family members, including cardinals and senators. Strozzi, who was active in Genoa and later In Venice, was one of the leading figures of the Baroque period in Italy, known for his painting style of energetic brushstrokes, intense colours and the expressive rendering of his subjects all clearly present in the painting offered here. Clara Peeters, the first recorded female still-life painter, is the author of a museum-quality still life with cat, fishes, oysters and crustaceans, to be offered for CHF 100,000 150,000. Dating from the 1620s, this is the last still life by the artist with this subject still on the market. Two others are located in museums (the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp).
Among the other works featured in the Old Masters auction is a depiction of the infant Jesus and St John the Baptist embracing, by the workshop of Antwerp painter Joos van Cleve. The motif originated with Leonardo da Vinci, and was very popular in the Netherlands during the 16th century. The painting offered here, from a German private collection, demonstrates a certain virtuosity in its rendering of flesh tones and rich draperies. It will be offered with an estimate of CHF 30,000 40,000. A large (62.5 x 86.5 cm) and characteristic landscape by one of the most important Netherlandish painters of the second half of the 17th century, Meindert Hobbema, will be offered for CHF 100,000 150,000. From a Swiss private collection, this work is particularly interesting due to its dramatic lighting effects and impressively vigorous brushstrokes.
In the 19th Century Paintings auction, a painting entitled Secret Study by German artist Eduard Grützner will be offered. This humoristic scene of three monks sipping beers while admiring a drawing of a naked woman was created in 1892, and is estimated at CHF 40 000 60 000. Ivan Fedorovich Choultsés Forest landscape at sunset from 1915 was recently rediscovered in a German private collection. Estimated at CHF 50 000 60 000, this was one of the most sought-after subjects by the artist during his lifetime.
The Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on 22 March features splendid French creations from the 18th and 19th centuries, an unusually high number of which are signed by celebrated ébénistes and menuisiers , such as an Empire set of seating furniture stamped Jacob DR. Meslee. Made in 1805/10, the large group of furniture belonged to the celebrated Marshal-General under Napoleon and later Prime Minister, Jean-de-Dieu Soult (CHF 28,000 48,000). A highly important Meissen porcelain candlestick by Johann Gottlieb Kirchner, with painted decoration by Johann Gregorius Höroldt, is only one of two known of this model (CHF 40,000 70,000). The other example is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.