A series of discoveries highlight the Old Master & 19th Century Paintings auction at Koller
on 28 September. Perhaps the most exciting is a small oil study of the head of a monk, which was recently identified as the model for the head of St Dominic in Peter Paul Rubens 1618 altarpiece Saints Dominic and Francis Saving the World from Christs Anger, today in the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lyon. The painting on panel is striking in its use of minimal brushstrokes and highlighting to create a striking portrait, which still after four centuries appears distinctly modern.
A second small-format oil painting also turned out to be an important art historical find. Depicting the Visitation, its composition is identical to an altarpiece in the church of St Jacob in Antwerp. This parish church serves as a Pantheon for many famous Flemish artists, housng the tombs of Peter Paul Rubens and his wife among others. Painted in 1639, the altarpiece was until now considered to be the work of Victor Wolfvoet. The present oil on panel, however, has been identified as the work of Antwerp artist Simon de Vos. This is not only a significant addition to the oeuvre of de Vos, but an important piece of information which may further the scholarship concerning Flemish painting in Antwerp at this time.
Other highlights of the auction include: a rediscovered landscape by Meindert Hobbema, which was formerly in the prestigious collection of the Earl of Lonsdale before entering a Swiss private collection in the 1960s, where it has remained until now; a large-format painting of an alchemist by Caravaggio-influenced Utrecht artist Johannes Moreelse, and one of the earliest church interiors in the history of art, by Hans Vredeman de Vries. A 16th-century Madonna and Child by Willem Benson is an intimate and touching scene by this Flemish artist, very few of whose works are extant.
An arctic landscape by Russian painter Ivan Federovich Choultsé is particularly interesting, as it was painted from the sketches he made while on an expedition to Spitsbergen in 1907/08. Choultsé painted a dozen paintings following this expedition, some of which were used as diorama backdrops for the Alexander Koenig natural history museum in Bonn, Germany.
The Fine Furniture auction on 27 September will offer a very rare German Neoclassical double globe clock by Philipp Matthäus Hahn. Executed in Echterdingen in circa 1785, with its elaborate, complicated movement and celestial and terrestrial globes it is a brilliant example of the desire to understand the workings of the universe in the Age of Enlightenment. Among the Porcelain & Silver to be auctioned on 25 September is a selection of important maiolica from a prestigious Italian collection, including a large Italian Renaissance plate from circa 1561-65 depicting the Massacre of the Innocents in a unique style of decoration. The Jewellery auction on 25 September features a pair of 3 carat fancy intense yellow diamonds, a colour which is highly sought after at the moment.