NEW YORK, NY.- Christies
announces Masterworks from the Estate of Lila & Herman Shickman, an important single owner sale of Old Master and 19th century European paintings from the private collection of one of the leading American dealers in the 20th century. Comprised of more than a dozen works, the auction will take place on May 2, 2019, after completing a global tour to Madrid, London, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. Highlighting the collection is one of the most important Spanish still lifes remaining in private hands, Still life with flowers and fruit by Juan van der Hamen y León, which was last at auction in 1969 and is poised to establish a new world auction record for the artist and for any Spanish 17th century still life (estimate: $8,000,000-12,000,000). Another highlight featured in the Collection is Luis Meléndez's Still life with artichokes and tomatoes in a landscape which brilliantly conveys the artists prodigious abilities at capturing the nuanced play of light falling on fruits and vegetables, thereby elevating these modest products into ones worthy of his brush (estimate: $2,000,000-4,000,000).
Ben Hall, Chairman, Old Masters comments, The Lila and Herman Shickman Collection is a veritable treasure trove offering unparalleled quality. As a dealer and trusted advisor to top collectors and museums, Herman Shickmans connoisseurship provided him the foresight to collect masterworks ahead of market trends such as Van der Hamens still life, which is regarded as one of the finest examples of his influential oeuvre left in private hands.
Van der Hamens Still life with flowers and fruit exhibits the brilliant clarity of execution, purity of design and refined description of surface detail that are the hallmarks of his style. The artists pioneering paintings helped to establish an enduring tradition of still life paintings in Spain that would extend through the following centuries, finding its culmination in the 20th century with the revolutionary works of Pablo Picasso. Celebrated in his day as one of the greatest painters of his generation, Juan van der Hamen y León (1598-1631) was descended from a historic Flemish noble family. He was a member of the official guardians of the monarch, a position which enabled him access to the Spanish Royal Court through which he earned his most important commissions.
Still life with flowers and fruit presents an assortment of luxurious objects arranged in three planes. From left to right, the artist has portrayed a bouquet of tulips, blue and yellow irises, roses, and other flowers in a Venetian crystal vase, a metal plate of figs, and a basket of peaches, pears and plums. On the lower ledge van der Hamen has painted two terracotta vases, a metal plate of cherries and plums, a black glass bottle and scattered stone fruit, and on the uppermost shelf is a basket of green pea pods and cherries. The work has a distinguished exhibition history and was a highlight of the Metropolitan Museum of Arts European Painting galleries.