On 9th July 2014, Sothebys
London Evening Sale of Old Master and British Paintings will be spearheaded by rare masterworks from some of the worlds most eminent aristocratic and private collections. Combining fascinating history with exceptional provenance, these works represent important moments in the artistic development of many schools and nations, from an early 14th century panel by Giovanni da Rimini from the celebrated collections of the Dukes of Northumberland to dramatic portraits from the collection of the Earls of Warwick, Renaissance and Baroque masterpieces from the collection of Barbara Piasecka Johnson and Flemish Old Master paintings from the Coppée Collection. A further highlight of this summers sale is one of George Stubbs most celebrated works and an exceptionally rare example of his big cat paintings. Comprising 63 lots, the evening sale is estimated to achieve a total in excess of £39 million.
This summer, Sothebys will also stage Contemplation of the Divine - the first ever selling-exhibition of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture held in our New Bond Street galleries, from 5th until 16th July 2014.
Discussing the forthcoming auction, Alex Bell, Joint International Head and Co-Chairman of Sothebys Old Master Paintings Department said: This sale is exceptional on many levels. Having remained in the same collections for centuries, most of the works carry the imprimatur of the greatest art patrons of the day, such as the Dukes of Northumberland and the Earls of Warwick, or bear witness to the discerning eye of some of the most important collectors of the 20th century, including Baron Coppée and Barbara Piasecka Johnson. These masterworks are coming to light this summer, with their powerfully evocative beauty unaltered by the passage of time. Botticellis genius radiates through the extraordinarily important Study for a Seated St Joseph; Pieter Brueghel the Youngers three iconic works from the Coppée collection encapsulate the artists unambiguously stark view of the human condition, while George Stubbs unequalled eye for capturing the animal form is reflected down to the delicate whiskers of his leopards cubs. Today, collectors from all horizons look for rare works of fantastic quality with a powerful aesthetic and both this sale and our first ever selling exhibition of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture in London have been curated with this in mind.
PROPERTY FROM THE CELEBRATED COLLECTIONS OF THE DUKES OF NORTHUMBERLAND
Sold by Order of The 12th Duke of Northumberland and the Trustees of the Northumberland Estates
Among the paintings from the celebrated collections of the Dukes of Northumberland to be presented in the evening sale are two works formerly in the Camuccini Collection, an ensemble of outstanding works purchased by the 4th Duke of Northumberland in Rome in 1856 and representing one of the last great acquisitions made by an Englishman travelling to Italy. The first a wing of a diptych depicting episodes from the lives of the Virgin Mary and other saints by Giovanni da Rimini - dates from circa 1300-05, a pivotal moment in European painting. The beautifully preserved panel, painted in tempera on gold ground, documents the transition from the Byzantine-inspired tradition of the dark ages to the more lyrical and naturalistic art that would herald the dawn of the Renaissance in western Europe (est. £2-3 million / 2,430,000-3,650,000 / $3,350,000-5,020,000).
Jan Brueghel the Elders The Garden of Eden dated 1613 and painted on copper - is both a supreme example of this masters art and depicts one of his most prized subjects. Only six recorded paintings by the Flemish artist of this subject are recorded, other examples being in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court, The Louvre, the Getty Museum and the Doria Pamphilj Gallery, Rome (est. £2-3 million / 2,430,000-3,650,000 / $3,350,000- 5,020,000).
From a different place and era is a fascinating portrait of Mohawk War Chieftain Thayendanegea (to whom the English gave the name Joseph Brant), commissioned by Hugh Percy, the 2nd Duke of Northumberland from the American artist, Gilbert Stuart in 1786 (est. £1-1.5 million / 1,220,000-1,830,000 / $1,680,000-2,510,000). An interpreter for the British Indian Department, Brant assisted the British in the American War of Independence in order to regain land that had been lost by the Mohawk people. He fought alongside the 2nd Duke at the Battle of Long Island, New York in 1776 and was described at the time as The perfect soldier, possessed of remarkable stamina, courage under fire, and dedicated to the cause, an able and inspiring leader and a complete gentleman. Despite the fact that he was widely admired by many of his English compatriots, his closest, and indeed only, enduring friendship with a white man was with Hugh Percy.
RENAISSANCE AND BAROQUE MASTERWORKS FROM THE COLLECTION OF BARBARA PIASECKA JOHNSON
Sold to Benefit The Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation
The sale will also present nine Renaissance and Baroque masterworks from the Estate of Barbara Piasecka Johnson (1937-2013) - art connoisseur, philanthropist and wife of the late John Seward Johnson, heir to the Johnson and Johnson medical and pharmaceutical firm. The group is led by three remarkably rare Florentine drawings, including the only Botticelli drawing to appear on the market in a century (est. £1-1.5 million / 1.2-1.8 million / $1.7-2.5 million) and two magnificent drapery studies, executed circa 1470 in one of the most important workshops of the Renaissance, the bottega of Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-1488) (est. £1.5-2 million each, 1.8-2.4 million/ $2.5-3.4 million). In addition to the Renaissance drawings, the selection features an extraordinary depiction of The Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggios gifted follower, Bartolomeo Cavarozzi, which is the most important and powerful Italian Caravaggesque painting to appear on the open market in a generation (est. £3-5 million / 3.7-6 million / $5-8.4 million). The proceeds of the sale, expected to fetch over £8.6 million, are to benefit the Barbara Piasecka Johnson Foundation, the primary focus of which is helping children with autism.
FLEMISH OLD MASTER PAINTINGS FROM THE COPPÉE COLLECTION
Assembled by the Belgian industrialist Evence Coppée III (1882-1945) in the 1920s, the Coppée Collection comprised almost exclusively 16th and 17th century works, with an emphasis on the works of Pieter Brueghel the Younger (1564-1637/8) and the Brueghel family. Of the paintings by Pieter Brueghel the Younger that Baron Coppée collected, three of the best will feature in the sale, including an imposing landscape with the Crucifixion (est. £3-4 million / 3.4 4.9 million/ $5-7 million, illustrated right), an Outdoor Wedding Dance, recognised as one of the most popular works in the artists oeuvre (est. £1-1.5 million / 1.2-1.8 million / $1.7-2.5 million) and what is widely considered the best extant example of his Winter Landscape with a bird trap, one of the most enduring images in western art (est. £1-1.5 million / 1.2-1.8 million / $1.7-2.5 million). The selection also encompasses impressive paintings resulting from a collaboration between Jan Brueghel the Younger and artists such as Frans Francken the Younger and Hendrik van Balen the Elder, as well as works from the North Netherlandish School and the School of Northern France. Passed on by direct descent from Baron Coppée, these works have not appeared on the market for almost a century. They will be auctioned as part of a group of 19 paintings from the Coppée Collection in Sothebys London Old Master sales on 9 and 10 July 2014.
THE WARWICK PORTRAITS
The sale also includes a series of dramatic portraits from the collection of the Earls of Warwick, by artists such as Jacob Huysmans, George Romney, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Amico Friulano del Dosso. One of the most striking works in this group is an extraordinary Portrait of Edward Wortley Montagu by George Romney (1734-1802) (est. £2-3 million / 2.4 - 3.7 million / $3.4 - 5 million). Painted in Venice in 1775, this is the only painting currently known to survive from Romney's two year trip to Italy, between 1773 and 1775. A wildly eccentric man, who distained convention and actively courted controversy, Edward Wortley Montagu (17131776) travelled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Professing himself a Muslim, Montagu adopted eastern dress and lived in grand Oriental style. Typical of the style found in Romney's portraiture at this time, this painting is surely one of the finest examples of the fusion of 16th century Venetian modelling and colour with the 18th century English grand manner style.
Another highlight is a beautifully preserved portrait of a man by Jan Sanders Van Hemessen (1504-1556), which was painted at a time when the artist was heavily influenced by the art of Bronzino (est. £800,000 - 1.2 million / 975,000 - 1,460,000 / $1.3 - 2 million).
TYGERS AT PLAY - ONE OF GEORGE STUBBS MOST CELEBRATED WORKS
Painted circa 1770-75, this masterful depiction of two leopard cubs ranks among Stubbs most popular subjects. The painting has rarely been seen in public, having been exhibited only four times since its original appearance at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Testament to the artists exceptional eye for capturing the animal form, this admirably preserved work boasts impeccable provenance, having been sold only once since it was commissioned from the English painter. It remained in the possession of a single family until 1962, when it was acquired by the present owners. Coming from a distinguished British aristocratic collection, Tygers at Play will be offered with an estimate of £4-6 million / 4.9 - 7.3 million / $6.7 - 10 million).
Other highlights in the evening sale include The Annunciation, an oil sketch by Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) who was without question the greatest master of the European Baroque style. The Flemish painters extraordinary powers as a composer and colourist and his principal elements of drama, movement and spirituality are exemplified in this panel. This picture is his preliminary study for the larger altarpiece of the same subject today in the Rubenshuis in Antwerp, which can be dated to before 1628-29, when it was bought from Rubens by the great Spanish collector Diego Messia, Marques of Leganés (est. £2-3 million / 2.4 - 3.7 million / $3.4 - 5 million).
The Cottage Door is one of Thomas Gainsboroughs most famous compositions, and is among his most popular and enduring works. It is one of the great icons of 18th-century British landscape painting. Reflecting Gainsboroughs constant search for emotional perfection, the majestic composition to be offered in July is possibly the most successful of all Gainsboroughs treatments of this theme (est. £1.5-2 million / 1.8- 2.4 million / $2.5-3.4 million).
The father of Dutch landscape painting, Hendrick Avercamp (1585- 1634) will be represented by A panoramic winter landscape with a multitude of figures on a frozen river. This hitherto unpublished picture was painted early in the artists career, probably around 1610. Monumental in its scale and composition, it is the most significant addition to Avercamps uvre in modern times. Estimated at £1-1.5 million (1.2 1.8 million / $1.7 2.5 million), the work is being sold to benefit the following charities: The Tuberous Sclerosis Association; The Glasallt Fawr Camphill Community; The Multiple Sclerosis Trust and Eton Action.
CONTEMPLATION OF THE DIVINE
Sothebys London First Selling Exhibition of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture (6-15 July 2014)
From 6 until 15 July, as part of London Art Week, Sothebys London will stage its first selling exhibition of Old Master Paintings and Sculpture in its New Bond Street galleries. Entitled Contemplation of the Divine, the show comprises some twenty paintings, predominantly Spanish, Italian and early Netherlandish, ranging in period from the early Renaissance to the late Baroque, together with seven Spanish sculptures from the 16th to the 18th centuries.
James Macdonald, Worldwide Head of Old Master Paintings Private Sales: The twenty works exhibited in London this July share a common aesthetic in as much as they are powerful, in some cases even harrowing, images. Through their immediacy and directness, they create a strong connection with contemporary collectors.
The contemporary art of their day, works such as Francisco de Zurbaráns late monumental masterpiece of Christ on the Cross and Bernardo de Rincóns uncompromising life-size sculpture of Christ Victorious remain as shocking as they were when produced some three centuries ago.
The resurgence of interest in Spanish sculpture and its inextricable link with painting is due largely thanks to the ground-breaking exhibition Sacred Made Real held at the National Gallery in London in 2009. Whilst that great occasion showcased many of the finest Spanish paintings and sculpture many loaned from the great cathedrals and museums of Spain our exhibition offers one distinct advantage, namely that these remarkable artworks on display can be acquired and enjoyed by collectors today.