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Christie's announces highlights included in Classic Week's ten sales
Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606-1684 Antwerp), A banquet still life, inscribed and signed ‘V. E otmoedigen/ J-D heem.’ (lower right, on the paper) oil on canvas. Estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

LONDON.- Christie’s announces Classic Week, a marquee series of ten sales celebrating craftsmanship and the story of creativity across time, from antiquity to the 21st century, to be offered across five online and five live auctions taking place from 24 November to 17 December. Classic Week features Old Master Paintings and Sculpture, British & European Art, Antiquities, and Valuable Books and Manuscripts. Works on paper are strongly represented this season, ranging from manuscript illuminations, to Old Master and British Drawings and Watercolours, to Quentin Blake illustrations.

An exhibition and viewing for the sales will take place at Christie’s King Street from 3 December – 16 December under socially distanced regulations strictly adhering to government guidelines.

The ten auctions feature a vast array of works, from exceptional Old Master Paintings - a re-discovered Banquet still-life by Dutch master, Jan Davidsz De Heem, a serene Nativity by Bernardino Luini and a rare pastoral landscape by Paulus Potter; to a fine collection of Italian Old Master Drawings from the Robert Landolt Collection; a collection of works from the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers in the Joe Setton Collection; a Roman marble terminal figure of Dionysus in the Antiquities sale, last seen in Christie’s saleroom almost 100 years ago and a particularly fine Nottingham alabaster relief from the 15th century in the Old Master Paintings and Sculpture sale. The Professor, Dealer, Collector sale includes a spectacular leaf from the Prayer book of Enriquez de Ribera, depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ illuminated by Simon Bening and an auction of 200 whimsical drawings by the illustrator Quentin Blake closes Classic Week on 17 December.


Italian Drawings from the Robert Landolt Collection
Live I 8 December | 2.00pm I Lots 1 - 103

The Italian Drawings from the Robert Landolt Collection were brought together by Zurich-born Dr Robert Landolt over five decades. A paediatric by profession, Landolt was a keen botanist and mountaineer as well as a collector of Old Master Drawings. The sale is led by a double-sided drawing by Taddeo Zuccaro showing Two studies of Diana with her hounds (recto) and a drawing of A partially draped woman holding a vessel on her head (verso) by his friend and fellow artist Bartolomeo Passarotti (lot 38). The sale features a number of rare early drawings including a double-sided sheet from the early Quattrocento (lot 7) and a study of male nudes from the workshop of Francesco Squarcione (lot 10). A landscape drawing by Fra Bartolommeo showing a cluster of trees on a rocky outcrop is a fine early example of Florentine draughtsmanship (lot 17). The drawing comes from an album of 41 landscape drawings which were dispersed in 1957 and these sheets give us a rare glimpse into the artist’s response to the Tuscan landscape from around 1500. Further highlights include an exceptionally large and beautifully preserved drawing by Ciro Ferri (lot 83), emulating his master Pietro da Cortona, an early view of Rome by the Florentine Giovanni Battista Naldini (lot 42) and a large Annunciation by Girolamo Giovenone (lot 14). The 103 lots offered in the sale provide an exceptional overview of Italian draughtsmanship from the early 15th to the 18th century.

Valuable Books & Manuscripts
Live I 9 December | 10.30am & 2.00pm I Lots 1 – 36

The Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale embraces over 700 years of fine book illustration. It begins in the 13th century with a selection of medieval miniatures and cuttings, and ends in the 21st century with a small selection of Quentin Blake original drawings that are being sold to benefit Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children's Charity. The auction will present 36 works from an American bibliophile collection, focusing on the great French works from the 18th century, including Jean-Baptiste Oudry's celebrated magnificent edition of La Fontaine’s Fables (estimate £70,000-100,000). A further highlight of the sale is a rare celestial globe by Dutch master mapmaker Willem Blaeu (estimate £70,000-90,000). Over the winter of 1595/6 Blaeu stayed with the renowned Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe at his observatory in Urienborg. Brahe was the leading astronomer of his day, and at the time of Blaeu's visit, the first in the West to produce an entirely new star catalogue since Ptolemy. The publication of this new and important data in globe form was of vital importance to ocean-going navigation, especially in the important commercial port of Amsterdam. Additional leading lots include the first printed Christmas card, published in 1843 (estimate £5,000-8,000); and George Maciunas’ highly influential Fluxus 1 (estimate £4,000-6,000) which is ‘illustrated’ with a surgical glove and other objects. The sale celebrates two very different anniversaries in English literature: the bicentenary of the death of the great poet John Keats, recalled by a death mask (estimate £12,000-16,000) and a posthumous portrait by his friend Joseph Severn (estimate £50,000-80,000), and the centenary of Agatha Christie’s first detective novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, which features the debut of Hercule Poirot, and launched the ‘Queen of Crime’s’ career (estimate £1,000-1,500).

The Joe Setton Collection: Pre-Raphaelites to Last Romantics
Live I 10 December I 1.00pm I Lots 1 - 35

Inspired by Percy Bate’s seminal 1899 book The English Pre-Raphaelite Painters Joe Setton began collecting works by the Pre-Raphaelites and the two generations of artists they inspired in 1968. Intrigued he tracked down Julian Hartnoll in his gallery on Duke Street and announced that he would buy any picture illustrated in the publication, thus beginning a fruitful partnership that would last until Joe’s death in 1984. This was a period when the Pre-Raphaelites and their followers were out of fashion, dismissed by English art critics, and viewed as a niche area of the art market followed by a small group of collectors. With his astute eye and passionate enthusiasm, Joe was able to not only amass a wonderful collection of works, but also to create and lead a new market for these late Pre-Raphaelites. Drawn to imagery rather than big names, Joe’s collection was full of romance, fantasy and unrequited love, which he found in the paintings of The Last Romantics, as the second and third generation of Pre-Raphaelites has come to be known. Highlights from the collection include Marie Stillman’s masterpiece, The Enchanted Garden, which shows the influence of the Italian Renaissance on the work of the Pre-Raphaelite circle; John Byam Shaw’s majestic images of The Queen of Hearts, and The Queen of Spades, the latter a watercolour on a monumental scale; Evelyn De Morgan’s Spiritualist inspired Gloria in Excelsis and exquisite gold drawing The light shineth into darkness; and George Frederic Watts’ sumptuous nude A Study with the Peacock’s Feathers. The sale also includes beautiful works by Sir Edward Burne Jones, John Roddam Spencer Stanhope, Simeon Solomon, John William Godward and Frederic, Lord Leighton.

Old Masters Evening Sale
Live I 15 December I 6.00pm I Lots 1 – 47

Encompassing six centuries of European art, the Old Masters Evening Sale presents a rich array of paintings, as well as sculpture and works on paper, covering a multitude of subjects and mediums. The sale is particularly strong in works by Netherlandish artists of the Golden Age, led by a monumental pronkstilleven by Jan Davidsz. de Heem, which constitutes one of the finest still lifes to come onto the market this generation. Other notable works from this period include a rare and immaculately-preserved cabinet picture of cattle by Paulus Potter, arguably the finest painting by the artist still in private hands; and an exquisitely-executed work on copper of a Drummer Boy by Frans van Mieris, which can be considered one of the most important child genre scenes painted in Holland during the second half of the seventeenth century. The Italian school is represented by a beautifully-preserved panel of the Nativity by the Milanese artist Bernardino Luini, who was strongly influenced by Leonardo; and two exceptional panoramic view paintings of Venice and Messina by Vanvitelli, the pioneering painter of Italian vedute. The sale includes an early and hitherto unpublished still life of a rabbit by the great French master of the genre, Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin, and finishes with some wonderful en plein air sketches in watercolour and oil by Turner, Constable and Corot. European Sculpture lots include a pair of monumental terracotta reliefs attributed to the Bolognese sculptor Lorenzo Sarti, and a terracotta modello of St. Mark by the Florentine artist Giuseppe Piamontini.

Live I 16 December I 2.00pm I Lots 1 – 77

The December 2020 Antiquities sale will be led by a Roman marble terminal figure of Dionysus (estimate £700,000-1,000,000), a rare survival of the highest artistic quality and equally prestigious provenance, going back to the 18th century. Sourced in Rome by the Scottish painter Gavin Hamilton for Lord Shelburne, this statue was housed at Lansdowne House, until it was offered for sale at Christie's London in 1930 and then entered the Bergsten Collection in Stockholm. Another highlight of the sale is a Roman marble Venus (estimate £250,000-350,000), also once in one of the oldest and most prestigious collections of Classical sculpture housed at Wilton House and formed by Thomas, 8th Earl of Pembroke (1654-1732), in the late 17th - early 18th centuries. This sculpture remained at Wilton House until 1961, when it went under the hammer at Christie's. The auction also includes a selection of Ancient Jewellery with exceptional examples from ancient Greece (A Greek gold bracelet, estimate £80,000-120,000) to the Byzantine period (an Early Byzantine gold, emerald and sapphire necklace at £180,000-220,000).


300 Years of British Drawings
Online I 24 November – 8 December I Lots 1 - 70

300 Years of British Drawings will offer drawings and watercolours from the 18th to 20th centuries, across a broad range of British movements and styles. The sale will demonstrate and celebrate the interactions between British draughtsman of different centuries. Landscapes of British subjects range from works by John Warwick Smith and Thomas Gainsborough, via Walter Crane and William Webbe, to Rudolf Sauter. The great tradition of British artists travelling both in Europe and beyond is represented by Edward Lear’s views of Malta, Italy, Sinai and Corfu, William Callow’s view of Rome, and William Alexander’s Chinese studies. Narrative scenes stretch in time from James Thornhill’s Figures fleeing a warrior to Thomas Rowlandson’s studies to William Orpen’s study for The Holy Well. Figure and portrait studies are well represented from Angelica Kauffman, to James Gunn’s group portrait of Hillaire Belloc, (lot 65), G.K. Chesterton and Maurice Baring, to Augustus John’s study of his lover Dorelia. Estimates start from £800. The sale offers an opportunity for both new and established collectors to purchase from some of the greatest British artists.

Old Master Paintings and Sculpture
Online I 26th November – 17th December I Lots 1 - 180

The Old Master Paintings and Sculpture online sale offers a broad selection of works across all schools of European painting and sculpture, from the late 14th century to the mid-19th century, with estimates ranging from £2,000 - £100,000. The sale features a fascinating copy on panel of Hans Holbein the Younger’s The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb in the Kunstmuseum, Basel, one of the most evocative and arresting images of the Christ in Western art. There is a fine example of 16th century Mannerist Florentine painting in an enigmatic Portrait of a gentleman, exhibiting the grandeur and elegant refinement of Florentine masters like Alessandro Allori and Agnolo Bronzino, the latter to whom it was historically attributed. It will also include a group of pictures from the collection of Sir Roy Strong, the renowned art historian, museum curator, broadcaster and former director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The offering of European sculpture and works of art includes two small groups from private European collections which are both notable for their emphasis on late Mediaeval pieces. These include several reliquaries and monstrance’s, and a particularly fine Nottingham alabaster relief of Christ on the Road to Calvary from the 15th century. Among other properties, there is a fine bronze figure of Minerva from the celebrated Bergsten Collection, and a gold and rock crystal monstrance which relates closely to an example in the Treasury of St. Peter’s, Rome, from the very early 18th century.

British & European Art
Online I 26 November – 10 December I Lots 1 - 108
The British & European Art online auction features a curated range of works from the heart of Europe from the 19th Century. The auction encompasses a range of movements from Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite, Orientalist, 19th century European & British Impressionist Art at opportune price points. A variety of mediums – from sculpture to paintings via works-on-paper – show a tremendous variety of creative output which resonates today. Highlights include exquisite interior scenes by sisters Jessica and Kate Hayllar. Evocative autumnal and winter landscapes by Atkinson Grimshaw offer a contrast to images of summer captured by Alexander Rossi, Walter Crane, Robert Ponsonby Staples and John Brett. Topographical views are captured by Rudolf van Alt’s very fine works of his Austrian surroundings, whilst Peder Mønsted depicts a Danish village covered in enchanting crisp white snow. The Barbizon school is represented with spectacular works by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Gustave Courbet. The sale also includes a strong selection of British and European Impressionist works including Chelsea shopfronts by James Abbott McNeill Whistler, a fête champêtre by Jules Bastien-Lepage, a stunning portrait of the artist’s son John by Philip de Laszlo and an important rediscovered portrait of the Ballet Russes star Tamara Karsavina by Jacques Emile Blanche. Impressionism continues with plein air views of the British Isles by David Young Cameron, Edward Seago, Harold Knight and Alfred Munnings.

Professor, Dealer, Collector: Sandra Hindman curates a selection of
Manuscript Paintings
Online | 30 November – 14 December I Lots 1 - 32

Christie’s will present a pioneering collaboration with Sandra Hindman, Professor Emerita of Art History at Northwestern University, founder of Les Enluminures, and one of the leading specialists in the history of manuscript illumination. The sale is a carefully curated selection of 32 manuscript paintings spanning 700 years of illumination, and including representative examples of the best of Italian, Flemish and French manuscript art, including masterpieces by Simon Bening, Cristoforo Cortese, Attavante degli Attavanti, the Dunois Master and Jean Pichore, many of which from important manuscripts with sister leaves in institutional collections. Highlights include a spectacular leaf from the Prayerbook of Enriquez de Ribera, depicting scenes from the Passion of Christ illuminated by Simon Bening, one of the most famous and important miniaturists of the 16th century (£120,000 - £180,000); a splendid Coronation of the Virgin by the Perugian frescoist Bartolomeo Caporali (£60,000 - £90,000); and a dramatic Crucifixion recently reattributed to Giovanni da Modena (£30,000 - £50,000). It is entirely fitting that this sale takes place at Christie’s, which held the first-ever public auction of manuscript illuminations nearly two centuries ago on 26 May 1825: called “illumined miniature paintings” the 200 lots were described as “monuments of a lost Art.” Our title pays tribute to this landmark sale.

Quentin Blake 200 Drawings
Online | 2 – 16 December I Lots 1 - 200

Christie’s presents Quentin Blake: 200 Drawings, open for browsing from 25 November and bidding from 2 to 16 December. With estimates ranging from £100 to £2,000, the online auction is the latest collection of works offered directly from the artist’s studio, sold to benefit House of Illustration, the UK’s only gallery and education space dedicated to illustration and graphics. Proceeds from the sale will support the charity’s ongoing projects, which include the redevelopment of New River Head in London into the renamed Quentin Blake Centre for Illustration, the world’s largest public arts space dedicated to illustration. Set to open in 2022, the centre will be a new cultural landmark for the UK that will become a permanent home for the archive of the organisation’s founder, Sir Quentin Blake, with selections from his archive of more than 40,000 works on permanent display.

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November 18, 2020

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