Brueghel, Belotto and Guardi headline Koller's autumn Old Master Paintings auctions

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Brueghel, Belotto and Guardi headline Koller's autumn Old Master Paintings auctions
Francesco Guardi (1712 Venice 1796), Venetian capriccio with a tower, herders and sheep. Oil on canvas, 94.2 × 137 cm. Estimate: CHF 400,000 - 500,000 /€ 373,830 - 467,290.

ZURICH.- The Old Master Paintings auction on 1 October features a view of Munich by Bernardo Bellotto, recently rediscovered in a private collection (lot 3062, estimate on request). Bellotto, who was also known as Canaletto like his famous uncle, Giovanni Antonio Canale, painted this view following a stay at the court of the Bavarian Elector, Maximilian III Joseph. Only three versions of this subject are known, one of which is still in the Electoral Residence in Munich, another in the National Gallery, Washington, and the present version, which is being offered publicly for the first time in almost a century.

One of Rembrandt's finest students, Govaert Flinck, painted the expressive portrait of an elderly man to be offered in this sale (lot 3025, CHF 700 000/900 000). This type of portrait is known as a 'tronie', a pictorial genre popular in the 17th century in which artists, rather than executing a classic portrait of a known person, focused on exemplifying a character type or a particular expression. A large-format Venetian capriccio by Francesco Guardi (lot 3067, CHF 400 000/500 000) was originally part of a series of four such scenes in a noble Spanish collection, last exhibited together in Munich in 1958.

Several works from the Brueghel dynasty of painters are featured in the auction, including a large oil on canvas by Pieter Brueghel the Younger depicting the Sermon of Saint John the Baptist (lot 3015, CHF 380 000/500 000). As with many of his paintings, Brueghel based this composition on one of his father's beloved subjects. Jan Brueghel the Younger, in his 'Allegory of Hearing', let his fantasy run free in a marvellous composition with musical instruments, exotic and domestic wildlife, and flowing water (lot 3022, CHF 200 000/300 000). Further works by Jan Brueghel the Elder (lot 3022, CHF 200 000/300 000 and lot 3019, CHF 70 000/120 000), by the Jan the Elder in collaboration with Joos de Momper the Younger (lot 3026, CHF 70 000/120 000), and by Jan Brueghel the Younger in collaboration with Ambrosius Francken (lot 3034, CHF 60 000/80 000) complete the offerings by the Brueghel family.

A work by Dutch master Cornelis Bega is interesting not only for its outstanding quality but also because the young woman depicted is a courtesan, a rather unusual subject for the time (lot 3029, CHF 150 000/200 000). Other works by important old master painters in the current auction include two landscapes by Jan van Goyen (lot 3024 and lot 3042, CHF 60 000/ 80 000 each) and a wonderfully rich depiction of the Garden of Eden by Jacob Savery the Younger (lot 3016, CHF 50 000/70 000).

Among the 19th-century works on offer are two paintings by Biedermeier artist Carl Spitzweg. Spitzweg's works always manage to tell a story, and these two are no exception. 'Military Post in Peacetime' shows a yawning sentry standing at attention next to a cannon currently serving as a bird's nest (lot 3210, CHF 150 000/250 000), and 'A Country Parson Memorising' captures a clergyman as he takes advantage of a long country stroll to put a text to memory (lot 3213, CHF 25 000/35 000). Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot's 'Le Chevrier (Souvenir d'Italie)' is certain to elicit a great deal of interest: Corot's works, especially of this level of quality, have been highly sought after in recent auctions at Koller (lot 3205, CHF 80 000/120 000). Further works by Eugène Boudin (lot 3232, CHF 60 000/80 000), Franz Xaver Winterhalter (lot 3220, CHF 30 000/40 000) and Paul Désiré Trouillebert (lot 3236, CHF 30 000/40 000) are also among the highlights of the 1 October auction.

Alongside the Furniture, Porcelain & Silver auction on 30 September are two special auctions: a collection of nearly 100 lots of arms & armour, and a collection of works in carved ivory, including a highly unusual intricately carved panel with a series of miniature paintings of scenes from the history of 17th-century England (lot 1333, CHF 20 000/30 000).

An extremely rare document announcing the forced auction of Rembrandt van Rijn's art collection will be offered in the Books & Autographs auction on 29 September. The only other known copy of this broadside is located in the British Museum (lot 216, CHF 70 000/90 000).

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