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Classic Week at Christie's London offers art from antiquity to the 21st century
Pieter Brueghel The Younger, The Massacre of the Innocents. Estimate: £1,000,000 -1,500,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2021.



LONDON.- Classic Week at Christie’s London presents art from antiquity to the 21st century, spanning five live auctions and four online-only sales from 17 November to 16 December. The broad array of highlights range from Constable’s majestic Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds, an attic red-figured Nolan amphora attributed to Hermonax, an early El Greco masterpiece and the Darwin Family Microscope, to striking art and objects from the collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild pairing Johnny Swing’s ‘Half-Dollar Chair’ with works by Dora Maar, Henry Moore and Irving Penn. Rembrandt’s illustrious career can be traced through prints including a portrait of him with his wife Saskia alongside his most celebrated landscape The Three Trees, with further highlights including an opportunity to explore the academically important collection of European ceramics, silver and gold boxes assembled by Robert G. and Ilse Vater. Past narratives find through-lines to the present in the Sergio Roger x Christie’s collaboration – the first London exhibition for the Barcelona-based textile artist, open from 3 to 7 December when selected works from our Antiquities auction enter into dialogue with Roger’s installations, which reinterpret elements of ancient sculpture by replacing stone and marble with delicate pieces of antique linen, in an exploration of the passage of time and the timelessness of these artistic representations of beauty.

The Collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild | 18 November to 9 December

A celebration of the taste and style of a champion of art and design, Christie’s will offer The Collection of Victoria, Lady de Rothschild in an online sale that opens for bidding on 18 November and closes on 9 December. Presenting a fresh and dynamic aesthetic that reflects Victoria’s discerning eye, the sale comprises over 200 lots, spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, featuring important modern design by André Sornay and notable works by contemporary designers Yoichi Ohira, Johnny Swing, Ingrid Donat and Mattia Bonetti, alongside works of art by Dora Maar, Henry Moore and Irving Penn, as well as a curated collection of over twenty contemporary Japanese bamboo baskets by Tanioka Shigeo and Minoura Chikuhō, amongst others. The sale is led by Johnny Swing’s Penny Couch, a custom commission for Victoria for her personal collection and an impressive example of the important series by the designer (estimate: £50,000-80,000). Spanning Christie's Luxury Week and Classic Week sales, highlights from this auction are on public view at Christie’s headquarters in London from 18 November to 8 December. With estimates ranging from £500 to £80,000, the sale is expected to realise in excess of £1 million.

Old Master Paintings and Sculpture | 17 November to 8 December

The Old Master Paintings and Sculpture online sale offers a broad selection of works across all schools of European painting and sculpture, from the 14th to the mid-19th century, with estimates ranging from £1,200 to £100,000. A group of ten paintings by the celebrated Scottish artist David Wilkie (with estimates from £4,000 to £50,000) exemplify the artist’s painterly approach to oil sketching, seven of which come from the collection of one of his most important patrons, Sir Willoughby Gordon. Works by Robert Hunter (with estimates from £15,000 to £80,000) and Maria Flaxman (estimate: £50,000-80,000) lead the charge for 18th century Irish and English portraiture, with the Italian school well represented by a portrait by Vittore Belliniano (estimate: £40,000-60,000). The French school is led by an imposing view of the Colosseum with an artist sketching by Jean Lemaire (estimate: £50,000-80,000), an important addition to the sixty or so known works by the artist.

The Sculpture & Works of Art section has a strong emphasis on classicising works such as those ‘After the Antique’ or inspired by Greco-Roman mythology. Examples include a marble figure of Polyphemus, formerly on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum (estimate: £10,000-15,000), a French late 17th or early 18th century bronze of Apollo Belvedere (estimate: £30,000-50,000) and a large lead cast of The Wrestlers (estimate: £15,000-25,000). Earlier works are also represented, including a Minnekästchen casket from the Longridge collection (estimate: £4,000-6,000) and a South German, polychrome figure of Eve from the collection of Diana Metcalf Stainow (estimate: £15,000-25,000).

Old Masters Evening Sale | 7 December

Encompassing six Centuries of European Art, the Old Masters Evening Sale presents a rich array of paintings and sculptures covering a multitude of subjects and mediums. The sale is led by a wonderfully fluid oil sketch by John Constable depicting one of his most iconic subjects - Salisbury Cathedral from the Bishop’s Grounds estimate: £2,000,000-3,000,000), which is the full-scale compositional sketch for a finished painting now in the Huntington, San Marion; for the full press release please click here. The catalogue cover shows a detail of Pieter Brueghel’s poignant interpretation of the Massacre of the Innocents, one of his most recognisable and celebrated subjects (estimate: £1,000,000-1,500,000). An early masterpiece by El Greco leads a group of three exceptional works restituted to the heirs to the collection of Julius & Camilla Priester: one of the earliest surviving portraits by the artist and one of the last to remain in private hands, the painting is charged with an uncompromising intensity that would define the artist’s revolutionary idiom. Further highlights include a ‘hauntingly poetic picture’ of the Dream of Saint Joseph by one of the most talented and original followers of Caravaggio, Valentin de Boulogne (estimate: £1,200,000-1,800,000); and an 18th century theatrical conversation piece of the Nugent Family by the leading master of the genre in England, Johann Zoffany (estimate: £800,000-1,200,000). Sculpture highlights include a bronze representation of The Infant Hercules with a Serpent after Alessandro Algardi formerly in the collection of Count Aleksej Semenovich Musin Pushkin (estimate: £80,000-120,000).

Antiquities | 8 December

Christie’s London Antiquities view, open from 3 to 7 December showcases a collaboration with celebrated textile artist Sergio Roger. Selected lots from the sale will be presented in juxtaposition with Sergio Roger’s installations, which reinterpret elements of ancient sculpture by replacing stone and marble with delicate pieces of antique linen in order to shed a new light on our understanding of the past. The works exhibited by Roger are courtesy of Rossana Orlandi Gallery in Milan and Christie’s Classic Week marks the first occasion works by the artist have been exhibited in London. The Antiquities auction on 8 December will present a selection of artefacts spanning the ancient cultures including Greece, the Roman Empire, and Near Eastern cultures from the 3rd millennium B.C. to the 6th century A.D., including a selection of antiquities from the collection of German industrialist Franz Haniel, comprising ancient glass, jewellery, and a Nolan amphora attributed to Hermonax (estimate: £70,000 - 90,000) among other Greek vases.




Old Master Prints | 9 December

This live sale offers a diverse and intriguing selection of fine prints and rarities from important international collections, including works of most of the leading European printmakers. Encompassing five centuries of art history, the sale ranges from a mid-15th century Anonymous German metalcut (estimate: £8,000-12,000) to an amateur album of rare, early 19th English lithographs (estimate: £20,000-30,000) and an unrecorded impression of William Blake's only lithograph, Enoch, (estimate: £100,000-150,000). A rich selection of prints by the unrivalled masters of the medium, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn, form the core of the auction. Among Dürer’s works, two very fine impressions of the so-called ‘Meisterstiche’, Melencolia I (estimate: £150,000-250,000) and Saint Jerome in his Study (estimate: £100,000-150,000), and the showpiece Saint Eustace (estimate: £150,000-250,000), stand out amongst a remarkable selection of his engravings and woodcuts. Rembrandt’s sensitivity and technical virtuosity as a printmaker is evident in a wide variety of etchings of religious and secular subjects, from an exquisite, stamp-sized Self-Portrait in a Cap, Open Mouthed (estimate: £20,000-30,000) and a fine example of Abraham and Isaac from the collection of the Earl of Aylesford (estimate: £40,000-60,000), to an outstanding impression of his most dramatic and complex landscape etching, The Three Trees (estimate: £200,000-300,000). Engravings of the Italian and German Renaissance, rarities of the School of Fontainebleau, various Mannerist eccentricities from the Netherlands and Italy and Dutch 17th century landscapes are all to be found in fine examples, some amongst a small but choice collection of Duplicates from the British Museum (with estimates ranging from £500 to £8,000). An element of the fantastic and bawdy is provided by a strong group of prints after Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, mostly from an Important Private American Collection. The Venetian masters of the 18th century are represented by a complete, rare and early set of Canaletto's Vedute (estimate: £100,000-150,000) and all ten of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s mysterious Capricci (estimate: £7,000-10,000). Fine early printings of Goya's Proverbios (estimate: £40,000-60,000) and John Martin's Illustration for Milton's Paradise Lost (estimate: £30,000-50,000) complete the offer. The auction presents an opportunity to acquire some of the most celebrated, intriguing and dramatic images of European art, with estimates ranging from £500 to £200,000.

Quentin Blake: New Drawings 2021 | 30 November to 14 December

The Christie’s Books & Manuscripts department presents Quentin Blake: New Drawings 2021, the latest collection of works offered directly from the artist’s studio, sold to benefit House of Illustration, Greenpeace and Downing College, Cambridge. Bidding starts at £200. Quentin Blake said of New Drawings 2021: ‘My last auction at Christie’s was made up of alternative versions of drawings that had been commissioned from me. There are one or two such items in the present collection, but in most respects it could hardly be more different. The great majority of these came into being of their own urgency, although if you are familiar with my work you will recognise certain familiar themes, and will not be surprised to come across an elderly gentleman and a wading bird taking a stroll through a pond together’. A selection of highlights from the sale will be on view at 8 King Street from 11 to 14 December.

Valuable Books and Manuscripts | 15 December

Christie’s Valuable Books and Manuscripts sale in London offers over 200 lots of books, manuscripts, maps and objects, many of which come with extraordinary provenance. The sale presents the Darwin family microscope (estimate: £250,000 - 350,000, handed down from Charles to his son Leonard, and thence by descent. It is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire an instrument so intimately associated with Darwin’s discoveries and theories. The sale also includes two sets of books that accompanied Matthew Flinders aboard HMS Investigator on the first circumnavigation of Australia. Direct from the Flinders family, one is a copy of Cook’s First Voyage (estimate: £50,000 - 80,000) and the other a set of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (estimate: £30,000 - 50,000), both with autograph annotations by Flinders. These notes are of the utmost importance in the history of Australia. From the same provenance, we are also offering an autograph letter signed by Flinders to his half-sister from on board HMS Investigator, sending a souvenir of 'New Holland' (estimate: £20,000 - 30,000). Other autograph letters and manuscripts in the sale include 18 lots relating to Albert Einstein (estimates from £1,000 to 90,000). Highlights among the Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts are the second part of one of the finest collections of miniatures in private hands, two iconographically outstanding and profusely illuminated French Books of Hours, and a splendid illustrated German alchemical handbook. View the auction in person at Christie’s King Street galleries from 11 to 14 December with the live auction taking place on 15 December.

British and European Art | 2 to 16 December

Christie’s British & European Art online auction in London features a curated selection of pictures representing more than 150 years of art history from the heart of Europe. The auction encompasses a range of movements from Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite, 19th Century European & British Impressionist Art as well as Sporting & Maritime art at opportune price points. Highlights include a beautiful collection of Dutch Romantic paintings, Venetian and Parisian views, and a fine group of British portraits including William Holman Hunt’s early portrait of John Everett Millais (1853) (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and Miss Katherine Grant (The Lady in White), Hubert von Herkomer’s seminal portrait (estimate: £40,000-60,000). Artists include Sir Alfred Munnings, Stanhope Forbes, George Clausen, John Atkinson Grimshaw, Laura Knight, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Jean Béraud, Félix Ziem, Martin Rico and Eugène Delacroix and many more. The public view at Christie’s King Street runs from 10 to 16 December.

Two Private Collections of European Ceramics, Gold Boxes and Silver |16 December

The sale comprises Gold Boxes from an American Private Collection and The Robert G. Vater Collection of European Ceramics, Silver and Galanterie. The group of gold boxes from an American Private collection includes German, French, Swiss and English boxes, mostly made during the 18th century, dating from the golden age of snuff-boxes and produced by some of the most reputable goldsmiths of the period such as Sageret (estimates from £12,000 to £60,000), Drais (estimates from £7,000 to £70,000), Blerzy (estimates from £12,000 to £50,000), Toussaint (estimates from £4,000 to £30,000) and Rémond (estimates from £8,000 to £30,000). The group speaks of a particular taste on the part of the collector for colours, with the majority of the boxes featuring a rainbow of coloured enamels alongside glittering gold, highlighting the creativity of goldsmiths and especially enamellists who generally trained as porcelain painters in Meissen or Sèvres.

The Vater collection, put together by Robert G. and Ilse Vater in the 20th century, is an important and wide-ranging academic collection of European ceramics, silver and gold boxes – with particular focus on ceramics, which includes representative examples from many of the key manufactories and pottery centres from the Renaissance to the early 19th century (with estimates ranging from £1,000 to £40,000). Whilst it is not an exhaustive survey, its scope, quality and breadth are nevertheless impressive, and its dispersal heralds an important moment for the art market, particularly for collectors of German ceramics.










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