Dorotheum announces 'Classic Week April 24th-25th: Old Master Paintings, 19th Century Paintings'

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Dorotheum announces 'Classic Week April 24th-25th: Old Master Paintings, 19th Century Paintings'
Hendrick Avercamp (1585–1634) and Assistant, Winter landscape with ice skaters, 41.5 x 60 cm, Auction April 24th, 2024, estimate €220,000–250,000.

VIENNA.- Amongst the important pictures included in Dorotheum’s Old Masters Paintings sale on April 24th, 2024, is a work by one of the most innovative artists in art history, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828). This painting is a preparatory study for the large family portrait commissioned by King Carlos IV of Spain in 1800, now in the Prado Museum in Madrid. Goya painted ten portrait sketches of individual members of the royal family for inclusion in his painting, five of which are now also in the Prado. The charming portrait sketch offered for sale by Dorotheum is one of the ten Goya made and depicts the king’s youngest daughter, 10 year old Infanta Maria Isabel. In the delightfully sensitive handling of the child’s likeness we see the artist exploring the true character of his sitter, his analytical, realistic style revealing a glimpse into the conditio humana, the real person beyond the social mask. This work is an important example of Goya’s ground-breaking approach to portraiture and of his uncompromising quest for realism which advanced the whole genre to the threshold of modernity at the turn of the 19th century (€300,000-400,000).

A further highlight of the sale is an important work, entitled The Fruit Seller, by Louyse Moillon, who was one of the very few pre-eminent female artists in 17th century Paris. The influence of her family’s Dutch Huguenot background is clear to see in her restrained elegant style, her great attention to detail and rich palette which recall the still life painting of the Netherlands. Her work is characterised by baskets of lavishly arranged fruit and vegetables glowing in warm light and vases, over-flowing with sumptuous flowers. This enchanting, meticulously realistic scene, which was created at the height of the artist’s career between 1630 and 1640, is a fine example of Moillon’s innovative inclusion of figures in her intricate still life paintings. She is considered to be among the important French representatives of this genre and her work was highly acclaimed at a very young age, attracting patrons as illustrious as King Charles I of England and King Louis XIII of France. Comparable works of the artist can be found in the Louvre in Paris and in the Musée des Beaux Arts in Strasbourg (€200,000-300,000).

The picturesque Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters by Hendrick Avercamp and Assistant transports the viewer to the pleasures of the waterways of the icy Netherlands in the early 17th century (€220,000-250,000). A typical work of the Italian-trained Flemish artist, Michael Sweerts, A Shepherd Observing a Woman Feeding her Child, reveals the compassionate social engagement of the artist whose compositions were frequently inspired by street scenes and daily life which he depicted with empathetic dignity (€250,000-350,000).

The large-format Adoration of the Magi from the workshop of Pieter Brueghel II depicts a characteristic, exuberant and intensely populated scene with a procession of richly-clad exotic figures and their animals approaching The Holy Family to pay their respects (€200,000-300,000).

A newly discovered work painted by the great Spanish master, Jusepe de Ribera, at the height of his career, presents Saint Francis in Prayer, the saint with his right hand to his chest in an expression of penitence. Recent cleaning has revealed the signature as well as the date, 1648 (€600,000-800,000).

An exceptional lot included in the Old Masters sale is a highly important, museum-quality 17th century Night Clock made by the celebrated Italian master clockmaker, Pietro Tommaso Campani. It is one of the very few working examples of the ingenious mechanical innovation that allowed the clock to work soundlessly, permitting its owner undisturbed sleep. The baroque case of this rare clock is inlaid with gemstones and adorned with gilt bronze detailing, and is attributed to the south German master cabinet maker, Jakob Hermann. The painted panels on the face of the clock represent the Volat Irreparabile Tempus or the Fleeting Nature of Time (€100,000-150,000).

Light moods

Oriental motifs were especially en vogue in the 19th century and are still widely popular among today’s art collectors. The 19th Century Paintings sale on April 25th, 2024, offers attractive examples of this unique art genre. Outstanding is Odalisque on the Bosphorus playing the lute by Fausto Zonaro, who in 1896 was appointed as the official court painter at the court of Sultan Abdül Hamid II in Constantinople. The young lady of the harem is gracefully positioned in a boat, with Constantinople visible in the background (€240,000-280,000).

The Austrian artist, Franz Xaver Kosler who was trained in Vienna by Leopold Carl Müller as a history and genre painter, depicts the picturesque light of an oriental scene in his Market Scene in Cairo. The artist’s skill as a draughtsman, colourist and also as a sensitive portraitist are clearly evident in this large-scale work (€80,000-120,000).

From warmth into the cold: Ice floes on the banks of the River Thaya by Theodor von Hörmann represents perhaps one of the last major works offered on the market by this significant visionary initiator of the Austrian modernist movement. This composition stands out from comparable works of that time. The bold framing, with its combination of pronounced diagonal and dramatically raised horizon line, renders the painting exceptionally dynamic (€160,000-250,000).

There is no Austrian Modernism without Tina Blau. The landscapes, by the first woman of Austrian atmospheric impressionism, are among the most impressive of the late 19th century. She painted en plein air and documented her surroundings so that her modern formalism also serves as a historical visual source. Among her favorite study locations were the Viennese Prater and the Danube floodplains. The painting offered at Dorotheum Atmosphere in Fischamend during the regulation of the Danube is the best example. The artist travelled extensively, also with her younger colleague Emil Jakob Schindler, especially to Holland. She incorporated these impressions into works such as De Nachtegaal Mill in Dordrecht (€60,000-80,000).

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