Sotheby’s Amsterdam to Sell Works From European Private Collections

AMSTERDAM – On 29 and 30 September 2008 Sotheby’s Amsterdam will offer a wonderful selection of sculpture, furniture, paintings, ceramics, silver and works of art from selected European collections. The common denominator for the items in this sale is the elegant, continental lifestyle of the collectors. Many of the works on offer have been in collections or estates for at least several decades and are therefore fresh to the market. On offer will be such interesting collections as A Distinguished Private Collection from Corsica, the collection of the Dutch Museum van Gerwen-Lemmens, arts and antiques from the Castle Gruitrode in Belgium, a collection of Caricatures by Daumier and works of art from many other private collections.

A Distinguished Private Collection from Corsica will be offered with a separate catalogue in the evening of 29 September. This collection offers a choice of excellent quality paintings and works of art, selected with a discerning eye. The owners created an elegant estate on the ruins of a medieval mansion on the Isle of Corsica, set against an unrivalled view of the mountainous landscape. Originally built by two local families to celebrate the end of a long feud, two houses stood side by side as a monument to peace. In the early 19th century, the houses were joined by a brick tower built for the French general, ambassador and politician Marêchal Horace Sébastiani Comte de la Porta (1772-1851), a close confidant of Napoleon Bonaparte. In World War II the building was used as a military base and after that neglected. The current owners recognised the beauty of the surrounding landscape and restored the mansion. Over the years they created a sequence of rooms to house the collection now on offer at Sotheby’s.

This wonderful collection from Corsica is highlighted by a pair of Wooded Italianate landscapes, painted by Jan Frans van Bloemen, called l’Orizzonte. Bloemen is of the most important exponents of classical landscape paintings in the late 17th and early 18th century. In the tradition of Poussin and Claude he created idealized, Italianate landscapes with classical architecture and elegant figures, such as these paintings. He went to Rome in 1689 and joined the Bentvueghels, the brotherhood for expatriate Dutch and Flemish artists, who gave him his nickname l’Orizzonte. In Rome he enjoyed great fame and his patrons included members of the Doria, Rospigliosi and Corsini families (estimate €50.000–70.000).

A large Portrait of a seated lady, possibly Countess Bianca Teschenberg, painted by Hans Makart (1840-1884) is estimated €15.000–20.000. A pair of 18th century French gilt and patinated bronze groups after Jean Baptiste Tuby (1635-1700) was inspired by garden sculptures in Versailles (€30.000-50.000). A fine 19th century Italian giltwood console table, the top possibly by Simone Setti Carp, circa 1650, is expected to fetch €30.000–50.000. The selection of clocks include an attractive French Louis XVI ormolu and bronze sculptural mantel clock by Ageron, the case made by Osmond, circa 1770 (Estimate €18.000–25.000) and an attractive and large French Empire ormolu and bronze sculptural mantel clock, early 19th century (€15.000-20.000).

The Collection of the Museum van Gerwen Lemmens
The Collection of the Museum van Gerwen-Lemmens, Valkenswaard, Netherlands, mainly consists of early sculpture, works of arts and furniture textiles, silver and metalworks from the 14th to 19th century, made for churches and cloisters in the Southern Netherlands. The museum was created for the private collection of Mr Wim van Gerwen (1922-1993). Highlighting the collection is a large and important late Gothic oak retable with scenes from the Youth of Christ, made in Brussels in the15th century (estimate €70.000-100.000).

Of special interest is an oak and polychrome ‘double Madonna’, comprising a 12th century and a 17th century Madonna. Both figures come from the church of Saint Nicolas de Sainte-Mariesure-Semois, not far from Arlon. As early as around 1200, the village was known to be under the patronage of the Virgin Mary. When in 1632 the village was miraculously spared from an epidemic, a new Madonna figure was commissioned, in gratitude to the Virgin. Of course the ancient, 12th century Madonna figure could not be disposed and so the new Madonna became a shrine enclosing the old one, thus preserving its mystical powers. The back of the 17th century Madonna is covered by a strip of wood which, when removed, reveals a hollow into which the medieval fragmentary statue of Sedes Sapientia just fits. It is a unique example of the conservation of a medieval cult image through veneration and an interesting example of Christian
image worship (estimate €12.000–18.000).

The collection also comprises liturgical vestments, such as a rare, early 16th century chasuble, richly embroidered with gold thread and silk with scenes from the Youth of Christ, made in Brabant circa 1520 (€25.000-40.000). Furniture is highlighted by a 15th century travelling chest with wrought iron mounts (€15.000-20.000). A large 17th century Oudenaerde tapestry tells the biblical story of Hagar and Ishmael and the Angel (c 250 x 290 cm, €10.000-15.000). There are several fine silver monstrances such as a gilt silver example by P.J. Verschuylen, Antwerp, 1854 (€4.000-6.000).

The Collection from the Commanderie De Balije in Gruitrode, Belgium, a historic mansion originally owned by the knights of the Teutonic Order, is a second important collection of Haute Epoque furniture, wooden sculpture, paintings, alabaster reliefs and works of art. This collection is highlighted by an important Meusian polychrome limewood group of the Sedes Sapientiae from the 13th century. The late Romanesque Sedes is carved in round with a relic compartment to the back (estimate €20.000–30.000).

Highlights from other collections include an important early 13th century patinated brass aquamanile in the shape of a lion. Originally used for washing hands in ecclesiastical context, by the end of the 12th century the aquamanile was also found in noble domestic settings. The present aquamanile was probably made in Brunswick and has been part of the famous collection of Dr Richard von Schnitzler (estimate €80.000–120.000). An important German rococo walnut, burr walnut and fruitwood marquetry commode is attributed to Johann Friedrich and Heinrich Wilhelm Spindler, Bayreuth, circa 1765 (estimate €40.000–60.000, illustrated). A large Berlin polychrome and gilt porcelain mantle clock is signed F. Aulich, KPM and the Reichsapfel mark in iron-red. Franz Aulich joined the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur Berlin in 1888 as flower painter. By repute the porcelain clock was part of the interior of the Breakfast Room of Kaiser Wilhelm II in the Esplanade in Berlin (estimate €15.000-20.000). A rare French Louis XVI glazed ormolu table regulator, with annular calendar and remontoir by Lepaute, late 18th century is estimated €20.000–30.000.

A collection of caricatures by Honoré Daumier
Celebrating the 200th birthday of Honoré Daumier (1808-1879) is a large private collection of circa 1600 prints by this famous satirical cartoonist. Born in Marseilles, Daumier moved with his parents to Paris where he was trained as an artist. To support himself he accepted commissions from popular magazines for portraits, cartoons and caricatures. From 1830 until 1847 Daumier was primarily a cartoonist, lithographer and sculptor contributing about 4000 lithographs to various political and social newspapers and magazines including La Caricature. Daumier lashed out at the deplorable state of affairs among the authorities of justice, the Court and King Louis Philippe. In 1832 he spent six months in prison for lèse-majesté. Daumier then turned to make fun of the petit bourgeois. From 1848-1871 Daumier made paintings and drawings of morals and manners that are highly
original both in style and subject. He lampooned contemporary Parisian lawyers, politicians, businessmen, professors, doctors and the petitbourgeois and continued to attack the government regime and any form of society that he found pompous or hypocritical. Daumier was and is much admired for his ability to illustrate social relationships and political subjects. The Daumier prints will be offered in lots of 100 prints, estimated €4.000–6.000 per lot.