A moonlit scene by Dutch Golden Age painter leads Old Masters auction

6/11/2019     News Stories & Press Release, Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures


LONDON: Roseberys London is delighted to include The Piano Lesson by the revered Polish artist Jacek Malczewski (1854-1929) in its forthcoming Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures sale on November 21. Last seen on the market 22 years ago, it has been the subject of extensive research by Rosebery’s picture specialists who have discovered the work to be a dual portrait of Malczewski’s two sisters, Bronisława and Helena. Helena, who is seen playing the piano in the painting, owned it until her death in 1933. Originally titled The Portrait of the Two Sisters, it was completed upon Malczewski’s return to his home city of Radom in 1877 after he dropped out of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and before he enrolled at the Krakow School of Fine Arts. Estimated at £6,000-8,000 from a UK private collection, it is one of only a small number of Malczewski’s paintings that survive from this early period and gives a unique insight into the artist’s early finished naturalistic compositions. Malczewski would go onto be one of the leading painters of the Polish school and eventually a respected name across Europe, rejecting the Realism taught in the French Schools and adopting a more overt form of Symbolism that has continued to stand in high regard through multiple artistic circles to this day. [Lot 203] 

Marcus Grey, Head of Pictures at Roseberys, comments on the overall sale: We have a large and varied range of oil paintings in this sale, many of which are fresh to the market, including a large format scene depicting The Good Samaritan (lot 27), unusually signed and dated by Jan Baptist van Meunincxhove.We have a very good and varied selection of small scale 18/19th oil in gilded frames. Another favourite is a previously unrecorded seascape in oil by Benjamin Williams Leader RA depicting a view near Conway, a subject matter he visited often.

Another of the sale’s top highlights is a moonlit scene by Aert van der Neer (1603-77), a painter of the Dutch Golden Age who excelled at bleak winter landscapes and was considered an expert in painting scenes lit by moonlight. This atmospheric oil, estimated at £20,000-30,000, is typical of his well-established style, masterfully portraying the effect of moonlight on a river landscape and a Dutch village beyond. Born in the Netherlands, van der Neer spent most of his life in and around Amsterdam. Thought to have only begun painting in his late 20s, he would go on to make a number of collaborations with the landscape artist, Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691).  Many of van der Neer’s works are held in galleries across the world including the National Gallery, London, the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. [Lot 26]

South Carolina-born artist William Aiken Walker (1838-1921), who painted The Cotton Picker’s Cabin estimated here at £4,000-6,000, established an artistic career as a painter of scenes from the American South throughout the late 19th century. During the 1880s, he made regular trips along the Mississippi River recording and documenting the lives of African American families going about their everyday routines. In New Orleans, he would position himself on street corners creating multiple small-scale compositions, similar to The Cotton Picker’s Cabin, which would go on to be sold to tourists as souvenirs of the Old South. These paintings became increasingly popular during the period and documented the changing socio-economic structure of the South through the late 19th century. [Lot 172]

Flower still lifes are a reoccurring theme throughout the sale and include this fine example by Belgian artist Jean-Baptiste Robie (1821-1910) estimated at £2,000-3,000. Robie was one of the pioneers in the evolution of still life painting during the mid-19th century. Renowned for his realistic depictions, faithful use of colour and attention to detail his finished compositions were much sought after and provided him with multiple awards and honours. Robie exhibited at the Brussels Salon from 1843 until 1875 and made his debut at the Paris Salon in 1863, when this work is believed to have been painted. He would go onto participate in the 1880 exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts before exhibiting at the 1885 World Fair in Paris. [Lot 154]

A lively and detailed 19th century composition of the Seine in Paris which was purchased in c.1940-1950 by the grandfather of the present owner, carries hopes of £4,000-6,000. Painted by the British artist James Webb (c.1825-95), it depicts the bustle of industry along the Seine at the Pont Neuf, viewed from the Pont des Arts, around the late 1850s. Washerwomen scrub and dry clothing and linen on the boats in the river to the left, while merchants sell their wares on the quay to the right. In the background are Notre Dame's iconic bell towers. Webb was a painter of marine and landscape scenes in England, Wales, Holland and France. He exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1853 and 1888 and his works are in the collections of the Tate Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum. [Lot 149]

Fellow 19th century painter John Lewis Brown (1829-1890) became a chronicler of Parisian high society but is best known as a horse painter and painter of elegant equestrian scenes. The sale includes Attelage sur la plage, a signed oil from 1872 that combines these two sides of his career, showing an elegant couple taking a break during their journey in a horse-drawn carriage. The influence of the Impressionists can be seen in his large brushstrokes, which are a feature of his later works. It is estimated at £5,000-7,000. [Lot 155]

The auction also contains The Persistent Suitor, a typical scene by the German painter Heinrich Lossow (1843-1897). A pupil of Professor Piloty at the Munich Academy, Lossow was known for his genre scenes containing figures in ornate rococo costumes and book illustrations. His works can be seen in museums of Munich, Linz, Minneapolis, as well as other collections, with this example estimated at £3,000-5,000. [Lot 174]

An accomplished Italian oil depicting a portrait of a woman holding a rose as an allegory of spring is estimated at £5,000-8,000. It was painted by a follower of the Florentine artist Cesare Dandini (1596-1657), who painted a series of allegory paintings - Allegory of Intelligence being among his best known. [Lot 17]


Old Master, 18th & 19th Century Pictures
Thursday 21 November, starting at 1 pm

Viewing times 
Sunday 17 November 9.30 am - 5.30 pm
Monday 18 November 9.30 am - 5.30 pm
Tuesday 19 November 9.30 am - 5.30 pm 
Wednesday 20 November 9.30 am - 5.30 pm 
Thursday 21 November 9.30 am - 12.30 pm
Contact the head of department Marcus Grey for further details marcusgrey@roseberys.co.uk



For further information please contact Peigi Mackillop peigimackillop@roseberys.co.uk +44 (0) 20 8761 2522





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