Private Selling Exhibition: Impressionist and Modern Art
Private Selling Exhibition

The Bad Shepherd

20 October 2014 -16 January 2015 | London

Christie’s proudly presents The Bad Shepherd, a collaboration between our Old Master Paintings and Post-War & Contemporary Art specialist departments. On the one hand it is a celebration of the imprint made on our collective consciousness by the Brueghel family, with its close early followers and collaborators. On the other hand, it is an exploration of the ways in which living artists, entirely independently, have come to value precisely those aims that set the Brueghels apart from their own contemporaries: The relentless challenging of received wisdom; a drive to expose hypocrisy in all its guises; unfettered frankness about the human condition; a rejection of pretentious criteria, nevertheless underpinned by an intellectual sophistication—these are all things which the assembled artists share, whether they were working in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, or still are today. The title is taken from The Bad Shepherd, a masterpiece by Pieter Brueghel the Younger which Christie’s brought to the market in 2008, and which is on loan to the exhibition from a private collection. This work was long thought to be by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, to the extent that it was even classed amongst his most interesting subjects. But the ‘Bad Shepherd’ is also a powerful metaphor. The parable which inspired the artist is about making a choice; about responsibility and coping with it; about sacrifice – and survival. As always, with Brueghel works, the moral message is not imposed on us – we are left with a questioning ambiguity, a challenge to look deeper, and to make up our own minds.

Exhibition Information

Exhibition Highlights

  • Nicole Eisenman (B. 1965)

    Beer Garden at Night

  • Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp)

    The Inn of Saint Michael

  • Peter Doig (B. 1959)

    Night Fishing

  • Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/65-1637/38 Antwerp)

    Autumn: The Pig Slaughter

    oil on oak panel
    16⅛ x 22¼ in. (41 x 56.5 cm.)

  • Neo Rauch (B. 1960)


  • Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp)

    Spring: The Flower Garden

  • Jeff Wall (B. 1946)

    The Jewish Cemetery

  • Marten van Cleve (Antwerp c. 1527-before 1581)

    A market in a town square, with a woman punished for adultery

  • Sarah Lucas (B. 1962)


  • Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp)

    The Adoration of the Magi in the Snow

  • Thomas Schütte (B. 1954)


  • Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp)

    A country brawl

The Wishlist: Peter Brueghel the Younger

Exhibition Information

Christie’s Mayfair
103 New Bond Street
London W1S 1ST

Exhibition Times

Oct 20 – Jan 16
Monday – Friday, 10am – 6pm
Saturday, 12 – 5pm
Sunday, Closed

General Enquiries

Old Masters
Alexis Ashot, Specialist
Tel: +44 20 7389 2248

Post-War and Contemporary Art
Darren Leak, Senior Specialist, Curator
Tel: +44 20 7389 2025

Jacob Uecker, Associate Specialist
Tel: +44 20 7389 2400

Private Sales
Stephanie Jong, Exhibition Manager
Tel: +44 20 7752 3209