• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 22 November 2016

PRESS RELEASE: Christie's December Classic Week

LONDON – Following the landmark sale in July of Peter Paul Rubens’s masterpiece Lot and his Daughters, which achieved £44,882,500, this December Christie’s London will host a variety of auctions spanning the Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Antiquities, Old Master & British Paintings and Japanese Art. The week will also present two private collection sales, From Ancient To Modern: A Distinguished Private Collection and A Surreal Legacy: Selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation, which each encapsulate the essence of the Classic Week concept with cross-category collecting in a context true to the way collectors live. The auctions will take place from 6 to 15 December 2016 and will present a diverse selection of works of art at varying price points, a fitting conclusion to Christie’s 250th anniversary year.  The works will be on view and open to the public from 2 December 2016.   

 Antiquities (10:30am) & The Resandro Collection (11:30am) | 6 December

The Antiquities Sale will showcase a wide range of works of art from the Mediterranean cultures of Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. Highlights will include an Egyptian green gabbro bust of a priest, circa 4th Century B.C. (estimate: £25,000-35,000) and a rare Roman marble portrait head of Julia Mamaea, mother of the emperor Severus Alexander, circa 222-235 A.D (estimate: £60,000-80,000). This sale will be followed by The Resandro Collection of Egyptian art, which includes an outstanding red quartzite head of Akhenaten (circa 1351-1334 B.C., estimate: £600,000-800,000), showing the features of the famous late 18th dynasty pharaoh.

European Sculpture & Works of Art | 6 December | 2:30pm

Comprising European Sculpture & Works of Art from the 13th to 19th Century, the sale includes a number of rare and desirable works from major Renaissance and Baroque sculptors. Alfonso Lombardi’s rediscovered Cristo Benedicente in terracotta (circa 1522-26, estimate: £50,000-80,000) has a provenance from Palazzo Bentivoglio and has recently been included in several international exhibitions. It has never been previously offered at auction. The sale will also present a unique life-size bronze of the Sleeping Hermaphrodite (estimate: £200,000-300,000), probably cast soon after the discovery of the ancient marble original in Rome in the mid-17th century, which is now displayed in the Uffizi, Florence.

From Ancient To Modern: A Distinguished Private Collection | 7 December | 2pm

From Ancient to Modern: A Distinguished Private Collection includes paintings and decorative arts spanning a broad range of cultures and periods. This diverse group of works epitomises a contemporary approach to collecting: not purely driven by category but by embracing interconnecting cultural relationships and beliefs. Taken together, these eclectic acquisitions complement one another: the statue of a girl dating from the Hellenistic period (estimate: £80,000–120,000) is an elegant contrast to Pablo Gargallo’s Espagnole à la mantille (Version I) (estimate: £150,000–200,000). Beautiful examples of early Spanish religious art are offered alongside works by Giambattista Tiepolo (1696-1770) (estimate: £250,000-350,000), Juan de Arellano (1614-76) (estimate: £400,000-600,000) and Bernard Buffet (1928-99) (estimate: £12,000-18,000). The selection of outstanding decorative arts, spanning over 1,000 years is testament to the collector’s knowledge and discerning eye. The auction is led by the masterpiece Saint Joseph and the Christ Child by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1618-82) (estimate: £3,000,000 – 5,000,000).

Old Master & British Drawings & Watercolours | 7 December | 1pm

The Old Master & British Drawings & Watercolours Sale will offer British drawings from the private collection of the renowned picture dealer William Drummond, including groups of figure studies by Edwin Landseer (1802-73) and David Wilkie (1785-1841) and animal studies by James Ward (1769-1859). The sale will also feature a fascinating group of drawings and watercolours by John Ruskin H.R.W.S. (London 1819-1900), newly discovered watercolours by William Payne (1760-1833), and a wonderful study of Ramla by David Roberts R.A. (1796-1864) (estimate: £30,000-50,000). Italian, French, Spanish, German and Dutch drawings from the 15th to 19th Century are represented, including a rediscovered perspective drawing by Johann Erdmann Hummel (1769-1852) (estimate: £1,000-1,500), a design for the altarpiece of the Church of Santa Ana in Peñaranda de Duero (estimate: £1,000-1,500) and a group of studies by Carl Ludwig Frommel (1789-1863).

Art of Japan | 8 December | 2pm

Art of Japan presents a carefully selected group of historically significant Japanese works of art spanning over 1,000 years and celebrating different artistic traditions. The sale comprises: Nanban art, lacquer, porcelain, Meiji period works of art including magnificent metalwork, samurai art from the Dolphyn Collection, ukiyo-e prints, screens, fine netsuke and inro from the Tony & Johanna Oey Collection and a Private Swiss Collection. Star lots include a magnificent pair of inlaid iron vases from the Komai workshop (estimate: £250,000-300,000), a rare late 16th century Christian Shrine (Seigan) commissioned by the Portuguese Jesuits (estimate: £150,000-200,000), an Edo period Lacquer Suzuribako (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and the woodblock print Red Fuji by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) (estimate: £50,000–70,000).

Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale | 8 December | 7:00pm  

The Old Master Evening Sale will be led by important works from some of the most sought-after artists in the European tradition including a work closely associated with the most important Spanish Royal commission of its time by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1746-1828) of A Woman with two Boys by a fountain (estimate: £4,000,000-6,000,000). The work was commissioned as part of a series of large painted cartoons for tapestries to decorate the dining room of the heir to the throne, Carlos, Prince of Asturias, in El Pardo Palace, Madrid. The rapid brushwork, luminous palette and numerous pentimenti in this sketch are remarkably well preserved, revealing Goya’s evolving design for the final cartoon. In the end, as a consequence of the death of Carlos III the following year, the tapestries woven from Goya’s designs were never hung in El Pardo and the sketches remained in Goya’s possession. This sketch was acquired from the artist in 1798 by the Duke and Duchess of Osuna. The sale also features significant works including the impressive view by Bernardo Bellotto (1721-80), The courtyard of the Fortress of Königstein with the Magdalenenburg (circa 1760; estimate: £2,000,000–3,000,000), Jacob Jordaens’ (1593-1678) The Holy Family with an angel (estimate: £500,000-800,000) and the monumental  The Forest of Bavella (circa 1878-88; estimate: £600,000-800,000) by Edward Lear (1812-88).

Old Master & British Paintings Day Sale | 9 December | 10:30am   

The Old Master and British Paintings Day Sale offers a broad selection of works across all schools of European painting, from the mid-14th to the early-19th century, with estimates ranging from £5,000-100,000. The sale will present a strong group of Italian Renaissance pictures, including exceptional panels by The Master of the Naumburg Madonna (active 1450-85) (estimate: £50,000-80,000) and Benvenuto Tisi il Garofalo (1481-1559) (estimate: £50,000-80,000) from the collection of William Merton, along with a striking group portrait by Domenico Tintoretto (1560-1635) (estimate: £80,000-120,000). British landscape painting is well represented by a fine view by Richard Wilson (1713/14-82) (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and atmospheric Italianate landscapes by Jacob More (1740-93) (estimate: £60,000-80,000). The great northern tradition of still-life and landscape painting is also well represented with a highly finished work by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Younger (1609-45) (estimate: £70,000-100,000) and views by Joos de Momper II (1564-1635) (estimate: £60,000-80,000).

19th Century Art | 13 December | 2pm    

Offering a diverse selection of works from this important and rich period of art history, the 19th  Century Art sale will present a rediscovered masterpiece by the pioneer of Italian Divisionism, Vecchie Calzette by Angelo Morbelli (1854-1919) (estimate: £200,000–300,000). On the market for the first time after a century, the work is one of six canvases forming the Il Poema della Vecchiaia series. The sale will be led by Jean-Louis-André-Théodore Géricault’s (1791-1824) great Romantic jewel Mazeppa (estimate: £500,000-700,000), illustrating the story of the young Ukranian Ivan Mazepa, who, as punishment for his adultery with a Polish Countess, was tied naked to a wild horse. A remarkable and pivotal work by the member of the Nazarene movement Johann Friedrich Overbeck (1789-1869), The Banishment of Hagar and Ishmael (estimate: £150,000-250,000) will be offered for the first time since its commission in 1841 by an ancestor of the present owner. Further star lots include the vibrant work by Joaquím Mir i Trinxet (1873-1940), La cova, Torrent de Pareis, Mallorca (estimate: £100,000-150,000), and Gustave Courbet’s (1819-77) Nature morte aux trois pommes (estimate: £40,000-60,000), one of the first sketches painted by the artist during his confinement in Sainte-Pélagie prison for his part in the Commune uprising in Paris.

Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art | 14 December | 2:30pm

The Victorian, Pre-Raphaelite & British Impressionist Art Sale will present a superb selection of works, bringing together a variety of genres and styles. The sale will be led by a newly-discovered group of sketches (lots 15-24) by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, Bt., A.R.A., R.W.S. (1833-98), from two private collections in pencil and oil, for his masterpiece The Golden Stairs (1880, Tate, London). With estimates ranging from £3,000-50,000, the sketches provide a fascinating insight into the artist’s working methods and draughtsmanship and sheds new light on the identity of one of the women in the finished painting. The sale will also include works by artists such as Edward Reginald Frampton (1870-1923) (estimate: £150,000-200,000), John Atkinson Grimshaw (1836-93) (estimate: £100,000-150,000), John William Godward, R.A. (1861-1922) (estimate: £100,000-150,000), Edward Lear (1812-88) (estimate: £80,000-120,000), and James (Jacques) Joseph Tissot (1836-1902) (estimate: £120,000-180,000), as well a strong selection of New English sculpture, including Frederic, Lord Leighton, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1830-96) (estimate: £25,000-40,000) and Sir George Frampton, R.A. (1860-1928) (estimate: £15,000-25,000), along with British Impressionist works by some of the most celebrated artists of the genre such as Sir Alfred Munnings, P.R.A., R.W.S. (1878-1959) (estimate: £30,000-50,000), Edward Seago, R.W.S., R.B.A. (1910-74) (estimate: £30,000-50,000), and Dame Laura Knight, R.A. (1877-1970) (estimate: £60,000-80,000).

A Surreal Legacy: Selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation | 15 December | 10:30am

Christie’s will present selected works of art from The Edward James Foundation including iconic pieces that trace the development of Surrealism and reflect the tastes of the visionary patron of art and collector, Edward James. These will be offered alongside a cross-category selection of objects from West Dean House, collected by generations of successive owners. The sale will comprise 187 lots and the proceeds will be used to support the Foundation’s long-term plan to enhance Edward James’ educational legacy including a permanent exhibition space and a transformation of how the Foundation’s archives are managed and used. Highlights of the auction include a sofa in the form of Mae West’s lips (1938, estimate: £250,000-400,000), a pair of Champagne standard lamps (1938, estimate: £100,000-150,000) and Lobster Telephone (white aphrodisiac) (1938, estimate: £150,000-250,000), all of which were designed by Salvador Dalí (1904-89) and Edward James (1907-84) together and were made by Green & Abbott. Amongst the acquisitions of William James, Edward’s father, to be offered for sale are a pair of Louis XVI ormolu-mounted blue-ground porcelain 'lacrimal' vases, reputedly from Versailles (circa 1782, estimate: £80,000-120,000) and a Russian patinated-bronze and green porphyry tazza (circa 1800, estimate: £50,000-80,000).

Topographical Pictures   | 15 December | 2pm

Classic Week will conclude with Topographical Pictures, led by nine Chilean and Peruvian subjects by the itinerant German romantic artist Johann Moritz Rugendas (1802-58) (estimates from £80,000-250,000), among the artist’s masterpieces from his years in South America, and five important Indian oils by Thomas Daniell, R.A. (1749-1840) and William Daniell, R.A. (1769-1837), which include what is arguably one of William Daniell’s finest Indian pictures, Shivala Ghaut and Cheyt Singh’s House near Benares (estimate: £200,000-300,000). The sale also includes a large collection of early drawings of Canada, Thomas Baines’s (1820-75) brightly painted Koodoos, Luisi River, Zambesi Valley (estimate: £60,000-80,000) in the African section and views of Macao, Hong Kong, Canton and Singapore in the Asian section. The Caribbean section features views of Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados, Dominican and St Vincent.

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*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.