• Press release
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  • London
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  • For immediate release
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  • 16 October 2018

PRESS RELEASE | The Eric Albada Jelgersma CollectionChristie's London, 6 & 7 December 2018

“Eric is a great collector of paintings [and] museum-quality art...” Axel Vervoordt
Quoted by Jean Bond Rafferty In “Well-Lived: Axel Vervoordt’s Chateau De Tertre”, Veranda, 15 October 2012

London – A focal point within Classic Week, Christie’s will offer a landmark, two-part sale of The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection in London on 6 & 7 December. This collection is testament to a lifelong passion for superlative works of art, and above all for Old Master paintings of the highest calibre. This is one of the most important private collections of Golden Age Dutch and Flemish pictures to have been formed in living memory, revealing the unerring eye of Eric Albada Jelgersma and his wife Marie-Louise Albada Jelgersma for outstanding quality.

Christie’s will devote a special, stand-alone Old Masters Evening Sale to The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection comprising over 40 paintings, including works by the greatest artists from the 17th century, notably Frans Hals, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Breughel the Elder, Judith Leyster and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. This sale is led by the finest pair of portraits by Frans Hals to remain together in private hands: Portrait of a gentleman, aged 37 and Portrait of a lady, aged 36 (estimate: £8-12 million, illustrated above) and includes arguably the most important Golden Age painting by a female artist left in private ownership, Merry Company by Judith Leyster (estimate: £1.5-2.5 million, illustrated above centre).The Collection Sale will take place the following day and will comprise over 350 lots of furniture, decorative objects, sculpture, antiquities, silver, Asian works of art and a selection of the Old Master paintings. The quality and range of the Old Master paintings and works of art within the collection is extraordinary, and their appearance together at auction will constitute an historic pair of sales and a seminal moment for the Old Master market. Highlights will be on public view at Christie’s New York from 26 to 30 October and in Hong Kong from 23 to 26 November, ahead of the pre-sale exhibition opening in London on 30 November.

Jussi Pylkkänen, Christie’s Global President: “It is a great honour for Christie’s to be chosen to handle the sale of The Eric Albada Jelgersma Collection which was put together so carefully over a lifetime by a collector with not only a discerning eye for great Old Master Pictures but also for Decorative Arts of the finest quality. He was a tastemaker of his generation and the exhibitions at Christie’s will recreate his extraordinary view of how classic and modern can be shown together to brilliant effect and how they can complement each other so perfectly, when they are of the highest calibre.”

Henry Pettifer, Christie’s Head of Old Masters Department: “This is one of the most important private collections of 17th century Dutch and Flemish Old Master Paintings to come to the market in living memory. Astonishing for its overarching quality and its scope across all the different genres – portraiture, landscape, genre, and still-life painting – this sale will offer a fantastic opportunity for a generation of new collectors in the field.”

Dennis, Derk and Valerie Albada Jelgersma: “Our father, Eric Albada Jelgersma, had given much thought to the future of his Old Master Picture Collection, which he – together with our mother Marie-Louise Albada Jelgersma – formed over many decades with love, knowledge and passion. During lengthy discussions with us in 2017, he made the decision to sell parts of the collection at auction, enabling these splendid works to pass on to a new generation of collectors. Earlier this year, our father chose to entrust Christie’s with these sales and, following his very sad passing last June, we are honouring our father’s wishes.”


All the different genres of Golden Age Dutch and Flemish painting are represented with masterpieces in every field. Taken as a whole, these works show the full breadth of painting in Holland and Flanders during the 17th century.

The Evening Sale is led by a remarkable pair of portraits by Frans Hals (estimate: £8-12 million) dating to 1637, when the artist was at the height of his powers and his work was in huge demand. They are described by the renowned scholar of Hals, Seymour Slive, as: ‘outstanding, superlative works by Hals, in a nearly miraculous state of preservation.’ Their exceptional condition allows a full appreciation of Hals’ revolutionary technique and the amazingly subtle range of his limited palette. They are the finest pair of portraits by the artist to remain together in private hands.

A further highlight is a monumental painting of Venus and Adonis by Van Dyck, which is an intriguing and rare disguised double portrait of the infamous George Villiers, Marquess and later 1st Duke of Buckingham and his wife, Katherine Manners, probably painted to celebrate their marriage in 1620 (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). The picture is one of only three works dateable to van Dyck's first visit to England, in the winter of 1620-1621, and is the only painting from this key period to remain in private hands. It has been widely published since its sensational rediscovery in 1990 and has not appeared at auction in over a century.

The collection contains several landscapes, the most important of which is An extensive wooded landscape by Jan Breughel the Elder, one of the largest landscapes he painted on copper. Executed while the artist was court painter to the Governors of the Southern Netherlands, Archduke Albert and his wife Isabella, it is widely regarded as one of the most significant landscapes by the artist to come to the market in recent decades (estimate: £3-5 million).

Genre paintings are wonderfully represented by Gerard Ter Borch, Michiel van Musscher, Dirck Hals and Willem van Mieris, among others. Judith Leyster’s witty and engaging scene of three young revellers, Merry Company, is a rare work by the greatest female artist of the Dutch Golden Age (estimate: £1.5-2.5 million). Painted circa 1629, when Leyster was just twenty years old, it demonstrates both her precocious talent and her ambitions as a painter of modern genre subjects, a field pioneered and dominated by her male contemporaries, notably Frans Hals. This painting has been included in all the key Leyster exhibitions and was most recently selected for the 2009 exhibition at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem and the National Gallery of Art in Washington to mark the four hundredth anniversary of Leyster’s birth.

Still lifes also feature strongly in the collection with a small-scale masterpiece by Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, as well as a large, exuberant canvas by Frans Snyders.


Eric Albada Jelgersma’s wider collection of sculpture, antiquities, English furniture, kunstkammer objects, silver, Chinese bronzes and ceramics was assembled with the same impeccable taste and is no less expansive in its nature. The unique interiors in Brussels and Amsterdam provided the mise en scène for the impressive group of Old Masters. The interiors were assembled with the same impeccable taste, under the guidance of the renowned interior designer Axel Vervoordt.


Highlights in The Library include: A George IV mahogany desk chair, circa 1825 (estimate: £1,200-1,800); a GermanKunstkammer collection including a group of German parcel-gilt silver cups and dishes, 17th, 18th and 19th century with estimates ranging from £500 up to £15,000.

The Cabinet of Curiosities shown in one of a pair of white-painted ‘Kentian’ cabinets (estimate: £30,000-50,000) in the Garden Room, displayed a selection of the Kunstkammer objects in the collection including: three Greek brass and enamelled icons, 19th century (estimate: £600-1000); a group of Hellenistic and Egyptian antiquities; Valdivian stone effigy figures from the 2nd Millenium B.C., Ecuador; eight Chinese Archaistic hardtone bi-discs (estimate: £3,000-5,000); and a group of parchment-bound volumes of Dutch yearbooks, 18th century (estimate: £3,000-5,000).

Highlights in the Dining Room include: A George III-style cut and moulded glass eighteen-light chandelier, 20th century (estimate: £15,000-25,000); a Victorian mahogany extending dining-table, by Gillows, circa 1870 (estimate: £20,000-40,000); a set of sixteen English mahogany dining-chairs (estimate: £10,000-15,000).


The Living Room included: a George III mahogany rusticated cabinet (estimate: £30,000-50,000); a group of turned tobacco-jars, 18th-20th century (estimate: £2,500-4,000); a George III yew ‘cockpen’ open armchair, 2nd half 18th century (estimate: £1,500-2,500) and a matched pair of American terrestrial and celestial table globes, circa 1880 (estimate: £4,000-6,000).

The Kitchen included: a George II oak dresser, mid-18th century (estimate: £3,000-5,000); a collection of pewter vessels and dishes, 19th century (estimate: £2,000-4,000); an English yew and elm Windsor armchair, 19th century (estimate: £1,200-1,800 for two pairs).


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