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Event Date9 December 02:00 PM GMT | Live auction 20060

Old Master Prints

Old Master Prints

Sale Overview

With the auction on 9 December, Christie's Old Master Prints sale reverts to its traditional Live Auction format and offers a diverse and intriguing selection of fine prints and rarities from important international collections, including works of most of the leading European printmakers.   

Encompassing five centuries of art history, the sale ranges from a mid-15th century Anonymous German metalcut to an amateur album of rare, early 19th English lithographs and an unrecorded impression of William Blake's only lithograph (Enoch).  A rich selection of prints by the unrivalled masters of the medium, Albrecht Dürer and Rembrandt van Rijn, form the core of the auction. Among Dürer’s works, two very fine impressions of the so-called ‘Meisterstiche’, Melencolia I and Saint Jerome in his Study, and the showpiece Saint Eustace, stand out amongst a remarkable selection of his engravings and woodcuts.  Rembrandt’s sensitivity and technical virtuosity as a printmaker is evident in a wide variety of etchings of religious and secular subjects, from an exquisite, stamp-sized Self-Portrait in a Cap, Open Mouthed and a fine example of Abraham and Isaac from the collection of the Earl of Aylesford, to an outstanding impression of his most dramatic and complex landscape etching, The Three Trees

Engravings of the Italian and German Renaissance, rarities of the School of Fontainebleau, various Mannerist eccentricities from the Netherlands and Italy and Dutch 17th century landscapes are all to be found in fine examples, some amongst a small but choice collection of Duplicates from the British Museum.

An element of the fantastic and bawdy is provided by a strong group of prints after Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, mostly from an Important Private American Collection. The Venetian masters of the 18th century are represented by a complete, rare and early set of Canaletto's Vedute and all ten of Giovanni Battista Tiepolo’s mysterious Capricci.

Fine early printings of Goya's Proverbios and John Martin's Illustration for Milton's Paradise Lost complete the offer. The auction presents an opportunity to acquire some of the most celebrated, intriguing and dramatic images of European art, with estimates ranging from £500 to £200,000.

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Auction times
09 Dec 02:00 PM (GMT) Lots 1-156

Our specialist’s selection

Brought to you by

Tim Schmelcher

Tim Schmelcher

International Specialist | Prints & Multiples

Tim Schmelcher joined Christie's Prints Department in London in 2004 and specializes in Old Master and German Expressionist prints. In his role as International Specialist, Tim oversees Christie’s auctions of Old Master Prints in London, New York and online, which have included the landmark sales Albrecht Dürer – Masterpieces from a Private Collection (New York, January 2013) and Goya – Graphic Masterpieces from a Private Collection (New York, January 2014) and Fifty Prints by Rembrandt van Rijn – A Private English Collection (London, July 2016). With these and many successful various-owner sales since 2007, Tim has helped Christie’s achieve countless record prices for Dürer, Rembrandt, Goya and many other printmakers of the 15th to the 19th century, including the highest price for an old master print at auction: Rembrandt’s Christ presented to the People (‘Ecce Homo’) was sold for GBP 2,65 million in London in 2018.

Other successes include the sale of Edvard Munch’s Young Woman on the Beach for £2,130,000 (London, in March 2013) and some very significant private sales of Modern and Old Master Prints. In April 2018, Tim curated the exhibition Beauties & Beasts – Making and Collecting Art in Germany for Christie’s in Berlin.

Tim speaks German, English and French and holds an M.A. in Art History and American Studies. Based in London, he maintains regular contact with clients and institutions in Europe and in North America.
Stefano Franceschi

Stefano Franceschi

Junior Specialist | Prints & Multiples

Stefano Franceschi, Junior Specialist, joined Christie’s Prints & Multiples department in 2017, following a position at the British Museum in the Prints and Drawings Study Room. A native Italian speaker and fluent in English, Stefano travels regularly to Italy to source works for the live and online London auctions. His interests and knowledge extend from the 15th century to the present, with a special fondness for Italian Old Master prints but also for Contemporary Editions – for which he is Head of Sale in London.

Stefano is heavily involved with the Old Master Prints auctions and valuations of important private collections, including the single-owner online auction ‘Three Northern Masters’ (July 2019) and the Old Master Prints Sale in December 2019, where very rare Italian and Northern prints from the Collection of the Late Professor Eric Stanley set several record prices including for Hendrik Goltzius’ ‘The Dragon devouring the Companions of Cadmus’ (sold for £75,000).

He holds a Master’s Degree in ‘Economy and Management of Arts and Cultural Activities’ from Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, gained with full marks and laude. There, he focused on Old Master Printmaking with Prof. Giovanni Fara, writing a dissertation on the Prints’ Market and Collecting in the second half of 16th century’s Venice.
James Baskerville

James Baskerville

Specialist | Prints & Multiples

James Baskerville joined Christie’s in 2014 and is a Specialist with a depth of knowledge spanning from Old Master Prints to Contemporary printmaking. As a valuer and business getter for the London auctions, James travels mainly in the UK, Belgium, Germany and Scandinavia and is heavily involved in the Old Master Prints auction held annually between London and New York.

Some of James’s favourite past consignments include the pair of Andy Warhol’s Moonwalk which set a record price for the subject at auction (sold for £341,000, March 2019) and works from the collection of Dr. Heinrich Becker including a rare impression of Edvard Munch’s The Girls on the Bridge (sold for £125,000, September 2017); as well as rare editions sold by Private Sale.

As Head of Sale for Banksy editions at Christie’s, James has a keen interest in contemporary printmaking and has set the record price for a Banksy print with Girl with Balloon - Colour AP (Gold) (sold for £395,250, September 2019) and for STIK, with the deluxe set of Liberty (sold for £200,000, September 2019). James also consigned and curated the online auction Feelings in Colour, a celebration of Howard Hodgkin’s graphic works which set a record price for an editioned print by the artist with the monumental As Time Goes By (Red) (sold for £68,750, April 2019).

He read Art History at University College London, where he gained a Masters degree with distinction in History of Art in 2013 with a thesis on Albrecht Dürer’s engraving Adam and Eve.
Murray Macaulay

Murray Macaulay

Head of Department | Prints & Multiples

With almost two decades experience as a Print Specialist at Christie’s, Murray is a seasoned expert with an expansive knowledge of his field and of the print market. Murray qualified with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhodes University, South Africa, where he trained as a printmaker, before joining Christie’s in 2000 as Head of Prints at Christie’s South Kensington. Murray moved to King Street in 2008, where he co-ordinated several record-breaking sales, including Contemporary Editions: Works from the Paragon Press (2008), Hockney on Paper (2012) and James Ensor Prints: The Mira Jacob Collection (2014). Of the many wonderful prints which have passed through his hands, some of Murray’s highlights include Albrecht Dürer’s Samson Rending the Lion (sold for £434,500 in 2015), Rembrandt’s The Three Trees (sold for £434,500 in 2013), Edward Wadsworth’s Turret ship in dry dock (sold for £114,000 in 2006), Picasso’s Buste de femme d’après Cranach de Jeune £410,500 in 2014) and David Hockney’s Fish and Chip Shop (sold for £18,750 in 2017). Before becoming Head of Department in London in 2016, Murray was the director of Multiplied, a fair hosted by Christie’s devoted to contemporary editions (2010 -2015). Murray travels widely in Europe with a special focus on France, Holland, Spain and Switzerland.

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