Recently Rediscovered Memento Mori Painting Offered at Koller Auctions Zurich

Carstian Luyckx (1623 Antwerp 1677) Memento Mori still life. Oil on canvas. Estimate: CHF 30 000 - 40 000.

Among the highlights of the Old Master Paintings auction on 23 March is Bernardo Strozzi’s large-format portrait of Paolo Gregorio Raggi, governor of Corsica in 1547. The portrait was painted posthumously, sometime before 1638, and was commissioned by the Raggis, an important Genovese family, for their portrait gallery of distinguished family members, including cardinals and senators. Strozzi, who was active in Genoa and later In Venice, was one of the leading figures of the Baroque period in Italy, known for his painting style of energetic brushstrokes, intense colours and the expressive rendering of his subjects – all clearly present in the painting offered here. Clara Peeters, the first recorded female still-life painter, is the author of a museum-quality still life with cat, fishes, oysters and crustaceans, to be offered for CHF 100,000 – 150,000. Dating from the 1620s, this is the last still life by the artist with this subject still on the market. Two others are located in museums (the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington DC, and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Antwerp).

Among the other works featured in the Old Masters auction is a memento mori still life by the Flemish artist Carstian Luyckx, In this work, Luyckx brilliantly combines symbols of the brevity of life with a subtle anti-war message. Recently discovered in a Swiss private collection, this work is one of Luyckx’s masterpieces, with clues to hitherto unkown aspects of the artist’s career, as well as his personal reaction to the War of Devolution in the Spanish Netherlands in 1667/68, it is estimated at CHF 30,000 – 40,000. A large (62.5 x 86.5 cm) and characteristic landscape by one of the most important Netherlandish painters of the second half of the 17th century, Meindert Hobbema, will be offered for CHF 100,000 – 150,000. From a Swiss private collection, this work is particularly interesting due to its dramatic lighting effects and impressively vigorous brushstrokes.

The 19th Century Paintings auction includes two highlights of Russian Art,A painting by Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, one of the most important Russian avant-garde painters from the turn of the 20th century, represents a fantastic demon, and is estimated at CHF 500,000 – 700,000. Ivan Fedorovich Choultsé’s “Forest landscape at sunset” from 1915 was recently rediscovered in a German private collection. Estimated at CHF 50 000 – 60 000, this was one of the most sought-after subjects by the artist during his lifetime.

The Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts auction on 22 March features splendid French creations from the 18th and 19th centuries, an unusually high number of which are signed by celebrated ébé nistes and menuisiers , such as an Empire set of seating furniture stamped Jacob DR. Meslee. Made in 1805/10, the large group of furniture belonged to the celebrated Marshal-General under Napoleon and later Prime Minister, Jean-de-Dieu Soult (CHF 30,000 – 60,000). A highly important Meissen porcelain candlestick by Johann Gottlieb Kirchner, with painted decoration by Johann Gregorius Höroldt, is only one of two known of this model (CHF 40,000 – 70,000). The other example is in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.


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