Monday, 27 November 2017

Wannenes 29 November 2017 part 1: Anguissola and Ruysch

Wannenes, from Italy, sells on 29 November 2017 an interesting collection of Old Masters, on which I will spend a few posts.

As a start, let's look at two paintings attributed to or from the circle of two early women painters.

The first is attributed to Lucia Anguissola (1536-1565), the younger sister of the more famous Sofonisba Anguissola. The work is certainly in her style. It is estimated at 4,000 to 6,000 Euro.

The Anguissola sisters all look rather similar, as can be seen in this portrait of Lucia, Minerva and Europa (didn't they just have the best parents ever? Such names, and then such a progressive education, encouraging them all to be cultured and to work in their own name, giving us a whole series of named woman painters at a time when only a handful are known otherwise!).

This is a self-portrait by Lucia, which is clealy better painted than the work for sale. I wonder whether the sitter and artist isn't one of the other Anguissola sisters, Elena, Europa or Minerva, who all were painters before getting married or becoming a nun.

She seems to resemble most closely Minerva Anguissola (here portrayed by Sofonisba, from the Milwaukee Art Museum). She lived from about 1539 to 1566, so the painting is probably ca. 1560.

It would need further investigation to be sure of any of this, but it definitely is a very interesting one and if authentic is again a nice find.

The other work Il'd like to highlight in this first post is by another famous female painter I haven't discussed yet; Rachel Ruysch (1664, 1750), a Dutch painter specialized in still lifes (one of the genres where women were more accepted as you didn't need to know anatomy (i.e. nude painting) for it).

Described as "Dutch painter, 17th century", the description indicates that the work is signed by Ruysch and dated 1663. They consider the signature to be apocryphal, which isn't surprising as the date is one year before her birth ;-) It is estimated at 3,000 to 5,000 Euro.

It can be compared to other compositions which are certainly by her, like the above from the Fitzwilliam Museum.

The signature on that work is very similar to the "apocryphal" one on the work for sale (where I can't find the date, perhaps it's below the sig but not included in the photograph?).

Looking at the work and comparing it with other Ruysch' paintings, I wouldn't have been surprised if this was an original after all. However, other punters have thought the same and seem to have no success in convincing experts or auction houses to sell it as a tue Ruysch. It was for sale at Lempertz in 2011, again as "Netherlandish School, 17th century", where they indicated that another version of the work can be found in the Museum of Rostock (I haven't found an image so far). It was sold then for 21,780 Euro against an estimate of 18,000 to 20,000 Euro; to see it now for 3,000 Euro is quite a disappointment then, but in auctions the things that matter are quality and originality, and while this one has quality, it lacks originality apparently and is considered a copy.

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