Vignali, Greuze, and Netscher Headline Bonhams’ Old Master Paintings Sale

Nazia Safi
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The term “Old Master” artists refers to European creators active between the 1300s and 1800s. The group includes some of the best-recognized artists from the Early Renaissance through the Romantic period. Their works contain references to classical mythology, human history, and daily life and customs through the ages. The upcoming Bonhams event will trace the history of Old Master paintings from the early 17th through the early 19th century. The sale will go live at 9:00 AM EST on December 17th, 2020.

Jacopo Vignali (1592-1664), David with the Head of Goliath. Image from Bonhams.
Jacopo Vignali (1592-1664), David with the Head of Goliath. Image from Bonhams.

Jacopo Vignali, who trained with Matteo Rosselli, is considered one of the most important painters of 17th-century Florence. Vignali’s naturalistic style follows the Baroque tradition with dramatic light effects, a rich color palette, and elegance in design. The artist devoted a lifetime to painting saints and other biblical figures.

Vignali’s oil painting titled David with the Head of Goliath is among the highlighted lots in the upcoming auction. The piece depicts David holding the severed head of Goliath. “David and Goliath has been independently proclaimed by the foremost authorities in their field to be a ‘masterpiece’ by Jacopo Vignali,” Bonhams notes. Believed to have been completed around 1624, Vignali’s take on David and Goliath symbolizes courage, strength, and victory over injustice. The piece has an estimate of USD 200,000 to $270,000.

Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), Portrait of Jeanne Philiberte Ledoux. Image from Bonhams.
Jean-Baptiste Greuze (1725-1805), Portrait of Jeanne Philiberte Ledoux. Image from Bonhams.

French painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze was best known for his portraits, genre scenes, and historical paintings. Though Greuze did not garner much attention from his teachers at the Royal Academy, his first and subsequent works established him as one of France’s best genre painters. During his later years, Greuze also earned recognition as a portrait artist for his many acclaimed paintings.

Greuze’s Portrait of Jeanne Philiberte Ledoux will be offered in the upcoming sale (estimate: $93,000 – $130,000). The available piece shows a half-length painting of Jeanne-Philiberte Ledoux, a painter and pupil of the artist. The painting shows Ledoux in a white dress and a draped blue shawl. She wears an armlet and holds a blue and white garland of flowers.

Caspar Netscher (1639-1684), portrait of a gentleman scientist, probably Constantijn Huygens. Image from Bonhams.
Caspar Netscher (1639-1684), portrait of a gentleman scientist, probably Constantijn Huygens. Image from Bonhams.

Although German-Dutch painter Caspar Netscher is celebrated for his exquisite, highly finished domestic interiors, Netscher produced very few interiors before abandoning the genre around 1670 for portrait painting. Following his marriage, Netscher moved to The Hague and pursued portraiture with great success. Netscher sought to paint his sitters against a background of sumptuous draperies, gardens, or landscapes.

Netscher’s portrait of a gentleman scientist will be highlighted in the sale (estimate: $9,300 – $13,000). Completed in 1680, the portrait is believed to feature either Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and inventor Christiaan Huygens or his elder brother, Constantijn Huygens. In the work, the subject is shown standing beside a table with a group of microscopes.

Additional Old Master paintings from celebrated artists, including Willem van de Velde, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and John Constable R.A., will be offered in the Bonhams London event at 9:00 AM EST on December 17th, 2020. Interested collectors will find the complete listings and register to bid on Bonhams’ website.