Christie’s has announced a major consignment of Old Master drawings which will be offered over the next two years in a series of sales in London, Amsterdam and Paris.
The collection formed by the art historian and former head of
the Rijksmuseum's prints and drawings department Professor I.Q. van
Regteren Altena (1899-1980) amounts to more than 800 lots in total
and is expected to realise around £10m in total.
Given his special area of connoisseurship, the collection has a
special focus on Dutch and Flemish drawings from 1550 to 1850 and
includes examples by the likes of Rubens, Rembrandt, Goltzius and
While the Rijksmuseum were given first choice and selected to
acquire a landscape by Jacob de Gheyn II (1565-1629) and a group of
46 watercolours by Joseph Augustus Knip (1777-1847), the heirs of
the collector have also donated to the Rijksmuseum a group of 69
drawings by 19th-century Dutch contemporaries of Knip in Italy.
The first tranche of the collection will be offered at
Christie's in London on July 10 and will comprise more than 70
lots. These will include the potential highlight
of the works from the consignment: the only known preparatory
sketch for Samson and Delilah, one of Sir Peter
Paul Rubens' (1577-1640) greatest paintings which is now
in the National Gallery, London. The pen and ink drawing is
estimated at £1.5m-2.5m.
Another notable lot will be a drawing of a young beggar leaning
on a stick by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
(1606-69). The work is related to a series of etchings of
the same subject dating from 1629 onwards and is characteristic of
Rembrandt's figure drawings produced while he was working in Leiden
as a young man.
One of the most intriguing and striking works in the collection
is Study of a hand by Hendrick Goltzius
(1558-1617). The pen and ink drawing from c,1588 depicts
the artist's own right hand which had been mutilated in a fire
while he was a child. This drawing was also used for the hand of St
Jude in an engraving of 1589.
It is estimated at £300,000-500,000.
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