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Professor Eckersberg, whose innovation had been inspired by seeing life classes in the Paris studio of Jacques Louis David, noted in his diary on January 3, 1933: “Have started painting from a beautiful female model with C. Hansen, Købke and Marstrand.” Martinus Rørbye (1803-1848) and Adam Müller (1811-1844) were also recorded as being present at the same momentous life class, but no one is quite sure, in the absence of a signature, which of the two was responsible for the second Modelstudie that came up for sale at these same Copenhagen rooms almost a year later on August 29, estimated at DKr600,000-800,000.

These early female nude studies are obviously of tremendous academic interest for historians of the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of Danish painting. However, the unlikelihood of the Danish government granting an export licence (the previous example was bought by the New Carlsberg Glyptoteket Museum, Copenhagen) tends to cool trade interest in such paintings, and though this particular example, measuring 143/4in by 91/2in (37.5 x 24.5cm), had been in the same private collection since 1885, the uncertainty of authorship might have also been deemed a negative factor. Most authorities seem to think it is by Rørbye.

These considerations, together with the fact that it was the second such painting to be offered, resulted in the painting being knocked down to a private collector for a lower estimate DKr600,000 (£52,630).

Exchange rate: £1 = DKr11.4