Venetian Old Master painting of St Roch attributed to Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, $75,000 (£59,000) at Clarke Auction Gallery.

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The 18 x 13in oil on paper laid on canvas was the surprise top-selling lot at Clarke Auction Gallery (23% buyer’s premium) in Westchester County, New York, on January 14.

Tiepolo did paint many small-scale pictures of St Roch (or Rocco) for private devotion in his native Venice. A port city that often fell victim to disease, St Roch was venerated here as a protector against the plague with the Scuola di San Rocco, a Venetian confraternity, dedicated to the saint.

According to hagiography, the medieval French nobleman had miraculously healed plague victims while a pilgrim in Italy. After sacrificing his own health in the service of others, he is shown here lifting his robe to reveal a plague sore on his thigh. Beside him is the dog that would aid his recovery after a selfless retreat to the wilderness.

Some clues to the earlier provenance of this painting, which came for sale from a Ridgefield, Connecticut estate, may be provided by the old inscription verso reading Brauer Tiepolo. It may be a reference to Godefroy Brauer (1857-1923), the influential Paris dealer whose many wealthy American clients in the early 20th century included the financier John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913).

The successful purchaser of the lot tendered their bid online via LiveAuctioneers.

This was one of several ‘attributed to’ Old Master paintings that performed well in the Clarke sale.

Winter landscape


Dutch Golden Age winter landscape attributed to Pieter Wouwerman, $26,000 (£20,500) at Clarke Auction Gallery.

A small Dutch Golden Age winter landscape on panel carried an estimate of $800-1200 and it hammered for $26,000 (£20,500).

Measuring 9 x 12in (22 x 30.5cm), it depicts skaters and kolf players on a frozen lake and is signed lower right with the monogram of Pieter Wouwerman (1623-82).

Labels verso included one for a loan exhibition of Old Masters held at the Municipal Art Gallery, Leeds, in 1889-90. It came for sale from a collection in the Bronx in grimy condition with several surface scratches and traces of old restoration under the varnish.

From the same source was an Orthodox icon depicting the curious Old Testament story of Tobias and the Angel. It was catalogued as 19th century Russian but was possibly an earlier work from Greece or the Balkans. The Archangel Raphael is shown guiding the boy to the water where he will catch the fish that can drive out demons and heal his father’s blindness.

Measuring 8 x 9in (20.5 x 22cm) and housed in a period carved giltwood frame, it sold for $22,000 (£17,400) against an estimate of $600-900.

Chinese export cup


Late 19th century Chinese export silver trophy, $15,000 (£11,800) at Clarke Auction Gallery.

Among the most contested objects in the sale was a 13in (33cm) high, 32oz Chinese Export silver cup and cover. Typical of the pieces admired by Westerners resident in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Canton in the late 19th century, it has dragon form handles and base of leafy bamboo stalks and marine motifs of fish, shells, and crabs.

Stamped to the underside with Chinese characters signifying silver and an unidentified maker’s mark CC, it came for sale from a Larchmont, New York estate. Modestly guided at $1000-1500, it took $15,000 (£11,800).