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311

Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Seascape with ships and a burning city

Property from a Private Collection

Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Seascape with ships and a burning city

Seascape with ships and a burning city

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Property from a Private Collection

Follower of Pieter Bruegel the Elder

Seascape with ships and a burning city


oil on panel

panel: 9½ by 13½ in.; 24.1 by 34.3 cm.

framed: 17 by 20½ in.; 43.2 by 51.3 cm.

The following condition report has been provided by Kirsten Younger of Kirsten Younger Paintings Restoration, 212-288-4370, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's.

The painting is in good condition overall. The panel is backed with a secondary panel support and the edges are covered with wood veneer. The panel is cradled and it is flat and is in stable condition. The original panel is made of two pieces of wood with horizontal grain direction. The join is just above the distant horizon and has tiny areas thinness and retouching along it. Just below the join there is a fine crack that extends in from the left through the rock to the shore with retouching along it and at the right a short fine crack with a small restored fill extends through the seated figures.

The landscape with many areas of fine detail is in good condition overall. The varnish fluoresces slightly in UV light in general with isolated thicker patches of varnish that fluoresce opaque. On the left some of this thick varnish lies over a group of restored fills. The largest of these extends in from the left side edge through the bottom of the large rock and the right side of it is visible as a light area. A smaller fill extends through this tall rock higher up just below the white highlights. Uneven patches of opaque varnish can also be seen extending over the large boats and surrounding water and the rocks near the red flag. Many details of the boats, masts and riggings appear to be in good condition. There is thinness in the sails of the large boat at the left and the one further off in the center with some retouching and there are retouched areas on the rocks at the left. In the lower right there are patches of opaque varnish in the corner, along the edge and and below the pointed top of the dark rocks where there are areas of thinness. There are various small gesso fills along the edges, near the light highlight in the orange area of the sky at the upper left and numerous small scattered retouches. There are many areas where the paint is transparent and some details such as the trees on top of the rock at the left and a few areas in the sky are thin. Many of the tiny figures, the landscape details and the boats in the distance are in good condition overall and the appearance of dramatic light in the scene is retained.


The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE

With Frederick Mont, New York, by 1953 (as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, according to a note in the photo archive of M.J. Friedländer);

Private collection, Switzerland, by 1956 (according to the Marburg Archive);

Heinrich Becker, Dortmund, by 1967;

Anonymous sale, Lucerne, Galerie Fischer, 25 May 1982, lot 291 (as Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby’s, 19 May 1994, lot 207 (as Jan Mattys);

With Newhouse Gallery, New York;

From whom acquired by the grandparents of the present owner, 1996.

F. Grossmann, Bruegel: The Complete Edition of Paintings, London 1955, p. 189, cat. no. 1, reproduced (as the earliest known painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

H. Arthur Klein, ed., The Graphic Worlds of Peter Bruegel the Elder, Mineola, New York 1963, pp. x, 30 (as the earliest preserved painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

C. de Tolnay, “Newly Discovered Miniatures by Pieter Bruegel the Elder,” in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 107, no. 744, March 1965, p. 110, note 3 (as the earliest known painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

F. Grossmann, Bruegel: The Complete Edition of Paintings, London 1966, revised edition, p. 189, cat. no. 1, reproduced plate 1 (as probably the earliest known painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

R. Fritz, Sammlung Becker I Gemälde alter Meister, Dortmund 1967, cat. no. 25, reproduced (as the earliest known painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, dated circa 1552-1553);

P. Bianconi, Bruegel, Milan 1967, p. 88, cat. no. 5, reproduced (as Pieter Bruegel the Elder);

P. Bianconi, Pieter Bruegel: The Complete Paintings, 1969, p. 87, cat. no. 4, reproduced p. 88;

J. Müller Hofstede, “Rubens in Rom 1601-1602. Die Altargemälde für Sta. Croce in Gerusalemme," in Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen, vol. 12, 1970, p. 90, note 95 (as Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and as a view of ships fleeing the burning of Sodom and Gomorra);

W. Gaunt, Marine Painting: An Historical Survey, Amsterdam 1975, p. 246 (as by Pieter Bruegel the Elder and attributed to the artist's early period);

T. Gerszi, “Bruegels Nachwirkung auf die niederländischen Landschaftsmaler um 1600,” in Oud Holland, vol. 90, no. 4, 1976, p. 215, note 33;

M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting: Pieter Bruegel, vol. XIV, Brussels 1976, p. 51, under note 32 (as published by Grossmann in 1955 in the first edition of his catalogue as an the earliest known painting Bruegel, although not appearing in the third edition of Grossmann's catalogue in 1973).

Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich, Unbekannte Schönheit: bedeutende Werke aus fünf Jahrhunderten, June – July 1956, no. 43 (as Pieter Bruegel the Elder).