Lucas Cranach the Elder’s (1472-1553) The Nymph of the Spring (estimate: £6,000,000-8,000,000) and Jan Jansz. den Uyl’s (1595-1639) Pewter jug and silver tazza on a table (estimate: £2,500,000-3,500,000) from The Collection of Cecil & Hilda Lewis, will be leading highlights in the Old Masters Evening Sale on 7 July, during Classic Week London.
Revered within collecting circles, Cecil and Hilda Lewis were true connoisseurs and generous philanthropists, who supported wide-ranging charitable and cultural endeavors, from the V&A and National Gallery to the Weizman Institute of Science.
The Cranach was on public view at Christie’s London headquarters from 24 February to 1 March, ahead of both paintings touring to New York and Hong Kong, prior to being in the pre-sale London exhibition from 1 to 7 July.
The undisputed masterpiece of Jan den Uyl – one of the most talented and highly original still-life painters of the Dutch Golden Age – Pewter jug and silver tazza on a table has always been lauded for its compositional daring and dazzling technical virtuosity.
Beautifully signed with the artist’s device of an owl (uyl being the Dutch word for owl), on the table cloth (illustrated right), the picture is coming to the market for the first time in over 30 years, having been acquired by Cecil and Hilda Lewis in 1988.
Three years earlier the picture was described as the ‘most beautifully perfect Dutch monochrome still-life in existence’ in Art+Auction (D. Gimelson, September 1985). This work has not been seen in public since 1999 when it was exhibited at The Rijksmuseum in Still-Life Paintings from the Netherlands 1550-1720.
Henry Pettifer, Head of the Old Masters Department, Christie’s London, commented: “These two superlative pictures are fitting testaments to the exceptional quality of the collection formed by Cecil and Hilda Lewis. Cranach’s Nymph of the Spring is a tour-de-force, firmly aligned in the great tradition of the female nude in art, from Giorgione and Durer to Titian, Goya, Manet, and Modigliani.
The Jan den Uyl is one of the very finest monochrome still-lifes from the Dutch Golden Age. In an age when real masterpieces in the Old Master category are in short supply on the market, we are delighted to give collectors the opportunity to acquire these two extraordinary paintings.’’
Orlando Rock, Christie’s Chairman UK: “It is a great honour for Christie’s to be entrusted with bringing these two masterpieces to the market. Celebrated for their joint passion for artistic brilliance and a deeply disciplined and informed approach, the remarkable collection formed by Cecil and Hilda Lewis was generously shared with scholars, curators, and connoisseurs alike – and their philanthropic generosity to cultural institutions and scientific research is a perfect reflection of their remarkable legacy and joie de vivre.”