Items from the sale including a Dutch silver-gilt nautilus cup, early 17th century (estimate €50.000-80.000).and a polychrome terracotta bust of a boy in Renaissance costume, by a follower of Germain Pilon, 16th century (€60.000-80.000). © Sotheby's Images.
AMSTERDAM - On Monday 17 and Tuesday 18 December 2007 Sotheby’s will offer paintings and works of art from the private home of Robert and Angelique Noortman, the Chateau De Groote Mot near Borgloon in Belgium, situated just over the Dutch border near Maastricht.
For nearly two decades, Robert and Angelique Noortman enjoyed living at De Groote Mot that has one of the oldest vineyards of Belgium. Although Robert Noortman was known internationally as one of the greatest art dealers in the world, the house was always a home, a warm environment created by Robert and Angelique together over the years by carefully selecting paintings and decorative works which reflected their personal taste.
The interior of De Groote Mot is a delightful combination of elegance and informality and the many people who were invited there at the numerous receptions and dinners organized by the hospitable couple, cherish happy memories.
In 2005 Mr and Mrs Noortman decided to move to the city of Maastricht – where Noortman Master Paintings is based – and to sell De Groote Mot. Preparations for the auction started already then, but the untimely death of Robert Noortman earlier this year meant they had to be postponed. The sale in Amsterdam offers old master paintings and drawings, 19th century paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver and ceramics – including items which might well have come out of a Dutch still-life. Robert was also an avid collector of tribal art from Africa and Oceania, trompe l’oeil paintings and drawings, maps and Oriental works of art. The sale will comprise circa 500 lots and is estimated to bring over 3 million Euros.
Co-founder of The European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) in 1988, Robert Noortman was an expert in Flemish and Dutch old master paintings as well as French Impressionist pictures. Born in the Netherlands in 1946, he opened his first gallery when he was 22 years old, followed by galleries in London and New York in the 1970s. A generous patron of the arts, he advised many museums on their collections and donated works to museums such as the Mauritshuis in The Hague and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The National Gallery in London honoured him by naming a room of Dutch paintings after him, the Noortman Room of Dutch Cabinet Paintings. Decorated by the French government as Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, by the City of London as Honorary Liveryman of the City of London, and more recently awarded the Medal of Honour of the City of Maastricht, Robert Noortman was active in many fields beyond the art world such as the development of Africa by supporting the construction of hospitals, schools and wells.
Varying from Old Master Paintings to Tribal Arts the sale offers many highlights, such as a large oil on canvas by Frans Snyders and Studio Rubens of A garland of fruit with St John the Baptist with cherubs (estimate ˆ100.000-150.000). Two other large works, a Hilly landscape with figures on a road by Roelandt Roghman (ˆ100.000-150.000) and An eagle attacking songbirds by Melchior de Hondecoeter projected a powerful presence in the interior of De Groote Mot.
Amongst the collection of Trompe l’oeil paintings is a still-life of A grey-leg partridge suspended from a nail by Jan Baptist Weenix (1621-1663), estimated ˆ60.000-80.000. A drawing by Hans Bol of Abraham and the three angels in a panoramic landscape dates from 1589 (estimate ˆ30.000-40.000). Modern art is represented by a large watercolour by Fernando Botero of a Still-life with fruit (estimate ˆ65.000-90.000).
Highlighting the Silver is a Dutch silver-gilt nautilus cup, early 17th century, the nautilus mounted in basket shaped silver-gilt mount, the top with a nymph kneeling on a dolphin, the spout applied with sea masks, the shell raised on a standing warrior (estimate ˆ50.000-80.000).
The section of sculptures is equally strong, comprising a polychrome terracotta bust of a boy in Renaissance costume, by a follower of Germain Pilon, 16th century (ˆ60.000-80.000), a walnut sculpture of Madonna and Child, French, circa 1500 (ˆ30.000-40.000) and a wooden group of Christ and the twelve Disciples, attributed to Hans Hardee, 1480, Sterzing, South Tyrol; the apostles surrounding Christ holding orb, thus represented as Salvator Mundi (ˆ30.000-40.000). A lead figure, Study of Hercules, by a Northern follower of Giambologna, made in the Netherlands, late 16th century, is estimated ˆ30.000-40.000.
Very attractive are a wooden artist’s model of a horse and rider, late 19th century (ˆ20.000-30.000) and a fruitwood articulated artist’s model, Germany, probably 16th century, said to be by the master IP (ˆ15.000-20.000).
The collection of Tribal Art offers such pieces as a Bamana antelope headdress (tji wara) from Mali (ˆ15.000-20.000) and an Ambete pair of figures, Congo/Gabon (ˆ15.000-20.000).
Many of the paintings offered in this collection, particularly the trompe l’oeil works, will be fondly remembered by visitors to the Noortman family home where they have always been part of the interior. While some of these works are owned by the Noortman Gallery, they were very much a part of Robert and Angelique’s personal collection and were acquired specifically for the Chateau. They have been included in this sale as both the Noortman family and Sotheby’s felt they were very much part of the Noortman private collection. Sale: Monday 17 December at 7pm, Tuesday 18 December at 2pm and 7pm. Exhibition: 14, 15 and 16 December, daily 10am to 5pm, Sotheby’s Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 30.