Garland of fruit with the infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist playing. The vast oil on canvas by Frans Snyders and Studio of Peter Paul Rubens sold for €144.250 (est. €100.000-150.000, lot 191). © Sotheby's Images.
AMSTERDAM - The auction of the Robert & Angelique Noortman Collection at Sotheby’s Amsterdam turned out to be a very successful sale. Over 600 paintings, works of art, silver, furniture and tribal art from Château De Groote Mot in Belgium found their way to new owners during a three sessions sale divided over two days. Many items were sold far above their estimates. The exact result was ˆ6.104.040, doubling the estimate.
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.
Buyers from all over the world had shown interest in the collector’s items, and the press had covered the event in page wide articles and tv items. A record amount of catalogues was ordered but a reprint was needed to meet the many requests.
The sale room was vibrant with expectation on when the first session took off with a set of globes by Gerard and Leonard Valk, Amsterdam , 1750. Fierce bidding was won by a Dutch collector who bought the pair for ˆ108.250 (estimate ˆ50.000-70.000). The proceeds of this first lot go to the Michelle Foundation, founded by Robert and Angelique and named after their daughter, to fight TSC (Tuberous Sclerosis Complex).
The highest prices of ˆ180.250 were paid for two works; an oil on panel Christ bestowing a wreath, attributed to Peter Paul Rubens (est. 60.000-80.000, lot 536) and a large watercolour Nature morte aux fruits by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero (est. ˆ65.000-90.000, lot 457).
Another piece de résistance was a painting Garland of fruit with the infants Christ and Saint John the Baptist playing. The vast oil on canvas by Frans Snyders and Studio of Peter Paul Rubens sold for ˆ144.250 (est. ˆ100.000-150.000, lot 191).
A painting by the Dutch Old Master Melchior d’Hondecoeter (Utrecht 1636-1695 Amsterdam) depicting an eagle and other birds in flight used to hang above the fireplace in the family living room. The canvas almost tripled its estimate when it was sold for ˆ138.250 to a Dutch buyer (lot 41).
The entrance hall of De Groote Mot was decorated with an abundance of Trompe l’Oeil paintings. One of the finest examples, attributed to Vincente Victoria (1650-1712) depicting fish and vegetables, doubled its estimate when was sold for ˆ132.250 (lot 138). A very charming still life of a grey-leg partridge by Jan Baptist Weenix (1621-1663) was estimated ˆ60.000-80.000 but fetched ˆ108.250 (lot167).
A set of four overdoor Trompe l’Oeils, Putti visualising the four seasons in shades of white by Jacob de Wit (1695-1754), changed owner for ˆ96.250, twice the estimate (lot 67).
A15th century Madonna and child, probably Utrecht , carved in three quarter relief depicts the Child pointing out a passage in the book resting on His Mother’s knee. Estimated ˆ30.000-50.000 this enchanting group went for ˆ114.250 (lot 576).
Another interesting piece, a 17th century silver gilt nautilus cup was sold for ˆ132.250. The shell, on a dragon shaped base and supported by a two headed Perseus was estimated ˆ50.000-80.000 (lot 78).
A German silver-gilt standing cup and cover by Hans Otto, Augsburg circa 1675, (est ˆ8.000-12.000) will travel internationally for a surprising ˆ120.250 (lot 84). ˆ102.250 was paid by an English buyer for a 16th century terra cotta bust of a young nobleman, possibly the Duke of Alençon (est. ˆ60.000-80.000, lot 75).
Also the collection of wooden artist’s models was very much in demand. Highlight in this section was lot 22, a 19th century model of a horse and rider, reputedly from the studio of John Singer Sargent, measuring 69 by 79 cm. Estimated at ˆ20.000-30.000 this exquisite work of art was bought by an American collector for ˆ90.250.