The undoubted highlight of the Old Master Paintings sale this May is Jan Steen’s School class with a sleeping schoolmaster, one of his finest treatments of a schoolroom interior. It is his only representation of a schoolroom still remaining in private hands which is both signed and dated. It has a remarkable provenance, going as far back as 1764, which includes the distinguished Baring collection in the 19th Century. This exciting picture perfectly demonstrates Steen’s mastery at depicting the humorous side of everyday life, which remains as true to life and as successful in capturing our attention today as it was to his viewers in the 17th Century.
Another highlight in the sale is a grand and joyful Village Kermesse with numerous peasants feasting by Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot. This picture is one of his largest and most successful pictures.
The sale also features a strong selection of early Netherlandish, Flemish and German paintings, including a delightful Virgin and Child with an apple by the Master of the Female Half-Lengths, and a portrait of the Elector Frederick II ‘the Wise’ of Saxony (1463-1525) by Lucas Cranach the Elder. This portrait is one of a number of portraits Cranach painted of his most important early patron, and was possibly commissioned by John Frederick the Magnanimous (1503-1554) in 1532.
Other highlights include an amusing Interior of a Guardroom by Jacob Duck, and an attractive View of the Weesperplein with the Weesperpoort in Amsterdam, by Isaak Ouwater.