Sotheby’s has unveiled a 17th-century painting by Flemish old master David Teniers the Younger, a work that has been out of the public eye since the late-19th century to be offered at auction this season. The work will be sold during the house’s London Old Masters sale on December 10. It is expected to fetch a price between £3-5 million ($3.9-6.6 million).
At 56 inches by 104 inches, completed around 1640 at the height of Teniers’s career, The Wine Harvest comes from the collection of the Viscounts Gage, an English noble family, and had been passed by descent since the late 18th century beginning with Peniston Lamb, the 1st Viscount Melbourne. The painting was last displayed publicly at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 1881 under the title, “The Worship of Bacchus.”
Teniers the Younger is widely recognized for his renderings of 17th-century Flemish working class and rural life. By the mid 17th-century he was appointed the court painter of Archduke Leopold William. According to Sotheby’s, scholar Margret Klinge believes the present work was commissioned as a family portrait for the wine-merchant depicted at the painting’s center.
True masterpieces by important painters come to the market all too rarely these days,” said Andrew Fletcher, Sotheby’s head of old masters in London in a statement of the work. “Teniers did not often paint on this scale but the result is a spectacular display of colour and activity.” It is one of the largest by Teniers to come to market, according to Sotheby’s in a statement and two others of similar scale reside in museums.
If the present work meets its high estimate at Sotheby’s, it will be among the highest selling works by the artist. The record price for the artist moved up to $6 million for the sale of Le déjeuner au jambon (1648), making nearly six times its pre-sale low estimate of £800,000, at Christie’s London in 2019. Similar to the work on offer, the tavern genre painting also depicted a self-portrait of the artist within the scene and had been held in a series of important European collections, the latest being the Rothschild collection. Prior to that, the artist’s record price was £2.7 million ($3.9 million), paid for a scene of the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm and the artist in the noble’s portrait gallery, also from the Rothschild collection, at Christie’s two decades earlier in July 1999.
The Arts Council England published a notice on the present owner’s intent to sell the painting on September 30, which is issued for objects of cultural significance to the U.K.