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Lotto No. 4 -


School of Passau (?), circa 1500


The Annunciation with a donor, holding the model of a church; and
The Presentation in the Temple with an Abbess as a donor,
oil on panel, each 157.5 x 71 cm, framed, a pair (2)

Provenance:
possibly commissioned by an Augustinian patron or community;
possibly St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna;
possibly Albert von Camesina collection (1806–1881), Vienna;
purchased by Eduard Strache (1847–1912), Vienna between 1866 and 1870;
thence by descent to the collection of Emil Wittasek (1885-1971), Vienna;
thence by descent;
in 1975 acquired by the present owner;
on loan at the Wien Museum, Vienna (1975-2018)

We are grateful to Michaela Schedl for her help in cataloguing the present painting.

Michaela Schedl writes: ‘The following is based on the assumption that the painted panels and the reliefs (see the following lot) originally belonged together, as is suggested by their approximately identical dimensions, the use of Schongauer engravings for three of the four Marian scenes, and the fact that all of the four panels come from a single private collection. At first glance, however, the grain of the wood on the reverse of the painted panels does not correspond to that on the reverse of the reliefs. The panels show four scenes from the Life of the Virgin Mary. The outer wings show the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary on the left and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on the right, while the interior wings are carved reliefs of the Birth of Christ on the left and The Adoration of the Magi on the right. The predella and the shrine adorned with sculptures or reliefs are missing.

As far as the images allow, it can be said that these painted and carved panels are works of high quality from the Late Gothic period, dating from the late fifteenth century; based on our current state of knowledge, they can be attributed to an Austrian master. The retable was probably donated to a church of the Augustinian nuns.’

Schedl on the attribution and date of execution: ‘According to the current state of knowledge, the panels appear to have been unknown to art historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so that these works are not mentioned and discussed in scholarly literature. This means that the master has not been removed from the mass of anonymous painters through a provisional name […]. A clue, although not very reliable, as to the painter’s place of activity is supplied by Viennese provenance of the works. A panel painted in similar colours on gold ground and representing Mount Calvary once entered the collections of Klosterneuburg Monastery. It is assigned to a painter active in Salzburg and dated to the years around 1480 […]. Three characteristic iconographic features lead to other Austrian painters. In the Presentation discussed here and in the one shown in a panel dating from 1430 and attributed to the Master of the Offering and his collaborators, Saint Joseph carries a wicker basket with two bunches of white grapes (which are frequently held by a maid). In both depictions, Joseph has a grey beard and wears a red or reddish brown hood.

Another iconographic idiosyncrasy is the altar, above which the naked Christ Child, wrapped in a white cloth, is held by the aged Simeon. The altar consists of a rectangular brown marble top whose surround is held by iron brackets and which rests on green legs. In depictions of the Presentation, this altar is mostly shown as a block covered by a piece of cloth. A similar altar, featuring red legs and a grey marble top, can be seen in a panel of the same subject that is given to a master active in Salzburg and Upper Austria, but whose painting style and colour scheme distinctly differ from those of the present panel. Another similar motif are the Hebrew characters on the headdress of the Jewish priest near the right border of the present painting when compared to those in the cap of the prophet Joel in a panel in the Church of Our Lady in Wiener Neustadt, which is dated after 1490. The painter of the Joel panel, the Master of the Winkler Epitaph, was active in Vienna and Wiener Neustadt. His painting style is softer and more painterly than that of the artist of the present panels.’ According to Schedl, the present painter ‘handled the brush with great confidence, creating detailed and charming panels of high quality’.

We are also grateful to Lothar Schultes for his assistance in cataloguing the present and succeeding lots. He thinks it is possible that the present panels and the reliefs (lot 5) belonged to the same altarpiece and are of remarkable quality. The donors depicted and especially the habit of the abbess suggest an Augustinian monastery, so the place of origin is most probably a dual monastery. Due to its proximity to Vienna, the most likely place of origin would be Klosterneuburg, where a convent of Augustinian nuns also existed until 1722.

Schultes writes: ‘Both reliefs are based on engravings by Schongauer, which have been transferred into three-dimensionality practically without any changes. The Adoration of the Magi compares well to that of the winged altar of Maria Laach am Jauerling (Lower Austria), which was made in Passau. It appears hardly possible, however, that it was executed by the same carver, despite amazing similarities. When it comes to the painted scenes, the Annunciation similarly follows an engraving by Schongauer, whereas no Schongauer model seems to have existed for the Presentation. This painting is not based on any concrete existing example and thus proof that the painter perfectly knew how to conceive a composition autonomously. Iconographically remarkable is the fact that the character of the aged Simeon and the figure of the high priest are depicted simultaneously. This is extremely rare, normally only Simeon would be included in the scene. Certain relationships can be observed to the panels of a Marian altar that were brought from Wartberg an der Krems via Schlierbach Monastery to the parish church of Kirchdorf an der Krems, where they were combined to form a winged altar. There one can find Mary’s attendant with her head also shown in profile (at the very left) and other correspondences in terms of motif, while there are clear differences in terms of style.

The two-sided panel in the Diözesansammlung Passau (inv. no. D 381) showing a Virgin Annunciate on one side and an Adoration of the Magi on the other can also be compared to the present panels. What is similar here, is the precise and harsh modelling of the faces, for example, the head of the bearded old king in the Adoration compares to the faces of the male figures in the Presentation; also, Mary’s maiden face, surrounded by shimmering golden hair, resembles that of the Virgin in the Annunciation. In addition, the beautiful head of the angel with golden curls is reminiscent of the maiden-like figure of the Virgin in a Nativity panel in the Diözesansammlung Passau (inv. no. D 420). This suggests that the present altar wings were made in a workshop in Passau.’

Esperto: Dr. Alexander Strasoldo Dr. Alexander Strasoldo
+43-1-515 60-556

alexander.strasoldo@dorotheum.at

10.11.2020 - 16:00

Prezzo realizzato: **
EUR 127.145,-
Stima:
EUR 40.000,- a EUR 60.000,-

School of Passau (?), circa 1500


The Annunciation with a donor, holding the model of a church; and
The Presentation in the Temple with an Abbess as a donor,
oil on panel, each 157.5 x 71 cm, framed, a pair (2)

Provenance:
possibly commissioned by an Augustinian patron or community;
possibly St. Stephen’s Cathedral, Vienna;
possibly Albert von Camesina collection (1806–1881), Vienna;
purchased by Eduard Strache (1847–1912), Vienna between 1866 and 1870;
thence by descent to the collection of Emil Wittasek (1885-1971), Vienna;
thence by descent;
in 1975 acquired by the present owner;
on loan at the Wien Museum, Vienna (1975-2018)

We are grateful to Michaela Schedl for her help in cataloguing the present painting.

Michaela Schedl writes: ‘The following is based on the assumption that the painted panels and the reliefs (see the following lot) originally belonged together, as is suggested by their approximately identical dimensions, the use of Schongauer engravings for three of the four Marian scenes, and the fact that all of the four panels come from a single private collection. At first glance, however, the grain of the wood on the reverse of the painted panels does not correspond to that on the reverse of the reliefs. The panels show four scenes from the Life of the Virgin Mary. The outer wings show the Annunciation by the Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary on the left and the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple on the right, while the interior wings are carved reliefs of the Birth of Christ on the left and The Adoration of the Magi on the right. The predella and the shrine adorned with sculptures or reliefs are missing.

As far as the images allow, it can be said that these painted and carved panels are works of high quality from the Late Gothic period, dating from the late fifteenth century; based on our current state of knowledge, they can be attributed to an Austrian master. The retable was probably donated to a church of the Augustinian nuns.’

Schedl on the attribution and date of execution: ‘According to the current state of knowledge, the panels appear to have been unknown to art historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, so that these works are not mentioned and discussed in scholarly literature. This means that the master has not been removed from the mass of anonymous painters through a provisional name […]. A clue, although not very reliable, as to the painter’s place of activity is supplied by Viennese provenance of the works. A panel painted in similar colours on gold ground and representing Mount Calvary once entered the collections of Klosterneuburg Monastery. It is assigned to a painter active in Salzburg and dated to the years around 1480 […]. Three characteristic iconographic features lead to other Austrian painters. In the Presentation discussed here and in the one shown in a panel dating from 1430 and attributed to the Master of the Offering and his collaborators, Saint Joseph carries a wicker basket with two bunches of white grapes (which are frequently held by a maid). In both depictions, Joseph has a grey beard and wears a red or reddish brown hood.

Another iconographic idiosyncrasy is the altar, above which the naked Christ Child, wrapped in a white cloth, is held by the aged Simeon. The altar consists of a rectangular brown marble top whose surround is held by iron brackets and which rests on green legs. In depictions of the Presentation, this altar is mostly shown as a block covered by a piece of cloth. A similar altar, featuring red legs and a grey marble top, can be seen in a panel of the same subject that is given to a master active in Salzburg and Upper Austria, but whose painting style and colour scheme distinctly differ from those of the present panel. Another similar motif are the Hebrew characters on the headdress of the Jewish priest near the right border of the present painting when compared to those in the cap of the prophet Joel in a panel in the Church of Our Lady in Wiener Neustadt, which is dated after 1490. The painter of the Joel panel, the Master of the Winkler Epitaph, was active in Vienna and Wiener Neustadt. His painting style is softer and more painterly than that of the artist of the present panels.’ According to Schedl, the present painter ‘handled the brush with great confidence, creating detailed and charming panels of high quality’.

We are also grateful to Lothar Schultes for his assistance in cataloguing the present and succeeding lots. He thinks it is possible that the present panels and the reliefs (lot 5) belonged to the same altarpiece and are of remarkable quality. The donors depicted and especially the habit of the abbess suggest an Augustinian monastery, so the place of origin is most probably a dual monastery. Due to its proximity to Vienna, the most likely place of origin would be Klosterneuburg, where a convent of Augustinian nuns also existed until 1722.

Schultes writes: ‘Both reliefs are based on engravings by Schongauer, which have been transferred into three-dimensionality practically without any changes. The Adoration of the Magi compares well to that of the winged altar of Maria Laach am Jauerling (Lower Austria), which was made in Passau. It appears hardly possible, however, that it was executed by the same carver, despite amazing similarities. When it comes to the painted scenes, the Annunciation similarly follows an engraving by Schongauer, whereas no Schongauer model seems to have existed for the Presentation. This painting is not based on any concrete existing example and thus proof that the painter perfectly knew how to conceive a composition autonomously. Iconographically remarkable is the fact that the character of the aged Simeon and the figure of the high priest are depicted simultaneously. This is extremely rare, normally only Simeon would be included in the scene. Certain relationships can be observed to the panels of a Marian altar that were brought from Wartberg an der Krems via Schlierbach Monastery to the parish church of Kirchdorf an der Krems, where they were combined to form a winged altar. There one can find Mary’s attendant with her head also shown in profile (at the very left) and other correspondences in terms of motif, while there are clear differences in terms of style.

The two-sided panel in the Diözesansammlung Passau (inv. no. D 381) showing a Virgin Annunciate on one side and an Adoration of the Magi on the other can also be compared to the present panels. What is similar here, is the precise and harsh modelling of the faces, for example, the head of the bearded old king in the Adoration compares to the faces of the male figures in the Presentation; also, Mary’s maiden face, surrounded by shimmering golden hair, resembles that of the Virgin in the Annunciation. In addition, the beautiful head of the angel with golden curls is reminiscent of the maiden-like figure of the Virgin in a Nativity panel in the Diözesansammlung Passau (inv. no. D 420). This suggests that the present altar wings were made in a workshop in Passau.’

Esperto: Dr. Alexander Strasoldo Dr. Alexander Strasoldo
+43-1-515 60-556

alexander.strasoldo@dorotheum.at


Hotline dell'acquirente lun-ven: 09.00 - 18.00
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Asta: Dipinti antichi
Data: 10.11.2020 - 16:00
Luogo dell'asta: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Esposizione: 04.11. - 10.11.2020


** Prezzo d'acquisto comprensivo di tassa di vendita e IVA

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