15th- or 16th-Century Flemish School Portrait of a Soldier, $78,600

15th- or 16th-century Flemish School portrait of a soldier once thought to be Spanish General Gonzalo de Cordova, which hammered for $60,000 and sold for $78,600 at Doyle New York.

NEW YORK – Doyle’s sale of Old Master and 19th Century Paintings & Drawings on October 19 was topped by this 15th- or 16th-century Flemish School oil titled Portrait of a Soldier. As inscribed to the frame, the subject was once thought to be the Spanish general Gonzalo de Cordova (1453-1515) and the painting perhaps by Quentin Massys. But today, neither attribution is thought to be correct.

The picture does, nonetheless, come with a long ownership history that connects two British noblemen of the Georgian era. The provenance for this 15 by 11in panel painting includes a dedication plaque to ‘Field Marshal Jeffery Lord Amherst Who Conquered / Canada for the Crown of Gt. Britain’ from Lord Frederick Campbell ‘Who had the Happiness to enjoy his Friendship And to admire his Virtues For more than Fifty Years.’

Both men lived in manor houses in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. Sir Frederick Campbell (1729-1816), a Scottish-born politician, was owner of Combe Bank (or Coombe Bank), while Jeffery Amherst (1717-1797), the commander-in-chief of the British Army during the successful campaign to conquer New France during the Seven Years’ War, lived in Montreal House. The picture hung there until the property was demolished in 1936, after which it went to the Amherst family in London, where it remained until 1993.

Like any painting of this date, it had condition issues, including some paint loss and evidence under UV light of several episodes of restoration. It was estimated at $3,000-$5,000 but hammered for $60,000 and sold for $78,600.

Roman Marble Bust of Emperor Hadrian, $59,375

Roman marble bust of Emperor Hadrian, which hammered for $47,500 and sold for $59,375 at Wiederseim Associates.

PHOENIXVILLE, Penn. – A Roman marble bust hammered for $47,500 and sold for $59,375 against an estimate of $2,000-$3,000 at Wiederseim Associates on October 20. The subject of this 14in (35cm) sculpture was the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who reigned from 117 to 138 CE. He is best known for ordering the construction of a permanent barrier across the most northerly part of the Roman empire – the so-called Hadrian’s Wall that separated Britannia (England and Wales) from Caledonia (Scotland).

According to family history, the bust was acquired in Italy by Lucius Crowell (1911-1998), an artist who painted extensively in Europe. Together with other Italian antiques, the bust of Hadrian came to the U.S. prior to the outbreak of the Second World War.

Prunella Clough, ‘Fish Monger,’ $31,600

Prunella Clough, ‘Fish Monger,’ which hammered for CA$35,000 and sold for CA$43,750, or $31,600 with buyer’s premium at Lunds Auctioneers & Appraisers.

VICTORIA, Canada – It was in the early 1950s that the British artist Prunella Clough (1919-1999) found her subject matter after touring London’s industrial wastelands and factories. These paintings of men and women at work on production lines or on building sites are a distinct group that by the 1960s gradually disappeared as Clough’s canvases became more abstract.

This work, Fish Monger, showing a worker packing fish (probably at the famous Billingsgate Market in the City of London) is painted in muted grays with the shock of bright orange – a color scheme Clough said reflected the British climate. The 18 by 11in oil on canvas appeared for sale at Lunds Auctioneers and Appraisers on October 24 from a consignor whose family had owned it since 1953. Estimated at CA$10,000-CA$15,000, it hammered for CA$35,000 and sold for CA$43,750, or $31,600 with buyer’s premium.

Self-Portrait by German Painter Hermann Lismann, $64,900

LONDON – The most-contested lot in Bonhams‘ October 19 Expressionism: Germany, Austria and Beyond sale was a self-portrait by the German painter Hermann Lismann (1878-1943). Modestly estimated at £1,000-£1,500, it raced away to hammer for £42,000 and sell for £53,760, or $64,900 with buyer’s premium.

Although little-known today, Lismann is one of a number of so-called ‘forgotten’ German Expressionist artists whose work was once widely appreciated in his homeland. Selbstporträt, a 23 by 19in (58 by 48cm) oil on canvas laid down on board, was consigned for sale from a U.K. private collection. Signed and dated 1919, it was painted in the year when Lismann – whose formative years had been spent in Café du Dôme society in Paris – had returned from the trenches to teach art at the Kulturband Jewish art studio in Frankfurt.

At the time his brand of post-Impressionism was much admired and exhibited, although by the 1930s, it has been declared ‘degenerate’ by the Nazis and was stripped from public collections. Lismann himself fled to France but, interned by the French government as an ‘enemy alien,’ he was later sent to his death at the Majdanek camp in Poland.

A memorial exhibition of some 132 of Lismann’s pictures was held by the Frankfurt Kunstverein in 1959. However, it appears most of his output was destroyed, and his work only rarely appears on the market today. The £42,000 bid for this self-portrait appears to be an auction record. Hitherto, the sale of a Lismann landscape for £1,900 in Bonhams’ sale was more typical of his 21st-century commercial fortunes.