An unprecedented pair of still lifes by Hiepes in Segre

Tomás Hiepes, Bodegón con cesta de barquillos, turrones y roscos sobre mesa con mantel bordado, c. 1640-1650, detalle

At the May 20 event, the room offers two canvases with early period sweets, as well as a painting by Sorolla of his Roman stay


The Valencian still life artist Tomas Hiepes (1610-1674) was, without a doubt, “the great figure of Valencian painting of vases and still lifes” and one of the great Spanish names in the creation and evolution of still life models. Sánchez del Peral, in his file at the Prado Museum, logically mentions its archaic nature, preferring “a type of symmetrical, orderly presentation that he rarely alters. He builds the figures by applying successive layers of glazes and linearly delimiting the contours, and attaches great importance to achieving the qualities of the materials represented. The type of lighting he uses is tenebrist in nature, along with a chromatic range similar to that of Jerónimo Jacinto de Espinosa” (see).

This brief description of its characteristics fits perfectly with the pair of unpublished canvases that Segre is offering in its next tender, coming from the same private collection in Madrid: Still life with basket of wafers, nougats and donuts on table with embroidered tablecloth and Still life with a tray of cakes, candied fruit, confectionery and other objects on a table with an embroidered tablecloth, c. 1640-1650 (pair of O/L, 66 x 90 cm; lots 83 and 84). The first of them is inscribed on the back: “HIEPES=PINXIT/VALENCIA”. And due to its composition of studied symmetry, the room relates them to those that Juan van der Hamen had created at court shortly before, from which it takes some elements.

Beyond these data, it is worth highlighting the quality of both the lace on the border of the white tablecloth – called “Italian lace” or “Milan lace” – and the transparency of the glassware, as well as the fact that “gold fine to highlight some elements such as red búcaro and other sweets.” The cost of each one is 90,000 euros.

Just a few months ago, last January, Christie’s New York sold its Lace-trimmed hand cloth, a pan dulce and glassware on a stand, all arranged upon a tabletop draped with green damask (O/L, 56.3 x 92.2 cm; see), for 138,600 USD (127,753 euros). Ansorena has recently sold two vases through her: last December her Jar with flowers (O/L, 110 x 80 cm; see) for 100,000 euros (departure, 110,000 euros), and in March 2023 another similar one but 64 x 47 cm for the exit, 120,000 euros (see). Similar to the second, it is worth mentioning the release in December 2004 at Christie’s London of his Still Life of graded Fruits and Pasteries on a parcel gilt Plate (O/L, 65.8 x 89.2 cm), with an estimate of no less than 400,000 to 600,000 GBP, which returned to the market in February 2012 with an estimate of 300,000 to 500,000 GBP. It was another time…

Together with this unprecedented couple, Segre offers a broad canvas of the Madrid native Francisco Gutierrez, Taking and burning a city (O/L, 107 x 165 cm; 85), from the collection of the Dukes of Almazán and descended from the widow of Medinacelli. Published by Angulo and Pérez Sánchez in their renowned Madrid painting from the second third of the 17th century (1983, no. 15, plate 78, page 74), shows his typical crowd scene, with a prominent close-up. His departure, 80,000 euros.

Slightly earlier, the devotional couple with the Sorrowful Virgin and Jesus with the cross (O/T, 36.5 x 26.8 cm and 38.6 x 29.5 cm; 68), Luis de Morales for 50,000 euros. Extensively studied by Isabel Mateo, and recently cleaned to remove the layer of varnish, dirt and later additions, they appear again with new splendor and with a secure attribution (in January, Christie’s New York awarded a similar pair for USD 75,600; see ).

Of Pieter Neefs Iwith collaboration of Frans Francken the Younger For the figures, a table with a certain history signed by the first is offered for 18,000 euros. Acquired in 1829 by Charles Talbot, XV Earl of Shrewsbury in Rome from the collection of María Leticia Ramolino, mother of Napoleon Bonaparte through her son Lucien Bonaparte, and which was later sold at the auction organized by Christie’s in Alton Towers in the estate of Bertram Arthur Talbot, 17th Earl of Shrewsbury, on July 6, 1857. It is a Interior of Antwerp Cathedral (O/T, 48 x 71 cm; 67), although Neefs added, according to his custom, imaginary elements.

And to finish with the Old Masters, don’t forget another very attractive pair of International Gothic panels from the Master of Torralba. It is a Epiphany and one Flight to Egypt (tempera on panel with gold backgrounds, 67 x 61.5 cm and 68 x 61.8 cm; 82), offered for 30,000 euros. There are still great doubts about the Master’s personality; In 1938 Post awarded him “two altarpieces of San Félix and San Andrés preserved in the church of Torralba de Ribota (Zaragoza), a town near Calatayud. [Pero] A third altarpiece dedicated to San Martín, a work by the painter Benito Arnaldín, opened an interesting debate among researchers that has lasted to this day.” It can be compared with that of the Prado Museum, here.

On the way to the present, I find the Joust in the port of Toulon held on the occasion of the coronation of Louis XVI in June 1775 (O/L, 91 x 138 cm; 92), from the well-known Jacques Auguste Volaire. Due to the author, the size and the august theme, it would not be strange if they rose above the 25,000 euros requested.

And we arrive at the canvas that Joaquin Sorolla paints in Rome in 1887. It is about Duel in an inn (O/L, 38.5 x 54.5 cm; 155), signed, and from the collection of José Entrecanales Ibarra. This time, the proposed lighting study is transferred to a genre scene, with some action, between two characters next to the table and a third who has just joined up and draws his sword. Published by Blanca Pons Sorolla in her Joaquin Sorolla. Life and work (Fundación de Apoyo a la Historia del Arte Hispánico, Madrid, 2001, p. 96, fig. 26), 100,000 euros are requested. In 1907, Elisa Carbó i Ferrer, the mother of Ramon Casas, bought the monastery of Sant Benet de Bages, near Manresa, in a ruined state, after the Benedictine monks had to abandon it due to the Confiscation of Mendizábal. And he commissioned its rehabilitation to the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch. When he died in 1912, the property passed to the painter who lived there for long periods and painted, among others, this Cloister of Sant Benet de Bages (O/L, 76.5 x 66 cm; 154A), from around 1920, and which is offered for 70,000 euros.

From the second half of the 20th century, see and enjoy a magnificent mesh of Manolo Rivera, Metamorphosis. Footprint in the mirror No. 3, 1963 (oil on panel, wire and wire mesh, 100 65,000 euros. And, to a lesser extent, impossible figure1973 (synthetic paint/T, 166 x 116 x 6 cm; 393), from José María Yturraldepurchased directly from the artist by the current owner, for 17,000 euros, which should go up.

I end up with two cakes. From 1969, a magnificent Portrait of woman (153 x 123 cm; 529), from Claudio Bravo, for 17,000 euros. And from 1970, Seville (30.5 x 45 cm; 464), from Carmen Laffon, for 8,500 euros. And don’t miss the first engraving – and cover of Sabatier’s catalog raisonné – by Francis Baconbased on etching and aquatint: Portrait of Peter Beard, 1976 (43/100, 26.4 x 22.4 cm; paper: 38 x 28 cm; 597). Made from the central panel of The triptych Three studies for a portrait of Peter Beardfrom 1975, is offered for 7,000 euros, which will go up, no matter what. Daniel Diaz @Invertinart

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