This accomplished watercolor by Antwerp master Jacob Jordaens, a preliminary sketch for a major work, reaped a rich reward.
Jacob Jordaens (1593-1678), The Deposition, c. 1650, watercolor with gouache highlights, 35 x 26 cm/13.8 x 10.2 in.
The text accompanying the cover of Gazette no. 33 focused at length on the preparatory nature of this watercolor, a sketch for Jordaens’ magnificent painting of c.1650 now in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg. It is also important to remember its historical context: the separation of the Netherlands into North and South, with Calvinist Protestants in the North and militant Catholics in the South. At the height of the Counter-Reformation, the latter fervently defended the "true faith" and called on artists to do so as well—first and foremost Jordaens, the Flemish painter par excellence. The pure lyricism and generous, serene style of his art made this collaborator of Rubens—whom he much admired—a leading artist in prosperous Antwerp after the master’s death in 1639. In the early 1650s, the period of this Deposition, Jordaens painted numerous religious subjects for the convents and churches of his city. All this, as well as its fine condition, fluid touch and the assumption that this watercolor with gouache highlights belonged to the huge Crozat drawing collection (as a note by Jean Mariette strongly suggests), garnered the scene €110,500.
In the same afternoon, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris preempted a drawing in black pencil and wash with watercolor highlights of an Allegorical Figure of Fashion (30.5 x 20 cm/12 x 7.9 in) by Antoine-Esprit Gibelin (1739-1813) for €6,500. Meanwhile, the Musée Cognacq-Jay, also in Paris, spent €3,640 on L'Odalisque, after François Boucher, attributed to Jacques Charlier (1706-1790), a gouache on vellum.