Auction Spotlight: The Julius Held Collection

The wonderfully eclectic collection of paintings, prints, and drawings of art historian Julius Held is on the block at Christie's New York this January. Held, a professor at Barnard, was a renowned expert on Flemish and Dutch Old Masters. However, what he chose to live with himself ran the gamut of period and country, and shows that not only did he have a most discerning eye, but a fabulous wit.

Intriguingly, when the German emigre was asked how he was able to write so eloquently in English, he replied, "Latin."

Here are my picks:


From Part I

Just lovely. (And a very subtle way to inject a little animal print into a room.)

Casimiro Tomba (Rome 1857-1929)
A reclining female nude seen from behind lying on a leopard skin
dedicated and signed 'all'amico Stefanori C Tomba'
black chalk, watercolor, gum arabic
9 x 14¼ in.
$2-$3,000


I am dying for this. Please please don't bid on it. The proportions of her head and neck are crazy - and I have a thing for turbans.

Edward Alcock (English active c. 1750-1780)
"Erminia weeping over the ashes of Tancred"
oil on copper
10½ x 7½ in.
$1,500-2,000

Part II

Don't actually adore this, but find the subject manner delightfully absurd.

"A dog fighting a monkey"
English School, 19th Century
oil on copper
7½ x 9¼ in.
$800 - $1200


A late Victorian giltwood oval pier mirror
49¾ x 33 in.
$600 - 800
Wonderfully morbid.

A design for a tomb
black chalk, pen and brown ink, brown wash
Attributed to Thomas Stothard (London 1755-1834)
5 7/8 x 9 3/8 in.
$800-$1200


Very graphic and so early.

German School, 16th Century
A wild boar with inscription 'Sanglien'
bodycolor watermark device
10¼ x 15 1/8 in.
$1500-$2000


Channeling my inner Mario Praz....

Walter Gay (Hingham 1856-1937 Le Bréau, Dammarie-les-Lys)
The interior of a bedroom
watercolor heightened with white on brown paper
10¾ x 14½ in.
$1,000-$1,500