Saloman van Ruysdael's Skaters on the Frozen Lake makes $1.4m

Saloman van Ruysdael's "Skaters on the Frozen River Lek, the Town of Vianen Beyond" led the first part of Christie's Old Masters sale in New York with a final bid of $1.4m.

The work is believed to have been painted around 1600-1603 and depicts ice skating, a common sight in the Netherlands during the winter. 

Skater Lak Ruysdael
The van Ruysdael family were famous painters

Ruysdael travelled extensively throughout Europe, but always returned to familiar subject matter. The present lot shows Vianen, a town dominated by Batestein Castle - which was built during the 14th century. 

He is the brother of Jacob van Ruysdael, whose work is generally considered superior. 

Jean Antoine Theodore Giroust's Mademoiselle D'Orleans Taking a Harp Lesson also made $1.4m at the January 28 auction. 

It shows the daughter of the Duc d'Orleans receiving a lesson from her governess, Madame de Genlis, and was probably painted around 1791 - two years into the French Revolution. 

De Genlis' abilities as a teacher led her to become a powerful court figure, causing jealousy among her peers. 

Her skill on the harp was derided by her arch rival Baronne d'Oberkirch: "An immensely ridiculous feature of this unfeminine woman is her harp. She carries it about everywhere, talks about it when she is without it, she with strum on a crust of bread and goes at it with a string."

The sale took place as part of New York's Old Masters Week.

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