Who painted the Met's 'English School'?

February 2 2015

Image of Who painted the Met's 'English School'?

Picture: Sotheby's

The Metropolitan Museum in New York sold the above, 19th Century 'English School' landscape at Sotheby's last week. It was estimated at $25k-$35k, but made $197,000. An optimistic bidder thinking it was by Gainsborough? I hope not, because it isn't. 

But it is by someone good, probably early to mid 19th Century. I give up entirely in about 1820, so I've no idea who painted it. But I'd wager it'll turn up somewhere in the trade soon, with the attribution nailed. In which case, do we have to ask, why did the Met sell it?

Update - a reader suggests 'Swiss School':

[...] a closer look at the trees and foliage may suggest to me a lost composition by Pierre-Louis de Larive-Godefroy (1735-1817). He was a key painter from the Geneva school in the last decades of the XVIII century and very much influenced by XVII century Dutch landscape. A painting by him of this size and quality would definitely command the price paid at the auction.

Update II - Another reader sends in the below photo of the painting at Sotheby's view, and writes:

The ex-Met landscape: the general feeling is that it’s Ramsay Richard Reinagle. [...]

A stupid sell-off by the Met. It used to hang in the British period rooms. 

It was a picture of remarkable quality - not a run-of-the mill landscape at all. And the Met’s British picture collection is not strong enough so they can afford to lose a picture like this.

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