The highlight on December 8 is La Fillette au Braisier (Girl Blowing on a Brazier), a 2ft 6in x 1ft 10in (76 x 55cm) canvas by Georges de la Tour (1593-1652).
The painting is a late work, dateable to c.1646, and remarkable in many ways. The artist’s oeuvre consists of only 48 paintings in all and this is one of the few remaining in private hands – and most probably the only ‘night painting’ still not in a museum collection.
It is also one of the few signed works by De la Tour. Since its discovery in Toulouse in 1940, it has been exhibited at major museums throughout Europe on a regular basis.
Bischoff, who died in 2005, bought the painting at Christie’s in London in 1975 for £17,850. Lempertz is hoping that La Fillette… will surpass the German record itself set for an Old Master in 2012, when a painting by Gerard Dou took €3.8m.
The estimate is €3m-4m.