Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London), Portrait of Hendrick Liberti (c. 1600-1669), half-length, in black, with three gold chains, holding a sheet of music, by a column, oil on canvas, 45 x 34¾ in. (114.3 x 88.3 cm.). Estimate £2,500,000 – £3,500,000 ($3,920,000 – $5,488,000). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014.
LONDON.- Christie’s Old Master & British Paintings Evening Sale in London on Tuesday 2 December 2014 is led by a remarkable portrait by Sir Anthony van Dyck of the musician Hendrick Liberti, which was in the collection of King Charles I at Whitehall by 1639 and has been unseen for almost a century, since its sale at Christie’s by the 8th Duke of Grafton in 1923 (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million, illustrated above). The auction presents a carefully curated selection of 36 high quality works that are fresh to the market and attractively priced. Other highlights include a beautifully preserved and little known masterpiece of Willem van de Velde the Younger’s early maturity, A kaag and other vessels off an inlet on the Dutch coast, 1661 (estimate: £1.2-1.8 million); a shimmering depiction of Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi on the Grand Canal by Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (estimate: £800,000-1.2 million); two superb and rarely treated subjects by Pieter Brueghel the Younger: A country brawl, 1610 and The Good Shepherd (estimate: £700,000-1 million and £800,000-1.2 million respectively); a classic and previously unpublished view of The Molo, Venice by Michele Giovanni Marieschi (estimate: £500,000-800,000); and an important selection of early Flemish works including a Portrait of a young nobleman by Joos van Cleve (estimate: £400,000-600,000) and a Holy Family by Jan Provoost (estimate: £250,000-350,000). This season also includes property from Petworth House with pictures in the Evening and also the Day sales, on 3 December.
Portrait of Hendrick Liberti (circa 1600-1669), half-length, in black with three gold chains, holding a sheet of music, by a column by Sir Anthony van Dyck was owned by the artist’s greatest single patron, King Charles I, who formed what was, until its dispersal in 1650, one of the most outstanding collections of pictures in northern Europe (estimate: £2.5-3.5 million). One of the most arresting portraits of van Dyck’s second Antwerp period, this portrait was at Whitehall by 1639, and was subsequently acquired by the statesman, Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, remaining in the possession of his descendants, the Dukes of Grafton, until its sale at Christie’s in 1923. Included in major exhibitions in 1899 and 1900, and detailed in leading 20th century literature on the artist by Lionel Cust and Gustav Glück among others, this painting has not been seen, even by scholars in the field, for almost a century.
Liberti, the sitter, was a chorister who became a singer in the cathedral choir at Antwerp, in 1617; a composer and highly successful organist, he was appointed organist to the cathedral in March 1628, retaining the position for over 40 years until 1669. He also worked for the court at Brussels. Van Dyck was eighteen when Liberti moved to Antwerp, and had already established a position as the most gifted of the younger artists trained under Rubens. As the artistic and musical worlds were closely linked, it is very possible that the two had met before 3 October 1621, when van Dyck left for Italy. From the outset of van Dyck’s career it must have been clear to his contemporaries that he was a portraitist of remarkable perception and acuity; but it was in Italy, where he worked in Rome, in Palermo and, above all, in Genoa, that van Dyck came of age as a portraitist, paying particular attention to the work of Titian. When van Dyck returned to Antwerp in the summer of 1627, aged 28, he could claim a European reputation. Lanier was in Antwerp in the summer of 1628, and the portrait of the musician now in Vienna is dated to the same year by authorities including Millar, Vey, Vlieghe and Wheelock. A similar dating seems very plausible for the present portrait in which van Dyck, as so often, echoes Titian, not least in the shimmering brilliance of the silk costume, which is handled with a consistent delicacy.
Sir Anthony van Dyck (Antwerp 1599-1641 London), Portrait of Hendrick Liberti (c. 1600-1669), half-length, in black, with three gold chains, holding a sheet of music, by a column, oil on canvas, 45 x 34¾ in. (114.3 x 88.3 cm.). Estimate £2,500,000 – £3,500,000 ($3,920,000 – $5,488,000). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014.
Provenance: King Charles I, Whitehall Palace, Bear Gallery, by 1639: ‘Done by Sr Antho Vandike at Antwarpe./ An other Picture of one of the Cheife Musitians in Antwarp without a beard with a goulden Cheyne aboute him half a figure, upon a Streyning frame’ (cited in Millar, op. cit., 1960).
Commonwealth sale of the King’s Goods, inventory of ‘Several Pictures’ at St. James’s Palace, 16 February 1650, no. 196, as ‘ye singing man’, valued at £20, and sold on 22 March 1650, to ‘Johannes Baptista Gaspars’, i.e. the painter Jan Baptiste Gaspars, for £23 (cited in Millar, op. cit., 1972).
Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington (1618-1685), in whose London house seen by John Evelyn on 16 November 1676 and referred to as ‘an eunuch singing’ (cited in Beer, op. cit.), and by descent through his daughter,
Lady Isabella Bennet (1618-1723), wife of Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton (1663-1690), at Euston Hall, Suffolk, and Hampden House, to Alfred William Maitland FitzRoy, 8th Duke of Grafton (1850-1930); Christie’s, London, 13 July 1923, lot 144, when acquired by the grandfather of the present owner.
PROPERTY OF A LADY OF TITLE
Literature: J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, And French Painters…, III, London, 1831, p. 18, under no. 49 (the Munich picture), referring to this portrait, then in the Grafton collection, as ‘of the highest excellence’.
L. Cust, Anthony van Dyck: An historical Study of his Life and Work, London, 1900, pp. 80 and 256, no. 66A.
L. Cust, Van Dyck, New York and London, 1903, I, pl. xv.
E. Schaeffer, Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde, Stuttgart and Leipzig, 1909, p. 507, under S. 257 (the Munich picture).
G. Glück, Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde, Stuttgart, New York and London, 1931, p. 554, under S. 330 (the Munich picture), but as ‘das beste Exemplar’ of the type.
G. Glück, ‘Some Portraits of Musicians by Van Dyck’, The Burlington Magazine, LXIX, October 1936, p. 148.
E.S. de Beer (ed.), The Diary of John Evelyn, Oxford, IV, 1955, p. 102, note 6.
O. Millar (ed.), ‘Abraham van der Doort’s Catalogue of the Collections of Charles I’, The Walpole Society, XVII, 1960, pp. 7 and 241.
H. Vey, Die Zeichnungen Anton Van Dycks, Brussels, 1962, II, p. 254, under no. 184 (the Stockholm drawing, which is a copy of the lost preparatory study).
O. Millar, The Tudor, Stuart and Early Georgian Pictures in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen, London, 1963, p. 92.
O. Millar (ed.), ‘The Inventories and Valuations of the King’s Goods 1649-51’, The Walpole Society, XLIII, 1972, p. 268, no. 196.
E. Larsen, L’ opera completa di Van Dyck, II, Milan, 1980, p. 87, under no. 519 (the Munich picture), recording Glück’s verdict on this portrait.
E. Larsen, The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck, Freren, 1988, I, pp. 285 and 397, note 458; II, pp. 221, under no. 548, and p. 351.
C. Denk, in K. Renger with C. Denk, Flämische Malerei des Barock in den Alten Pinakothek, Munich, 2002, p. 156, under no. 375.
H. Vey, in S.J. Barnes et al., Van Dyck, A complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven and London, 2004, p. 238, no. III.100, as van Dyck’s prototype, but illustrating the Munich picture, as the ‘best repetition’.
Exhibited: London, British Institution, 1843, no. 112.
London, Grosvenor Gallery, Van Dyck Exhibition, 1886-7, no. 28.
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Exposition Van Dyck á l’occasion du 300e anniversaire de la naissance du ma”tre, 1899, no. 63.
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by Van Dyck, 1900, no. 92.
Engraved: Pieter de Jode, in reverse (New Hollstein, III, 144).
Notes: This remarkable picture of the musician Hendrick Liberti, one of the most arresting portraits of van Dyck’s second Antwerp period, was by 1639 in the collection of King Charles I at Whitehall. Subsequently acquired by the statesman Henry Bennet, 1st Earl of Arlington, it remained in the possession of his descendants, the Dukes of Grafton, until its sale at Christie’s in 1923: although the picture was known to Lionel Cust and Gustav Glück, and included in major exhibitions in 1899 and 1900, it has not been seen, even by scholars in the field, since the 1923 auction.
Hendrick (or Henricus) Liberti (c. 1600- 1669), was as van der Doort fairly stated: ‘one of the Chiefe Musitians in Antwerp’ (Millar, op. cit., 1960). The son of Libertus von Groeningham, who thus must have come from Groningen in northern Holland, he was a chorister from s’-Hertogenbosch, who in 1617 became a singer in the cathedral choir at Antwerp. He was a composer and a highly successful organist, appointed organist to the cathedral on 17 March 1628 and retaining that post until 1669. He also worked for the court at Brussels. His first publication, Cantiones sacrae…, was apparently issued at Antwerp in 1621. This was to be followed by other works, many of which are now lost, as is the case with his Paduanes et Galiardes, which appeared at Antwerp in 1632, and the Fasciculus Missarum of 1646. Of his extant compositions, the best known are the fourteen Cantiones natalite issued between 1648 and 1657, which are ‘homophic carols on Dutch texts in a strophic binary form’ (R.A. Rasch, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, London, 2001, 14, p. 636). As Vey noted (op. cit., 2004), on the basis of de Jode’s print (fig 2), rather than the Munich version of this portrait, see infra, the sheet of music Liberti holds— surely a manuscript—is of a four-part canon: ‘Ars longa ars ars longa vita brevis’ (Art endures, life is short). Vey suggests that the gold chains worn in the portrait were awarded to Liberti at Brussels, where no doubt his galiards were performed. He also suggests that the portrait was commissioned by Liberti himself ‘to mark his appointment at the cathedral’. Had he done so, however, it would seem rather odd that within a decade this portrait would have been owned by King Charles I and placed next to the portrait, of almost identical size, of another prominent musician, Nicholas Lanier, now in Vienna (fig. 1; Vey, op. cit., 2004, no. III.92), ‘Master of His Majesty’s Music’, who was one of the agents employed in the formation of the king’s celebrated collection. It is thus perhaps possible that Lanier was in some way concerned with the commission, but it should be remembered that van Dyck himself had musical interests, which are expressed in a number of pictures of the Italian period and in an exceptional portrait of the London period, that of François Langlois (1589-1647), known as ‘Chiartres’ after his native city of Chartres (prime version, London, National Gallery, and Birmingham, Barber Institute) (see, for example, Glück, op. cit., 1936). The very large number of early copies of the portrait no doubt attests as much to the contemporary celebrity of the sitter as to the originality of van Dyck’s characterisation of him.
Van Dyck was perhaps Liberti’s senior by only a year, and so was aged eighteen when Liberti moved to Antwerp, but he had already established a position as the most gifted of the younger artists trained under Rubens. As the artistic and musical worlds were closely linked, it is very possible that the two had met before 3 October 1621, when van Dyck left for Italy. From the outset of his career it must have been clear to van Dyck’s contemporaries that he was a portraitist of remarkable perception and acuity; but it was in Italy, where he worked in Rome, in Palermo and, above all, in Genoa, that van Dyck came of age as a portraitist. Although, as was the case with Rubens, who also owed so much to his experience of Italy, portraiture was only one facet of his production. He had made a serious study of what he had seen in Italy, and paid particular attention to the work of Titian. When van Dyck returned to Antwerp in the summer of 1627, now aged 28, he could claim a European reputation.
Van der Doort stated that the picture was ‘done’ in Antwerp, and this is clearly the case. Lanier was in Antwerp in the summer of 1628, and the Vienna portrait is dated to that year by Millar, Vey, Vlieghe and Wheelock (Vey, op. cit., 2004, p. 321). A similar dating seems very plausible for the portrait of Liberti, in which van Dyck, as so often, echoes Titian, not least in the shimmering brilliance of the silk costume, which is handled with a consistent delicacy. Vey considered the pose of this portrait ‘another pointer to a date soon after van Dyck’s return from Italy’ in 1627 (ibid., p. 328). This is surely correct.
Version and Copies
Version and Copies Due to the inaccessibility of this portrait, the type has for nearly a century been best known from the version in Munich (fig. 3), which Vey regarded as the ‘best repetition’ and is considered to be partly autograph by Denk (op. cit.): this was sold by Alexander Voet in Antwerp in 1687 to the prominent merchant who was the outstanding collector in the city, Gisbert van Colen, whose collection was sold en bloc in 1698 to Maximilian II Emanuel, Elector of Bavaria. Relatively recently restored, this is evidently a substantially autograph replica; and as it is first recorded in Antwerp may well have been painted for the sitter. It would appear to be of automatic quality. Denk lists numerous copies: Madrid, Prado; Potsdam, Neues Palais; Aix, Musée de Ville; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum; Knole, Sackville collection; five others that have passed through the saleroom; and a grisaille which was with F. Enneling in Amsterdam in 1957 (ibid., p. 157, note 9).
This portrait was owned by van Dyck’s greatest single patron, King Charles I, who formed what was until its dispersal in 1650 the outstanding collection of pictures in northern Europe. The first documentary reference to the picture is in Abraham van der Doort’s inventory of the king’s collection prepared in 1639. It was then in the Bear Gallery at Whitehall with thirty-four other pictures, which reflected the range of Charles I’s taste, including a Titian portrait of the Emperor Charles V and two celebrated masterpieces by van Dyck’s master, Rubens, Daniel in the Lions’ Den(Washington, National Gallery of Art) and War and Peace (London, National Gallery), as well as four other works by van Dyck, among which were the portrait of Henrietta of Lorraine (Kenwood, Iveagh Bequest), and the celebrated portrait of Nicolas Lanier, mentioned above. This portrait of Liberti follows that of Lanier in the inventory, and in view of the similarity of size of the two it might be suggested that these were hung as pendants. However, the Lanier portrait is listed as in a gilt frame, while this picture was in a ‘streyning’ frame. This might mean that it was a recent acquisition that was to be paired with the Vienna picture. The latter was certainly still at Whitehall in 1650, but that of Liberti was recorded among ‘Several Pictures’ at St. James’s Palace. Lanier himself bought his own portrait at the Commonwealth sale of the King’s Goods, while that of Liberti was purchased for £23, marginally more than the £20 at which it had been valued, by the Antwerp-born painter and agent, Jan Baptiste Gaspars (1620-1692), who had settled in London and was to remain there, working both for Lely and other painters, as well as independently, until his death.
If the picture remained in London, it was not among those recovered for the Crown at the Restoration in 1660. As strenuous efforts were made to reclaim works bought by such purchasers as Lord Lisle, it is intriguing that the portrait of Liberti was acquired by a close associate of King Charles II and one who would have been unlikely to hang such a picture without at least the king’s tacit approval. Henry Bennet (1618-1685), who was educated at Westminster and Christ Church, was a man of considerable intellect. In 1643 he served at the court of King Charles I in Oxford under George, Lord Digby, later 1st Earl of Bristol, who had commissioned van Dyck’s celebrated double portrait of himself with William, Lord Russell, now at Althorp. He later served as a volunteer in the royal forces, before travelling in France and Italy. In 1654 Bennet became secretary to James, Duke of York, younger brother of the exiled King Charles II. In 1658 he was sent as the latter’s emissary to Madrid, and he was still en post there at the time of the Restoration in 1660. On Bennet’s return to London he was appointed Master of the Privy Purse, and in October 1662 he was nominated as Secretary of State. He was one of the five ministers in the so-called Cabal Ministry. An excellent linguist, he was considered by John Evelyn to be the ‘best bred & Courtly person his Majestie has about him’ (de Beer, op. cit., IV, p. 118, 10 September 1677). Rather remarkably he married a cadet member of the House of Orange, Isabella von Beverweerd, daughter of Louis of Nassau, Lord of De Lek and Beverweerd (1602-1665), a natural son of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange, and kinsman therefore of the catholic John VIII, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1583-1638), who commissioned the spectacular family portrait from van Dyck now at Firle (Vey, op. cit., 2004, no. III.111). In 1672, the year in which Bennet was created Earl of Arlington, his daughter, Isabella married Charles II’s second natural son by Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton: because of her youth at the time the two were remarried in 1679.
Arlington resigned the secretaryship in 1674, and was appointed Lord Chamberlain. Increasingly he concentrated his very considerable energies on Euston, the estate he had acquired in Suffolk. His new house there, in a chaste classical style, has been attributed to William Samwell, who worked for the king nearby at Newmarket and is known to have been in touch with him. More remarkable than his Euston Hall, however, was the park, where Arlington planted on an ambitious, indeed extravagant, scale, seeking advice from Evelyn, the acknowledged expert on trees of the age. Evelyn spent three weeks at Euston in the late summer of 1677 and described his host’s work on the house, the park and garden buildings, as well as the church in considerable detail. He noted that there were ‘many excellent Pictures…of the greate Masters’ in the house (de Beer, op. cit., IV, p. 116). Arlington kept other pictures in London. When he dined at Arlington’s offcial lodgings at Whitehall on 16 November 1676, Evelyn commented on a number of these: Sebastiano del Piombo’s Cardinal Ferry Carondelet with his Secretary (Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza), then attributed to Raphael; a ‘womans head’ given to Leonardo; a Holy Family with Saints thought to be by Palma Vecchio (Christie’s, 13 July 1923, lot 146); and two ‘Van-Dykes’, ‘his owne picture at length when young, in a leaning posture’ (a version exhibited in 1886- 7 of the Portrait of the Artist at St. Petersburg; Barnes, op. cit., no. II.26); and this portrait of Liberti. Evelyn was clearly impressed by these and finished his account with the appreciative words: ‘but rare pieces indeede’ (de Beer, op. cit.).
On Arlington’s death in 1685, his estates and possessions passed to his daughter, Isabella, Duchess of Grafton, and Countess of Arlington in her own right. Her husband died in 1690, but she lived until February 1723. She evidently transferred the pictures her father had kept in London to Euston, where many of these remained until the 1923 sale.
WILLEM VAN DE VELDE II
Considered to be one of the most serenely poetic ‘calms’ in the oeuvre of van de Velde the Younger, A kaag and other vessels off an inlet on the Dutch coast, 1661, is a beautifully preserved masterpiece of the artist’s early maturity (estimate: £1.2-1.8 million). The painting is little known having remained in the same collection for over sixty years and having not been seen in public since it was exhibited in 1954. It was last offered for sale at auction over a century ago in 1890, at Christie’s. It belongs with a small group of paintings on this theme from the early 1660s in which, as the critic George Keyes attested: ‘Van de Velde brings his concept of the calm to perfection’. It is closely comparable with the celebrated picture in the National Gallery, London, also dated 1661. Van de Velde began to paint calms in the early 1650s, inspired by both Simon de Vlieger (1600/01-1653), under whom the artist is thought to have trained in around 1648, and Jan van de Capelle (1626-1679), who was also active in de Vlieger’s studio in Weesp at that time. As van de Velde developed the theme, his depiction of light became increasingly subtle, revealing greater contrast between light and shadow, more intense hues, and an unsurpassed skill at rendering skies and reflection on water. The present painting displays many of the qualities for which the artist is most celebrated, notably in its finely-crafted and harmonious composition, its exquisitely-drawn ships, and in its serene atmosphere.
Willem van de Velde II (Leiden 1633-1707 London), A kaag and other vessels off an inlet on the Dutch coast, signed with monogram and dated ‘WvV 1661’ (lower centre, on the spar), oil on canvas, 15 x 19½ in. (38.3 x 49.7 cm.). Estimate £1,200,000 – £1,800,000 ($1,881,600 – $2,822,400). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
Provenance: Jean de Jullienne (1686-1766), Paris; his sale (†), Pierre Remy, Paris, 30 March 1767, lot 158 (1,059 francs to Boileau, possibly on behalf of the following).
Etienne François de Choiseul-Stainville, duc de Choiseul (1719-1785), château de Chanteloup, Touraine, France; his sale, J.F. Boileau, Paris, 6-11 April 1772, lot 87, ‘du meilleur temps de ce Maître’ (1,700 francs to ‘Donjeux’, ‘Denjeu’, or ‘de Borsel’).
François Tronchin (1704-1798); his sale, Dufresne and Le Brun, Paris, 12 January 1780, lot 59 (1,000 francs).
Henry Howard, 18th Earl of Suffolk and 11th Earl of Berkshire (1833-1898), Charlton Park, Wiltshire, by 1850; Christie’s, London, 9 June 1877, lot 181, ‘One of the most perfect works of the Master in the finest preservation’.
M.C.D. Borden, New York; American Art Association, New York, 13-14 February 1913, no. 57 (Scott and Fowles).
with D.A. Hoogendijk & Co., Amsterdam, by 1938, from whom acquired by the family of the present owner, before 1939.
Literature: J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, And French Painters…, VI, London, 1835, p. 321, no. 5, ‘[a] beautiful picture’.
G.F. Waagen, Treasures of Art, III, London, 1854, p. 170, ‘…of singular delicacy and transparency.’
The Works of Eminent Masters, in Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, and Decorative Art, London, 1854, I, p. 54 (woodblock print by Dequavillier p. 52).
Illustrated London News, 6 December 1856, p. 574.
G. Scharf, Artistic and Descriptive Notes on the British Institution exhibition of the Old Masters, London, 1858, p. 74.
A. Gabeau, ‘La galerie de tableaux du duc de Choiseul’, Réunion des sociétés des Beaux-Arts des départements à la Sorbonne, Paris, 1904, p. 244, no. 31.
F.C. Willis, Die Niederländische Marinemalerie, Leipzig, 1911, p. 84, pl. 23.
C. Hofstede de Groot, Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the Most Eminent Dutch painters of the Seventeenth Century, VII, London, 1918, p. 86, no. 312.
M.S. Robinson, The Paintings of the Willem van de Veldes, London, 1990, I pp. 414-5, no. 375.
Exhibited: London, British Institution, 1851, no. 30; 1858, no. 73.
London, Royal Academy, 1878, no. 105 (lent by the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire).
New York, Metropolitan Museum, Hudson-Fulton Celebration Exhibition, 1909, no. 134.
Rotterdam, Boymans Museum, Tentoonstelling van schilderijen uit particuliere verzamelingen in Nederland, 1939-40, no. 55.
Delft, Museum Prinsenhof, Kersttentoonstelling, 1952-3, no. 75.
Milan, Palazzo Reale, Pittura olandese del Seicento, 1954, no. 169.
Notes: A masterpiece of Willem van de Velde the Younger’s early maturity, this beautifully preserved painting of 1661 can be counted as one of the most serenely poetic calms in the artist’s oeuvre. The painting is little known, having remained in the same collection for over sixty years, and has not been seen in public since it was exhibited in 1954.
This work belongs with a small group of paintings on this theme from the early 1660s in which, as George Keyes attested: ‘Van de Velde brings his concept of the calm to perfection’ (Mirror of Empire, exhibition catalogue, Cambridge, 1990, p. 162). It is very closely comparable with the celebrated picture in the National Gallery, London, also dated 1661, which is widely recognised as the outstanding example from this group (fig. 1). Van de Velde began to paint calms in the early 1650s, inspired no doubt both by Simon de Vlieger (1600/01-1653), under whom the artist is thought to have trained in circa 1648, and Jan van de Capelle (1626-1679), who was also active in de Vlieger’s studio in Weesp at that time. As van de Velde developed the theme, his depiction of light became increasingly subtle, revealing greater contrast between light and shadow, more intense hues, and an unsurpassed skill at rendering skies and refection on water.
The great nineteenth-century connoisseur Gustav Waagen described this picture as a work: ‘of singular delicacy and transparency’ (op. cit.). Indeed, it displays many of the qualities for which van de Velde is most celebrated, notably in its finely crafted and harmonious composition, its exquisitely drawn ships, and in its serene atmosphere. Typically, a large portion of the canvas is given over to the sky, showing van de Velde’s mastery of the depiction of cloud formations. The combination of clouds, the reflections in the water and the recession of boats into the distance, together create an overriding sense of space and harmony. These effects are enhanced by van de Velde’s use of paint, rich in medium, which he applied thickly and smoothly onto a well-prepared canvas.
It has been suggested that van de Velde based his view on an actual location in Den Helder, the northernmost tip of the north Holland peninsula, by a break in the seawall. It may have been that van de Velde was particularly struck by the beauty of the coastline at Den Helder, where he made plein air drawings for later use in his paintings. A few other works were painted from the same spot, most notably the aforementioned picture in the National Gallery, London, and a picture in the Staatliche Gemäldegalerie, Kassel, which, perhaps painted slightly earlier, displays a similar arrangement of vessels.
Note on the Provenance
This picture has a particularly distinguished eighteenth and early-nineteenth century provenance. It is first recorded in the collection of the French textile manufacturer, amateur engraver and collector, Jean de Jullienne (1686-1766). As a young man he studied drawing with Jean-François de Troy, engraving with Boucher, and was a friend of François Lemoyne and Antoine Watteau, whose Portrait of a Gentleman in the Louvre, Paris, was said to be of Jullienne (fig. 2). His vast collection comprised 500 drawings by Watteau, as well as his Mezzetin (New York, Metropolitan Museum), 13 paintings by Rembrandt, 250 Rembrandt and 203 Dürer prints, as well as other works that he had purchased from the sales of Crozat, Antoine de la Roque and Jeanne-Baptiste d’Albert de Luynes, comtesse de Verrue, among others. Sold in 1767, as part of the posthumous sale of Jullienne’s estate, the present work was acquired soon afterwards by Étienne François, duc de Choiseul (1719-1785), one of the pre-eminent French statesmen of the eighteenth century.
Through industry and intrigue, Choiseul (fig. 3) rose to become the most powerful person in France after King Louis XV, amassing a great fortune and spending it extravagantly on, among other things, an outstanding collection of paintings. He was once characterised as ‘a wonderful mixture of selfishness, charm, recklessness and exquisite taste’. Choiseul fell out spectacularly with Louis XV in 1770 and retreated in disgrace to his estate, Chanteloup, in the Touraine region of central France. Unable any longer to sustain his princely lifestyle, Choiseul was forced into selling the great majority of his collection, including the present work, in a highly publicised auction in Paris in 1772. Of the 147 paintings that went under the hammer, 113 were Dutch and Flemish, giving a clear barometer of where fashionable taste lay in mid-eighteenth century France.
The picture next entered the collection the Swiss financier, civic leader, writer, collector and patron, François Tronchin (1704-1798). As a young man Tronchin was drawn to Paris where he became enamoured by literature and the arts. He returned to Geneva in 1736 and from around 1740, as his financial career blossomed, he began to acquire Old Master paintings, with a predilection for Dutch and Flemish works. The jewel in his collection was Rembrandt’s Sarah Awaiting Tobias on her Wedding Night (c. 1645; Edinburgh, National Gallery), which can be seen in the background of his celebrated portrait by Jean-Etienne Liotard of 1757 (fig. 4; Cleveland, Ohio, Museum of Art). In 1770 he sold 95 pictures from his collection en bloc to Catherine the Great of Russia. These included Gabriel Metsu’s Prodigal Son (c. 1650) and Jan Steen’s Game of tric-trac (1667; both St. Petersburg, Hermitage). Tronchin immediately started acquiring pictures again, buying this work by van de Velde from the Choiseul sale as part of his effort to form a second collection after 1770. Tronchin’s support of local artists in Geneva led him to be regarded as the ‘godfather’ of the Geneva school, whose collection served as inspiration to a whole generation of local Swiss artists. After his death, 226 pictures from his collection were sent to Paris to be auctioned in 1801 by Jean-Baptiste-Pierre Le Brun.
The picture is next documented in 1854 when Gustav Waagen saw it at Charlton Park in Wiltshire in the collection of Henry Howard, 18th Earl of Suffolk and 11th Earl of Berkshire (1833-1898). Waagen remarked that Suffolk’s collection: ‘though moderate in size contained some valuable pictures’. Chief amongst which was Leonardo’s Virgin of the Rocks which was sold by the Earl of Suffolk in 1880 to the National Gallery for 9,000 guineas.
CANALETTO & MARIESCHI: VENICE
Executed on Canaletto’s return from England to Venice after 1755, Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, on the Grand Canal, Venice is one of a group of views of individual palazzi that the artist painted around this date (estimate: £800,000-1.2 million). On a similarly small scale, the majority of these works are of English provenance, including that of Palazzo Grimani at the National Gallery, London. Less dependent on assistants during this phase of his career, Canaletto’s touch became lighter and freer. The figures in this canvas, which are brilliantly rendered by controlled dots and dabs of paint, make one wonder if Canaletto had studied Vermeer’s Lady and Gentleman at the Virginals, then in the possession of Consul Joseph Smith, banker to the British community at Venice. Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi was one of the outstanding palaces of Renaissance Venice, and remains a notable landmark on the Grand Canal in the parish of San Marcuola. Exhibiting the artist’s sparkling technique, the smaller scale of this work was perhaps influenced by the demands of those who bought his pictures. This work comes to auction for the first time in almost 150 years, having last been exhibited just less than 40 years ago.
A fine addition to the oeuvre of Michele Giovanni Marieschi, The Bacino di San Marco, Venice, with the Piazzetta and the Doge’s Palace is a previously unpublished view of the Molo (estimate: £500,000- 800,000). Taken from a viewpoint opposite St. Mark’s Campanile and showing the Bacino di San Marco on a receding diagonal perspective it is the most enduring and popular of all Venetian vedute. Marieschi treated this precise view on at least seven occasions between 1736 and 1741, with the recorded variants differing in both size and incidental detail, allowing for the spirit and mood of the picture to change by varying the number and position of the boats, together with the cast of figures. The present example is a serene staging of an iconic view. Undoubtedly a highly desirable picture for a grand tourist, the work formed part of the collection of General Sir George Cockburn (1763-1847) and was hung at his home in Shanganagh Castle, near Bray.
Giovanni Antonio Canal, il Canaletto (Venice 1697-1768), Palazzo Vendramin-Calergi, on the Grand Canal, Venice, oil on canvas, 15½ x 19 in. (39.5 x 48.4 cm.). Estimate £800,000 – £1,200,000 ($1,254,400 – $1,881,600). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
Provenance: Henry Farrer, F.S.A.; Christie’s, London, 16 June 1866, lot 312, as ‘The Palazzo Grimani, Venice, with Gondolas and Figures / very fine.’ (120 gns. to the following).
with Anthony, from whom purchased by Samuel Jones Loyd, 1st Lord Overstone (1796-1883), Lockinge House, Wantage, Berkshire, and by descent to his daughter,
Harriet Sarah Jones Loyd (1837-1920), wife of Robert James Loyd-Lindsay, 1st Lord Wantage (1832-1901), and by inheritance at Lockinge through her cousin,
Arthur Thomas Loyd (1882-1944), to the late C.L. Loyd (1923-2013).
PROPERTY OF THE LATE C.L. LOYD MC, SOLD BY ORDER OF THE EXECUTOR
Literature: G. Redford, Descriptive Catalogue of the Pictures at Lockinge House, London, 1875, no. 11.
A.G. Temple, Catalogue of Pictures Forming the Collection of Lord and Lady Wantage at 2 Carlton Gardens, London, Lockinge House and Overstone Park and Ardington House, London, 1902, p. 26, no. 37.
W.G. Constable, Canaletto: Giovanni Antonio Canal, 1697-1768, Oxford, 1962, I, p. 136, note 3, II, p. 327, no. 326; 2nd edition, revised by J.G. Links, Oxford, 1974; and 3rd edition, Oxford, 1982, I, p. 136, pl. 203, II, p. 350, no. 326, and p. 360.
L. Parris, The Loyd Collection, London, 1967, p. 4, no. 4; revised by F. Russell, 1990, pp. v and 3, no. 4.
L. Puppi, L’Opera completa di Canaletto, Milan, 1968, p. 119, no. 334.
A. Corboz, Canaletto, Una Venezia immaginaria, Milan, 1985, II, p. 743, no. 461.
To be illustrated by Bozena Anna Kowalczyk in her entry for the National Gallery’s Palazzo Grimani in the forthcoming exhibition at Aix-en-Provence.
Exhibited: London, British Institution, Old Masters, 1867, no. 109.
London, The Hayward Gallery, Andrea Palladio, 1975, no. 272.
Notes: Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi was one of the outstanding palaces of Renaissance Venice, and remains a notable landmark on the Grand Canal in the parish of San Marcuola. It was built for the Venetian patrician Andrea Loredan (d. 1513): there is general agreement that it was begun circa 1502 to the design of Mauro Codussi, who died in 1504, and was apparently complete by 1509. In 1589 the palace was bought by Vettore Calergi, passing in the following century to Marina Calergi, wife of Vincenzo Grimani. Exceptionally for a building of its date, the palace was much admired in the eighteenth century. Antonio Visentini illustrated it prominently in his Admiranda of 1760, as, in view of his long association and links with Consul Joseph Smith, the painter was very probably aware; and Antonio Maria Zanetti made engravings after the frescoes in the Atrium, then attributed to Titian, which were destroyed in the redecoration undertaken at the time of the marriage of Girolamo Vendramin in 1766. It was at Ca’ Vendramin-Calergi that Wagner died in 1883.
This picture, like others in the same sparkling technique, was considered by Constable to be a work of about 1740 (op. cit.). Links in 1974 correctly recognised that these works were in fact painted after Canaletto’s final return to Venice from London in 1755 (op. cit.). The artist was still capable of supplying masterpieces of considerable style, as the four Streit canvases in Berlin prove. Clearly he also liked to work on a smaller scale, perhaps influenced by the demands of those who bought his pictures. Less dependent on assistants than in the past, partly because he received fewer commissions, his touch became lighter and freer, his figures brilliantly indicated by controlled dots and dabs of paint, that make one wonder if he had studied Vermeer’s Lady and Gentleman at the Virginals (London, Royal Collection), then in the possession of Consul Smith. Michael Levey defined the quality of the best of the late pictures in his analysis of the late Piazza San Marco (London, National Gallery): ‘small in scale but of a fierce clarity and compressed energy: a painting that offers evidence of how age only increased Canaletto’s artistic assurance’ (‘Artist of the Urban Scene’,Canaletto, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1989, p. 29).
This canvas is one of a group of views of individual palazzi of similar scale and date, the majority of which are of English provenance. These include the Palazzo Corner della Ca’ Grande, formerly in the Crewe collection (Constable, no. 323), the Palazzo Pesaro, in a private collection (Constable, no. 325) and views of Sansovino’s Palazzo Dolfin Manin and Vittoria’s Palazzo Balbi (private collection), which were not known to Constable or Links. To these may be added the somewhat smaller Palazzo Grimani in the National Gallery, London (fig. 1; Constable, no. 324), the provenance of which was, for understandable reasons, confused with that of the Loyd picture. The palazzi in question were among the most prominent secular buildings on the Grand Canal. In view of Canaletto’s long connection with Consul Smith it is reasonable to assume that he was aware of the series of drawings of Venetian palaces that he commissioned from Visentini, now in the British Library. While Canaletto’s views are not strictly architectural records like these drawings, or the similar series executed for John Stuart, 3rd Earl of Bute in the late 1760s (London, Victoria and Albert Museum), he must have realised that there was a demand for specific representations of such monuments.
Note on the provenance
Henry Farrer was a scholarly collector who over a period of forty years assembled a significant collection of pictures over a wide range, which after his death were offered in a two-day auction at Christie’s. Samuel Jones Loyd, 1st Lord Overstone was one of the most highly respected bankers of his age. He transformed his father’s relatively modest bank, was a member of parliament, and acquired considerable estates at Overstone in Northamptonshire and Lockinge in Berkshire, taking the name of the former when he was created a baron in 1850. He began to collect pictures in about 1831, beginning conventionally enough with pictures by Dutch artists, but his horizons gradually widened. The Dutch pictures, kept in his London house in Carlton Gardens included works by Rembrandt (Portrait of Margaretha de Geer; London, National Gallery), de Koninck and Ruysdael, as well as many impeccable cabinet pictures. Among the pictures from his collection now in the National Gallery, London, are two panels from Cranach’s Saint Catherine altarpiece, Claude’s Enchanted Castle and Lancret’s La Tasse de Chocolat. He also guaranteed the purchase for the National Gallery of the three main panels of Perugino’s Pavia altarpiece.
Michele Giovanni Marieschi (Venice 1710-1743), The Bacino di San Marco, Venice, with the Piazzetta and the Doge’s Palace, oil on canvas, 24¼ x 38 3/8 in. (61.6 x 97.5 cm.). Estimate £500,000 – £800,000 ($784,000 – $1,254,400). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
Provenance: General Sir George Cockburn (1763-1847), Shanganagh Castle, Bray, and (possibly) included in the sale of the contents; Battersby and Co., 10 August 1936.
with Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, from whom acquired by the present owner in circa 1960.
PROPERTY OF A LADY OF TITLE
Notes: Once part of the picture gallery at Shanganagh Castle, near Bray, this unpublished view of the Molo is a fine addition to the oeuvre of Marieschi. Taken from a viewpoint opposite St. Mark’s Campanile and showing the Bacino di San Marco on a receding diagonal perspective, from the eastern bays of the Zecca on the left, past St. Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace to the Prigioni on the right, it is the most enduring and popular of all Venetian vedute. Marieschi treated this precise view on at least seven occasions between 1736 and 1741, with the recorded variants differing in both size and incidental detail, allowing for the spirit and mood of the picture to change by varying the number and position of the boats, together with the cast of figures (see R. Toledano, Michele Marieschi, Milan, 1995, pp. 40-4). Here a relative calm is maintained: with the Bucintoro moored, and two gondolas steering into view from left and right, the dappled light glints across the waves, as the clear waters allow for the refection of the Doge’s Palace to be visible. It is a serene staging of an iconic view.
The limited facts surrounding Marieschi’s life – which ended when he was barely forty-three – are well-known. He is thought to have trained and practised as a set-designer until turning his hand to vedute, establishing his reputation as a view painter by the mid-1730s and adding lustre to the genre with his lively use of brushwork. Few of his view pictures have early recorded provenance, and his only known patron was the great collector Count Johannes Matthias von der Schulenburg. It has also been established with near certainty that Marieschi focused his energies exclusively on painting landscape and architecture, working in tandem with a number of different figure painters to complete the staffage in his vedute: amongst them Gaspare Diziani, Francesco Simonini and Giovanni Antonio Guardi. It is the latter’s hand at work here in the colourfully-executed figures on the boats. We are grateful to Ralph Toledano for confirming the attribution to Marieschi, and the involvement of Guardi, on the basis of photographs.
Undoubtedly a highly desirable picture for a grand tourist, the work formed part of the collection of General Sir George Cockburn (1763-1847) and was hung at his home in Shanganagh Castle. Not to be confused with his contemporary namesake, the 10th Baronet and Admiral of the Fleet, Cockburn was possessed of an adventurous spirit and an inveterate taste for collecting. He travelled widely as he moved up the ranks during the Napoleonic Wars, acquiring antiquities, pictures and sculpture along the way, especially during visits to Italy. After military service, he devoted himself to politics and was an active voice arguing in favour of democratic reform. Cockburn bought Shanganagh Castle in circa 1805, and promptly organised for the façade to be extensively re-ftted to suit neo-Gothic taste, a project completed under the guidance of Sir Richard Morrison. A picture gallery with top lighting was installed too – presumably where this picture was displayed. When the contents of the castle were dispersed in a sale in 1936, University College, Dublin, acquired a number of antiquities that form the basis of their collection today.
PIETER BRUEGHEL THE YOUNGER
Long believed by many scholars to be a work in whole or in part by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Good Shepherd is one of the rarest subjects in the oeuvre of his son, Pieter Brueghel the Younger (estimate: £800,000-1.2 million). No drawn or painted prototype for the composition by the Elder exists, suggesting that this is an original invention by Pieter the Younger, doubtless conceived in relation to The Bad Shepherd, which exists in a unique version by Pieter the Younger. Together the two compositions can be considered one of the personal masterpieces of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s art; their outstanding compositional and philosophical excellence eloquently accounts for the desire of so many past experts to see in them the authorship of the artist’s illustrious father. The Good Shepherd exists in only three versions, making it a great rarity in a body of work which often comprises prolific repetition of ‘iconic’ compositions. Of the two other versions of The Good Shepherd, one work, signed and dated 1616, is in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in Brussels; the other, restituted to the heirs of Ernst and Gisella Pollack of Vienna in 2001, is now in a private collection.
Dated 1610, this exceptionally well-preserved work is the earliest version of one of the rarest and most dynamic of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s subjects: The Country Brawl, known in French as La Rixe (estimate:£700,000-1 million). This painting comes to the market for the first time since 1928 when it was acquired by Baron Evence III Coppée (1882-1945) of Brussels, having since passed by descent to the present owner. Described by Dr. Klaus Ertz as ‘une merveilleuse version de 1610’, he places it within his catalogue raisonné at the head of ten autograph versions of the composition, four of which are in museums: Montpellier, Musée Fabre; Prague, Národní galerie, Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie; and Philadelphia, Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection. Only eight of these works are dated and only five are signed and dated. All of the dated versions were painted in the same four-year period, 1619-1622, with the exception of the present work. The form of the signature, using the spelling ‘BRVEGHEL’, is unique amongst the various versions, the other signed ones using the spelling ‘BREVGHEL’, which seems to have been adopted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger only after circa 1616. The date of 1610 gives the present work a special status within the context of the known versions of this subject. Executed during this earlier period of Brueghel’s activity, the Coppée picture is distinguished by its highly elaborate under-drawing (visible in infrared refectography), its extraordinary attention to detail and the high quality of its execution. These factors combine to make this not only the earliest, but also the finest of all the known versions of this extraordinarily powerful composition.
Pieter Brueghel II (Brussels 1564/5-1637/8 Antwerp), A country brawl, signed and dated ‘•P•BRVEGHEL•1610’ (lower right), oil on panel, 15½ x 22½ in. (39 x 57 cm.). Estimate £700,000 – £1,000,000 ($1,097,600 – $1,568,000). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
Provenance: (Possibly) Govaert Flinck (1615-1660), Amsterdam, and by descent to his son,
Nikolaas Antoni Flinck; his sale, Rotterdam, 4 November 1754, lot 49, ‘Een Boere-Gevegije, zeer aardig, door P. Breugel, hoog 9½, breet 13½ duimen’ (14.10 guilders).
(Possibly) Hendrik Domis, Alkmaar; his sale, Alkmaar, 2 June 1766, lot 60, ‘Een Boere Battallje, door den Boere Breugel, op panel; hoog 11½, breet 17 duimen’ (18 guilders).
Dr. Karl Lanz (1873-1921), Mannheim; sale, 1917, lot 7, as ‘Pieter Bruegel the Elder’.
with Galerie de Heuvel, Brussels, by 1928, when acquired by Baron Evence III Coppée (1882-1945), Brussels, Belgium, and by descent to the present owner.
PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF EVENCE III COPPÉE
Literature: (Possibly) G. Hoet, P. Terwesten (ed.), Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen…, The Hague, III, 1770, pp. 104 and 540, no. 49.
(Possibly) G. Hulin de Loo, R. van Bastelaer (ed.), Peter Bruegel l’Ancien: Son oeuvre et son temps, Brussels, 1907, p. 336.
Gemäldesammlung Dr. Karl Lanz, Mannheim, Mannheim, 1917.
Amsterdam, Galerie Pieter de Boer, Helsche en fuweelen Brueghel, 1934, under no. 17.
G. Marlier, J. Folie (ed.), Pierre Brueghel le Jeune, Brussels, 1969, pp. 268-9 and 272, no. 8, fig. 159.
P. Greindl, La Rixe, unpublished MS, 1987-1988, Archives baron Coppée, Brussels.
M. Wilmotte, La collection Coppée, Liège, 1991, pp. vi, showing the work in situ, and pp. 54-5, illustrated.
K. Ertz, Pieter Brueghel der Jüngere (1564-1637/8): Die Gemälde, mit kritischem OEuvrekatalog, Lingen, 2000, II, pp. 747, 766 and 787, no. E1054, pl. 608.
Exhibited: Mannheim, Kunsthalle, 42 Gema¨lde aus der Sammlung Dr. Karl Lanz, December 1912-February 1913.
Brussels, Galerie Finck, Trente-trois tableaux de Pierre Brueghel le Jeune dans les collections privées belges, 1969, no. 32.
Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bruegel: Une dynastie des peintres, 1979-1980, no. 91.
Tobu, Japan, The World of Bruegel: The Coppée Collection and Eleven International Museums, 1995, no. B26.
Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Breughel—Brueghel: Pieter Breughel le Jeune (1564-1637/8)—Jan Brueghel l’Ancien (1568-1625). Une famille des peintres flamands vers 1600, 3 May-26 July 1998, no. 143 (note by K. Ertz).
Cremona, Museo Civico Ala Ponzone, Breughel—Brueghel, Tradizione e Progresso: Una famiglia di pittori fiamminghi tra Cinque e Seicento, 1998, no. 26.
Notes: Dated 1610, this exceptionally well-preserved work is the earliest version of one of the rarest and most dynamic of Pieter Brueghel the Younger’s subjects: The Country Brawl, known in French as La Rixe. Described by Dr. Klaus Ertz as ‘une merveilleuse version de 1610’, he places it within his catalogue raisonné at the head of ten autograph versions of the composition, four of which are in museums: Montpellier, Musée Fabre, inv. no. 876-3-4 (Ertz no. E1056*); Prague, Národní galerie, inv. no. VO 1371 (E1058*); Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Gemäldegalerie, inv. no. 676 (E1060*); and Philadelphia, Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection (E1063*). These nine other works can be further subdivided into groups with differing sizes: six works which are roughly 40 x 60 cm., three which are roughly 75 x 100 cm., and one odd format at 27.4 x 32.8 cm. (Ertz no. E1059). Only eight of these works are dated (one indistinctly, E1062) and only five are signed and dated. All of the dated versions were painted in the same four-year period, 1619- 1622, with the exception of the present work. The form of the signature, using the spelling ‘BRVEGHEL’, is unique amongst the various versions, the other signed ones using the spelling ‘BREVGHEL’, which seems to have been adopted by Pieter Brueghel the Younger only after circa 1616.
The date of 1610 gives the present work a special status within the context of the known versions of this subject. Executed during this earlier period of Brueghel’s activity, the Coppée picture is distinguished by its highly elaborate under-drawing (visible in infrared reflectography; fig. 1), its extraordinary attention to detail and the high quality of its execution. These factors combine to make this not only the earliest, but also the finest of all the known versions of this extraordinarily powerful composition.
There is some debate as to the origins of the subject. It is one of the few compositions by Pieter Brueghel the Younger which cannot be matched to a surviving prototype by his celebrated father, Pieter Bruegel the Elder. This could suggest that the composition is entirely of Pieter the Younger’s invention, as would seem to be the case for some other subjects, for example the Payment of the Tithes (also known as The Country Lawyer, see Ertz nos. E489-E511a). It is assumed, however, that it is the only record of a lost painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, which could have been known to Pieter the Younger in the original, or through a studio cartoon or preparatory drawings. As early as 1907, Hulin de Loo argued that a composition of such accomplishment must go back to the Elder: ‘c’est un des groupes les plus complexes, les plus vivants, les plus violents et les plus réalistes et en même temps les plus plastiques dont l’histoire de l’art nous fournisse l’exemple…Bruegel a atteint ici l’apogée de son art’ (‘this is one of the most complex, the most lifelike, the most violent, the most realistic and at the same time the most sculptural figural groups of which the history of art provides example…here Bruegel [the Elder] attains the apogee of his art’, in G. Hulin de Loo, ed. R. van Bastelaer,Peter Bruegel l’Ancien: Son oeuvre et son temps, Brussels, 1907, cited by Marlier, op. cit., p. 265). In his discussion of the present picture in the 1998 exhibition catalogue (op. cit., p. 396), Ertz notes the strong resemblance of the facial types to those in works by the Elder, such as The Nest Robber (Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum) or the drawingSummer (Hamburg, Kunsthalle, Kupferstichkabinett). There is, moreover, an engraving of the composition by Pieter the Younger’s younger contemporary, Lucas Vorsterman (1595- 1675), which shows the event in reverse, and bears within the image rectangle the inscription ‘Peter Bruegel invent’ (fig. 2). Assuming that this is a reference to the Elder and not the Younger Pieter, this would indicate an awareness on the part of the generation of artists which included Pieter the Younger, his brother Jan Brueghel the Elder and the latter’s friend, Sir Peter Paul Rubens, of the authorship of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. To complicate matters, however, the print – which must date to circa 1620 – also bears in its legend a long dedication in Latin to Jan Brueghel the Elder, ‘Clariss. Praestantissimoq. Viro Dño Ionni Bruegelio, Petri Bruegelii sui temporis Apellis Filio, Paternae Artis haeredi ex asse, hoc patriae manus monumentum artifciosissimum’. This effectively dedicates ‘this monument to the art of the father’ to the son of ‘Pieter Bruegel, the Apelles of his time’, Jan Brueghel, ‘the heir of his art’.
On the other hand, like most of his contemporaries, Hulin de Loo was inclined to diminish Pieter the Younger’s creative abilities by comparison to his father’s, and it is not implausible that there was never a prototype by Pieter the Elder, in which case this would be one of the Pieter the Younger’s most successful original inventions. In this respect it can be related to The Bad Shepherd (Christie’s, London, 8 July 2008, lot 38, £2,505,250), a unique composition with no prototype by the Elder, for many years attributed to the Elder because of its high quality (as indeed was the present work), but in fact a masterpiece by the son.
Setting aside the question of the uncertain existence of a prototype by Pieter the Elder, the production and dedication of the engraving shows how highly regarded the composition was in the time of Pieter the Younger, Jan the Elder and Rubens. We know that it certainly inspired Rubens, as a drawing by that artist, in black chalk and wash, repeats several of the figures involved in the tussle (fig. 3; Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen), replacing several of the faces with more typically ‘Rubensian’ types – the figure wielding the thresher at left, for example, is given a beard and a wild shock of hair, as well as muscled calves suitable for a Hercules. Interestingly, the Vorsterman engraving records just such a figure in this role. Vorsterman was one of Rubens’s pupils, working in the studio as the ‘in-house’ engraver, and it is likely that he was given the task of reproducing the Brueghel work with Rubens’s approval. Perhaps Rubens himself commissioned the engraving from Vorsterman – the dedication to Jan Brueghel, who was one of Rubens’s close friends (Rubens painted the touching family portrait of Jan Brueghel with his wife and children now in the Courtauld Institute, London), lends credence to this hypothesis.
They even seem to have collaborated on a version of the picture: a version largely by Jan Brueghel I, but probably retouched by Rubens, is in a private collection (94 x 124 cm.; see the catalogue of the exhibition De Bruegel à Rubens: L’école de peinture anversoise, 1550-1650, Antwerp, 1992, pp. 170-1, no. 73, illustrated in colour). Marlier follows Hulin de Loo and van Bastelaer in citing another, smaller (36 x 46 cm.) putative copy by Rubens’s hand (see Marlier,op. cit., p. 267 and notes). Rubens was a great admirer of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, and may have owned as many as twelve paintings by the artist, as recorded by the inventory of his estate (1640). This includes, under no. 142, a painting of ‘Des paysans qui se battent, fait d’après un dessin du Vieux Bruegel’, which would seem to described a painting by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, based on a design by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. It cannot be excluded, however, that Rubens may have owned the prototype by the Elder. Alternatively, it may have remained in family hands, in the possession of Jan Brueghel the Elder – further justification for the dedication of Vorsterman’s engraving of one of Rubens’s favourite Bruegels, which he might have seen in the collection of his friend Jan. Marlier suggests (op. cit., p. 266) that a work which belonged to Jan Brueghel the Elder may be the work which the great British patron and collector, Thomas Howard, 2nd Earl of Arundel, ordered his Antwerp agent Lionel Wake to purchase in circa 1625, ‘a painting begun by Bruegel and finished by Mostaert, showing a peasant brawl over a game of cards, which has been engraved by Vorsterman’. Gillis Mostaert (1534-1598), a sixteenth-century artist, was Fig. 3 Sir Peter Paul Rubens, A country brawl, black chalk and wash © Museum Bojimans van Beuningen, Rotterdam a contemporary of Pieter the Elder’s who outlived him, and who could well have been asked to complete a painting left unfinished. The specificity of the attribution in Arundel’s instructions is striking; assuming it is correct, this may well be the last trace of the prototype. On the other hand, it is not impossible that Arundel’s picture was the present work – it is believed to have come to Amsterdam in 1655, after the death of Arundel’s wife, where it could have been acquired by Rembrandt’s pupil Govaert Flinck, who is known to have owned other pictures formerly owned by Arundel, and to whom the provenance of the present work can hypothetically be traced. The present work was for many years given to Pieter Bruegel the Elder – for example, when in the Lanz collection – an attribution which, given its quality and early date, is not surprising. The early date 1610 makes it that much likelier that the present work may even be the one once owned by Rubens.
The collection of the industrialist Baron Evence III Coppée (1882-1945), was formed in Brussels between 1920 and 1939. The focus was on sixteenth- and early seventeenth- century Flemish painting, with a special emphasis on the work of Pieter Brueghel the Younger whom Coppée much admired for his treatment of humanist themes. In all, he owned nine works by the artist, a group that set the example for many later collectors of Brueghel in Belgium. Much of the collection, including the present lot, was proudly displayed in the beautiful Coppée mansion on the Avenue Franklin D. Roosevelt, Brussels (fig. 4).
EARLY FLEMISH PAINTINGS
Portrait of a young nobleman, half-length, in a crimson doublet, wearing a plumed beret, holding a daisy by Joos van Cleve is the only recorded portrait of a child by the artist, and possibly the only example of an aristocratic portrait dating from van Cleve’s time at the French court (estimate: £400,000-600,000). This work demonstrates the artist’s remarkable ability to capture the likeness of his sitters and convey status in his portraits. Dubbed the ‘Leonardo of the North’ in a recent exhibition, van Cleve was, along with Jan Gossaert and Bernard van Orley, the foremost Northern painter of his day. He developed a distinctive and highly successful style, combining technical accomplishment in oil, inherited from the early Netherlandish painting tradition, with Italian motifs inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as a rich palette indebted to Northern Italian, especially Venetian models. The Virgin and Child with angels, in a landscape by Jan Provoost is a remarkable discovery and a significant addition to the relatively small oeuvre of Provoost, the most important artist active in Bruges in the generation after Hans Memling and Gerard David, and heir to the great Northern Renaissance tradition they initiated (estimate: £250,000-350,000). This work will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Jan Provoost’s work, currently in preparation by Professor Ron Spronk.
Joos van Cleve (?Cleve ?-1540/1 Antwerp), Portrait of a young nobleman, small half-length, in a crimson doublet, wearing a plumed beret, holding a daisy, oil on panel, originally arched top, the upper corners made up, 22 x 15 in. (55.8 x 38.2 cm.). Estimate £400,000 – £600,000 ($627,200 – $940,800). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
Provenance: (Possibly) John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick (1769-1859), Thirlestaine House, Cheltenham.
George Rushout-Bowles, 3rd Lord Northwick (1881-1887), Northwick Park, by 1864, and by descent to
Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill, Northwick Park, Gloucestershire; his sale (†), Christie’s, London, 28 May 1965, lot 52 (12,000 gns. to the following).
with Alfred Brod, London, 1965.
Anonymous sale; Christie’s, London, 27 June 1969, lot 78.
Anonymous sale [From a Private Swiss Collection]; Sotheby’s, London, 9 July 1998, lot 54, when acquired by the present owner.
PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
Literature: A Catalogue of the Pictures, Works of Art etc., at Northwick Park, 1864, no. 4, as ‘Prince Arthur, brother of Henry VIII, by Mabuse’.
Arundel Club Portfolio, 1913, no. 11.
J.M. Friedländer, Van Eyck bis Brueghel, Berlin 1921, p. 196.
T. Borenius, A Catalogue of the Collections of Pictures at Northwick Park, London 1921, no. 144.
L. Baldass, Joos van Cleve, Vienna 1925, pp. 27-8, no. 63.
M.J. Friedländer, H. Pauwel (ed.), Early Netherlandish Paintings, IX, Leiden, 1972, p. 68, no. 85, pl. 101.
J.O. Hand, Joos van Cleve: The Early and Mature Paintings, Ph.D. dissertation, Princeton University 1978, pp. 194 and 302, no. 49, fig. 60.
J.O. Hand, Joos van Cleve, New Haven/London, 2004, pp. 89 and 145, no. 51, illustrated.
Exhibited: London, Royal Academy, Flemish Art 1300-1700, 1953-54, no. 89.
Bruges, Groeninge Museum, L’Art Flamand dans les Collections Britanniques, 1956, no. 39.
Ghent, Musee des Beaux-Arts, Fleurs et Jardins dans l’Art Flamand, 1960, no. 49.
Notes: This engaging portrait of a dashingly-attired young boy, who holds the viewer’s gaze with the confidence and composure of a fully-grown adult, is the only recorded portrait of a child by the artist, and possibly the only example of an aristocratic portrait dating from van Cleve’s time at the French court. It demonstrates his remarkable ability to capture the likeness of his sitters and convey status in his portraits.
Dubbed the ‘Leonardo of the North’ in a recent exhibition (Aachen, Suermondt- Ludwig-Museum, Leonardo des Nordens: Joos van Cleve, March-June 2011), Joos van Cleve was, along with Jan Gossaert and Bernard van Orley, the foremost Northern painter of his day. Active in the thriving city of Antwerp where he is first documented in 1511, he developed a distinctive and highly successful style, combining technical accomplishment in oil, inherited from the early-Netherlandish painting tradition, with Italian motifs inspired by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as a rich palette indebted to Northern Italian, especially Venetian models. It is his prowess as a ‘colourist’ that is praised especially in the accounts of his life by the great early biographers Lodovico Guicciardini (1567), Giorgio Vasari (1568) and Karel van Mander (1604). These writers also celebrated Joos’ gifts as a portraitist, a talent which attracted the prestigious patronage of King Francis I, who around 1529 called him to his thriving court in France. Joos’ executed portraits of the king and his wife Eleanor of Austria (respectively, Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art and Hampton Court, Royal Collection), but somewhat surprisingly no identified portraits of French noblemen are documented from this period. Joos also painted a portrait of King Henry VIII of England (London, Royal Collection); although it is no known if he painted him from life, when Henry VIII met the French king at Calais, or if he was working from pre-existing depictions of the king (K. Heard, L. Whitaker (eds.), The Northern Renaissance: Dürer to Holbein, exhibition catalogue, London, 2013, p. 65).
Children seldom appear on their own in portraits of the early-fifteen hundreds; the genre fourished in the following century (on this development, see J.B. Bedaux, R. Ekkart (eds.), Pride and Joy: Childrens’ Portraits in the Netherlands, 1500-1700, Ghent, Amsterdam, 2000). This portrait, which is dated by John Hand on stylistic grounds to circa 1525 (J. Hand, op. cit., 2004, p. 145), is thus a genuine rarity. Of fine quality, it compares favourably with other notable examples of Renaissance child portraiture, for instance Jan van Scorel’s Portrait of a Young Scholar, of 1531 (fig. 1; Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen), the overall composition and costume of which are similar to this picture.
The young sitter’s identity remains a mystery. The few children portrayed during this period largely belonged to the highest echelons of society – royalty or aristocracy. The sitter is shown wearing a fur-lined crimson silk jerkin, fastened to the side and tied at the waist with a black belt, to which an ornate leather pouch decorated with golden threads and tassels is attached, and a richly-feathered black beret. The style of the costume, which is rather unusual, has so far not been identified with any specific geographical region, making it difficult to ascertain the sitter’s country of origin. More specific is the weapon he displays as a sign of his youthful virility – an ivory gold-damascened ‘ear’ dagger (thus called because of the ‘ears’ that project at an angle from either side of the top of the grip in place of a pommel), which is characteristic of the work of a Spanish swordsmith called Diego de Çaias, who was active at the court of France, in the household of Francis I’s young sons, from 1532 to 1545, after which he is documented in England in the service of Henry VIII and later Edward VI.
The sitter has been identified previously with both Prince Arthur, Henry VIII’s elder brother, and Prince Edward VI, largely due to the portrait’s early English provenance; however, these suggestions can be discounted on comparison with other depictions of these sitters. Furthermore, while lavish, the boy’s attire lacks the sumptuousness of regal dress of the period. He must instead have been a member of the high aristocracy. Given Joos van Cleve’s activity at the court of France at the same moment as Diego de Çaias, it is tantalising to speculate that the sitter is a young French aristocrat, which would make it the only surviving portrait documenting Joos’s activity in France other than the portraits of the king and queen. Yet with the lack of any substantial evidence, this must remain speculation.
The commission may have been motivated by the wish to commemorate an important event such as a betrothal, as the daisy held by the sitter seems to suggest, although carnations are more commonly used in this context. The painting could also have been intended to be sent to a prospective spouse, a frequent occurrence during important marriage negotiations, for instance with Rogier van der Weyden’s Portrait of Isabella of Portugal painted to secure her match with the Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, and Hans Holbein’s Portrait of Anne of Cleves executed prior to her ill-fated marriage to Henry VIII.
This picture was first documented in 1864 in the collection of George Rushout-Bowles, 3rd Lord Northwick, who inherited Northwick Park and his title from his uncle John Rushout, 2nd Lord Northwick in 1859. The latter was a noted collector described by Tancred Borenius as ‘of very high intelligence and discrimination…he was able to avail himself of an ample fortune to buy the finest specimens of the Fine arts which came into the market.’ His collection included such treasures as Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man (then attributed to Masaccio), Raphael’s Saint Catherine of Alexandria, Annibale Carracci’s Domine Quo Vadis (all London, National Gallery). When he died intestate, the collection was offered for sale at auction and his heir, George Rushout- Bowles, bought back a small but important portion of the collection. Although this portrait does not appear in the auction, it could have been part of John Rushout’s collection and passed on to his nephew. It may also have been acquired by the latter independently, prior to 1864. In 1912, Captain E.G. Spencer-Churchill inherited Northwick Park and the remains of the collection from his maternal grandmother, the widow of the 3rd Lord Northwick, and over the subsequent fifty years added a further 200 paintings, which he christened the ‘Northwick Rescues’. In his will he stipulated that his collection should be sold in its entirety, which was subsequently honoured in a series of sales in these Rooms in 1965, which realised over £2,000,000.
Jan Provoost (Bergen-Mons, Henegouwen c. 1465-1529 Bruges), The Virgin and Child with angels, in a landscape, oil on panel, in a later engaged frame, 27 5/8 x 23 1/8 in. (70.3 x 58.7 cm.). Estimate £250,000 – £350,000 ($392,000 – $548,800). Photo Christie’s Image Ltd 2014
PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Literature: To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of Jan Provoost’s work, currently in preparation by Professor Ron Spronk.
Notes: This finely rendered Virgin and Child in a landscape is a remarkable discovery and a significant addition to the relatively small oeuvre of Jan Provoost, the most important artist active in Bruges in the generation after Hans Memling and Gerard David, and heir to the great Northern Renaissance tradition they initiated. We are grateful to Professor Ron Spronk from Queen’s University, Ontario, author of the forthcoming catalogue raisonné on Jan Provoost, for identifying this panel as a fully autograph work by the artist, on the basis of both photograph and infrared images, pointing out its similarities with another treatment of the theme by the artist now in the National Gallery, London, and with The Virgin and Child in Glory in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg. The free and economical underdrawing (fig. 1), which shows numerous changes to the original composition, is consistent with underdrawing found in other works by the artist (for comparison, see R. Spronk, ‘Jan Provoost’, Bruges et la Renaissance: de Memling à Pourbus, Paris, 1998, pp. 31-48, nos. 19-28).
Born in Mons in the Southern Netherlands, Jan Provoost received his initial artistic education from his father, Jan Provoost the Elder, and is likely to have furthered his training in the workshop of Simon Marmion in Valenciennes, one of the most important manuscript illuminators of his day. Upon Marmion’s death, Provoost married his widow, Johanna de Quarube. In 1493, Provoost joined the Guild of Saint Luke in Antwerp and in the following year became a citizen of Bruges, thus securing access to the two principal markets for painting in the Netherlands. He served as president of the Bruges painters’ guild in 1519 and 1525, and worked on several important projects for the city throughout his career. Most notably, Provoost had the honour of directing Bruges’ decorative programme for the Triumphal Entry of Charles V in 1520. That same year, Provoost met and befriended Albrecht Dürer, who was then travelling through the Netherlands. The German artist recorded in his diary making two drawn portraits of his Netherlandish counterpart, no doubt a testament to the esteem in which he held him.
Provoost’s miniaturist training in France is evident in this painting in the courtly, idealised figures, which are modelled with great delicacy, and in the attention given to the delicate rendering of the foliage in the foreground, which has a decorative quality reminiscent of the mille fleurs tapestries so fashionable at the time. The hieratic depiction of the Virgin, with Her soft features and gracefully inclined head, is a model of regal elegance: seated in a verdant meadow, she is surrounded by details emphasising Her divine status, such as Her fur-lined dress, Her rich red cloak bearing a seam of gold embroidery, the tasselled cushion on which She is seated, and Her long flowing hair, at the time the exclusive preserve of virgins and queens (C. Reynolds, ‘Reality and Image: Interpreting Three Paintings of the Virgin and Child in an Interior Associated with Campin’, S. Foister, S. Nash (eds.), Robert Campin: New Directions in Scholarship, Turnhout, 1996, pp. 183-9).
Provoost was unusual amongst his contemporaries in seemingly never repeating his compositions, thanks to his genuine gift for invention, as Friedländer noted: ‘Provost’s [sic] imagination begot significant pictorial ideas aplenty’ (M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, IX.B, Leiden, 1973, p. 93). This creative power is manifest in this panel, in which Provoost developed a fresh and more intimate approach to the traditional theme of the Virgin and Child. While the depiction of the Holy Family being attended by angels is not unprecedented – for instance it features in an anonymous early German panel of the Nativity (Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), and the central panel of Albrecht Dürer’s Dresden Altarpiece (Dresden, Gemäldegalerie) – the motif of the Virgin passing the Christ Child to an angelic attendant would appear to be unique in the iconography of early European painting. The beautiful interplay of hands in this passage is typical of the artist’s originality, his mastery of composition and technical virtuosity. This pious image would have been intended for private worship and may once have formed the central panel of a now-dispersed triptych. Indeed, this panel once incorporated wings by an unknown later artist (being offered in Christie’s Old Masters Day Sale, 3 December 2014, lot 106).