Govaert Flinck (Cleve 1615-1660 Amsterdam ), A pastoral scene with a shepherd and a shepherdess. Signed and dated lower left: G. Flinck f. 165(9). Oil on canvas.
139.7 by 172.5 cm. Estimate ˆ120.000-180.000. Sale: Old Master Paintings, 8 May 2007. © Sotheby’s Amsterdam.
AMSTERDAM - The sale of Old Master Paintings at Sotheby’s Amsterdam on Tuesday 8 May 2007 offers a variety of landscapes, still-lifes, portraits, biblical and genre scenes. Of special interest are a group of paintings from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, a recently discovered masterpiece by Jan Lievens and works by Bakhuizen, De Momper and Van Leen.
A recently discovered early signed masterpiece is The Card Players by Jan Lievens (1607-1674). For centuries the painting has been attributed to Gerard van Honthorst and only after a restoration in the 1990s Jan Lievens’ signature came to light. The painting shows four men in an inn, playing cards and gambling for money. Two of them are soldiers with helmet and cuirass. The jolly smoker with the beret triumphantly shows the soldier his ace of hearts beating the other man’s five. The landlady can be seen behind him, and the slate shows that the card players already owe her four drinks each. Since the 15th century scenes of this kind were popular to illustrate human vices such as waste, laziness and avarice as well as fraud (though of the latter no clear hint can be found in this picture). Born in Leiden, Lievens was apprenticed to a local painter at the early age of eight. Between 1617 and 1619 he trained under Pieter Lastman in Amsterdam, before returning to Leiden at the age of 12, where he astonished everyone with his painterly skills. He became a close friend of Rembrandt van Rijn with whom he possibly shared a workshop between 1625 and 1631. Lievens’ Card Players, an oil on canvas of 97.6 by 105.6 cm is estimated at ˆ150.000-200.000.
Ludolf Bakhuizen (1630–1708) is represented with a Marine of a Royal English small ship with two Dutch Man-of-wars in Choppy seas with a fisherman’s family to the foreground, an oil on mahogany panel 47.5 by 61.7 cm signed and dated 1691 (ˆ80.000-120.000). Bakhuizen was one of the foremost painters of shipping and marine subjects of the 17th century in Holland. After joining the Amsterdam guild of painters in 1663 his fame as a marine specialist was rapidly established, winning him, for example, the commission in 1665 from the burgomaster of Amsterdam of a 'View of Amsterdam’. When father and son Willem van de Velde moved to England in 1672 after the resumption of hostilities between the Netherlands and England, Bakhuizen became the leading marine painter in The Netherlands. His success brought him to the attention of many of the leading patrons of Europe, including Grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici, King Frederick I of Prussia and Tsar Peter the Great who reputedly took drawing lessons from him. Bakhuizen depicted the perpetually changing weather and the magnificent skies of the Netherlands. Much of his work glorifies Amsterdam and the mercantile trade that had made it great.
A large pastoral scene with a shepherd and a shepherdess by Rembrandt pupil Govaert Flinck (Cleve 1615-1660 Amsterdam), signed and dated: G. Flinck f. 165(9) is estimated ˆ120.000-180.000. Flinck moved to Amsterdam in 1633 where he studied with Rembrandt van Rijn. In this period his paintings were so similar to his master’s that some have been wrongly credited to Rembrandt. Under the influence of Anthony van Dyck and other Flemish artists, Flinck started to paint elegant and colourful portraits and he became a very popular artist. Elector Frederick William of Brandenburg was a great admirer of Flinck and consigned an allegorical piece. Flinck’s works can be found in many museums including the Mauritshuis The Hague and the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam.
Joos de Momper (Antwerp 1564-1635) was the leading member of an Antwerp family of artists and dealers. He was the outstanding artist of the family both as a painter, an engraver and draughtsman. His art was popular and influential in his own time and belongs to the transitional period between late 16th-century Mannerism and the tendency towards greater realism in the early 17th century. Trained by his father Bartholomeus, Joos de Momper probably went to Italy in the 1580s. Although he lived and worked in Antwerp, having seen the Alps may have inspired him to paint great blue mountains in the background in many of his works, with a yellowish-green middle distance and a darker foreground with subjects. His Venus mourning Adonis now on offer, a beautiful oil on panel of 74.1 by 105.5 cm, is a fine example of his work (ˆ80.000-120.000).
Not much is known about the artist Willem van Leen (Dordrecht 1753-1825 Delfshaven). A large and elaborate Still Life with flowers in a stone vase, with fruit on a stone ledge, in a niche (oil on canvas with rounded top, 207.5 by 86.8 cm) by his hand is estimated ˆ40.000-60.000.
An extensive landscape by Jan Miel is situated near Rome, with the Saint Peters Cathedral in the background. It is a lively scene of numerous people, including members of the Swiss Guard, eating, drinking and making merry on a field near an encampment. The large oil on canvas is estimated ˆ 60.000-80.000. Jan Miel (1599 - 1664), born in the vicinity of Antwerp, later moved to Rome. Most of his pictures are scenes of rural life but Miel also painted frescoes in Roman churches and palaces. In 1658 he was made Court Painter at Turin, where he died in 1664. Works by Miel can be found in the Royal Collection Windsor and in Birmingham, Bologna, Edinburgh, Grenoble, London and Northampton.
A delicate still-life by Pieter Gerritsz van Roestraeten (Haarlem 1630 - 1700 London) pictures such items as a silver urn, a violin, a pearl necklace, a recorder, music sheets, a silver sugar pot, a book, a globe, a copper candlestick, a glass, a porcelain bowl, a pipe, a silver box and almonds, all on a wooden table, draped with a red cloth (ˆ 60.000-80.000). An apprentice of Frans Hals, Van Roestraeten married his daughter Adriaentje Hals and became one of the more successful of the many Dutch painters who tried to make a living in England during the late seventeenth century. His pictures fetched high prices, enabling him to remain in London for more than thirty years until his death in 1700.
Karel Beschey (Antwerp 1706 – 1770) is represented with a pair of summer and winter landscapes, both with elegant travellers and a horse-drawn wagon near a village, the summer landscape with peasants dancing and eating and the winter landscape with figures skating on a frozen river nearby. The pair of oil on panels, both signed, is estimated ˆ 60.000-80.000.
Of special interest is a group of paintings from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Scott Schaeffer, curator of paintings at the Museum, explains: “Not unlike many American Museums, the J. Paul Getty Museum has availed itself of the process referred to as ‘de-accessioning’ works of art. Throughout the brief history of the collection, works have been de-accessioned through various means. The Getty Museum was always intended to encourage an intimate relationship between the Museum’s collection and visitors. For this reason the collection will remain select and quite small in scale. The Amsterdam Old Master Paintings sale will feature some paintings to fulfil this mission and to make further funds available to purchase singular works of art better suited to the collection as it has changed over the years”. The works for the J.P. Getty Museum include an attractive View of Rhenen by Salomon van Ruysdael (Naarden 1600-1670 Haarlem), an oil on canvas of 72.4 by 107,3 cm, signed and dated 1660 (ˆ60.000-80.000). Also Anthonie Jansz van der Croos (Alkmaar 1606-1663 The Hague) is represented with an extensive Landscape with a view of Rhenen, an oil on canvas of 116. by 195.6 cm, signed and dated 1656 (ˆ30.000-40.000). Also included from this collection a by Govaert Flinck (Gentleman, ˆ30.000-40.000), Nicolaes Maes (Gentleman in Black, ˆ30.000-40.000) and Paulus H.