Private Tastes: Collection in the Old Masters Evening Sale
One of the most noticeable aspects of our forthcoming Old Master Paintings Evening sale this July is the number of small private collections represented within it, and the distinct taste that they each bespeak. Perhaps the most coherent is the group of four ‘Dutch and Flemish paintings from an Important European Collection’ grouped in the catalogue as lots 6 to 9. The four works, each beautifully preserved, were all painted within the space of a decade. Three are on copper, and all are minutely observed in their detail.
The northern Dutch port city of Middelburg is, perhaps more than any other place, responsible for the birth and subsequent popularity of the genre of still life painting. It is, and must have been more so in 1600, a very isolated place, stuck out as it is into the North Sea on the end of a chain of islands separated by muddy channels between the estuaries of the Schelde and the branches of the Rhine. It is all the more remarkable therefore not just for its cradling the genre of still life painting through its infancy, but in the fact of the genre’s wider and speedy dissemination through the Netherlands and Europe in the early years of the 17th century.
The Tulips, roses, narcissi, daffodils, crocuses and other flowers in a porcelain vase by Christoffel van den Berghe is a work of the utmost rarity that conjures much of what early Middelburg flower painting is all about. It is rooted in the style of, and proof of Van den Berghe’s training under, Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder. The wonderful red and yellow parrot tulip is in fact borrowed form a Bosschaert of about five years earlier.
London | 3 July 2013
1. Christoffel van den Berghe’s Tulips, Roses, Narcissi, Daffodils, Crocuses, an Iris, a Poppy and Other Flowers in a Gilt Mounted Porcelain Vase on a Ledge, with a Queen of Spain Fritillary, a White Ermine and a Magpie Butterfly.
2. Bartholomeus Grondonck’s Kermesse of Oudenarde, 1617.
3. Anton Mirou’s A River Landscape with Elegant Figures on a Path, a Village on the Far Bank.
4. Joos de Momper’s Winter Landscape with Travellers Passing Through an Avenue of Trees.