Adriaen van der Werff (Kralingen-Ambacht 1659 - 1722 Rotterdam) & Eglon Hendrick van der Neer (Amsterdam circa 1634 - 1703 Düsseldorf) A Lady Playing the Lute and a Gentleman with a Viola da Gamba
oil on canvas. 19 3/4 by 15 in.; 50.2 by 38.1 cm. Est. 100,000—150,000 USD. Lot Sold 194,500 USD
PROVENANCE: Probably Hendrik Schut, Rotterdam;
His sale, Rotterdam, April 8, 1739, lot 1, for 305 guilders (as Adriaen van der Werff);
Possibly Pieter van Dorp sale, Leiden, Luchtmans, October 16, 1760, lot 2 for 260 guilders (as Caspar Netscher, with no mention of support, with dimensions of 20 1/2 by 16 1/2 in.);
Baron van Brienen van de Grootelindt, The Hague;
His sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, May 8, 1865, lot 47 for 2,600 francs to 'Say';
With Colnaghi, London, by whom sold to;
Emma Budge, New York and Hamburg;
Involuntary sale of her deceased estate, Berlin, Paul Graupe, scheduled for September 27, but postponed until October 4-6, 1937, lot 6 for RM 15,000 (as Caspar Netscher);
Eugene L. Garbáty, Schloss Alt-Doebern, Niederlausitz, and later Shore Haven, CT, until 1946;
With Bree and van Groot, The Hague, 1958;
With Leger Galleries, London, 1958 (as Constantine Netscher);
With Acquavella Gallery, New York;
Rudolf von Fluegge, New York;
His sale, New York, William Doyle, January 25, 1984, lot 23 (as Caspar Netscher);
With Richard Green Gallery, London, 1984 (as Eglon van der Neer), by whom sold to a private collector, Washington, D.C.;
With Johnny van Haeften, London, 1987-1994.
EXHIBITED: Hamburg, Kunsthalle, 1925, no. 248 (as Caspar Netscher);
New York, New School for Social Research, March 3-17, 1946;
Rotterdam, Historisch Museum, Rotterdamse Meesters uit de Gouden Eeuw, October 15, 1994 - January 15, 1995, cat. no. 71;
New York, The Chinese Porcelain Company, The Age of Gallantry, Fine and Decorative Arts of the Netherlands 1672-1800, October 12 - November 4, 1995, pp. 20-21, no. 5, reproduced (as Adriaen van der Werff);
Greenwich, Connecticut, The Bruce Museum, Pleasures of Collecting: Part I, Renaissance to Impressionist Masterpieces, September 21, 2002 - January 5, 2003, pp. 30, 95, reproduced (as Adriaen van der Werff).
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: G. Hoet, Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen met derzelver pryzen zedert een lange reeks von Jaaren zoo in Holland als op andere plaatzen in het openbaar verkogt, vol I, 1752, p. 52;
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters of the Seventeenth Century, London 1833, vol. IV, no. 103 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
Possibly C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Vol. V, London 1912, cat. no. 120 (as Caspar Netscher, without mention of support and with dimensions of 20 1/2 in. by 16 1/2 in.);
S. J. Gudlaugsson, 'Ten onrechte aan Caspar Netscher toegeschreven schilderijen van Adriaen van der Werff, Renier de la Haye, Thomas van der Wilt, en Johannes van Haensbergen', Oud Holland 65 (1950), pp. 242, 243, 246 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
B. Gaehtgens, Adriaen van der Werff, Munich 1987, pp. 203-205, cat. no. 9, reproduced, color plate 1 and p. 205 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
M. E. Wieseman, Caspar Netscher and late seventeenth century Dutch painting, (Ph.D. dissertation Columbia University, New York) Ann Arbor, Michigan 1991, C59, p. 511 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
N. Schadee, Rotterdamse Meesters uit de Gouden Eeuw, exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam 1994, p.246, cat. no. 71, reproduced p. 259 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
M.E. Wieseman, Caspar Netscher and Late Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting, Doornspijk 2002, no. C66, p. 351;
P.C. Sutton, Pleasures of Collecting: Part I, Renaissance to Impressionist Masterpieces, Greenwich 2002, p. 30 and 95, reproduced p. 30 (as Adriaen van der Werff);
W. Franits, Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting, New Haven 2004, p. 254, fig. 235 (as Adriaen van der Werff).
NOTE: Adriaen van der Werff is well known as one of the greatest practitioners of historical, religious and mythological painting from the last quarter of the seventeenth and the first quarter of the eighteenth century. The artist enjoyed a stellar career, working for the Elector Palatine, Johann Wilhelm, who appointed him court painter; in 1703 Van der Werff was granted a knighthood, and he added the word "Chevalier" to his signature. After the death of the Elector, the artist worked for King August II of Poland and other important collectors in Russia and throughout Europe.
In outlining this successful career, one is inclined to overlook a vital element of Van der Werff's art, namely his exquisite genre paintings, all created at the beginning of his career. The oversight is understandable, when we realize that the young artist produced less than twenty paintings that fall into this category. Still, this group of surviving works represents a substantial contribution to the development of genre painting in the last quarter of the seventeenth century. It was a point when the craft of the Leiden fijnschilders had developed to a point of overly refined and porcelain-like finishes, perhaps best exemplified in the work of Adriaen van der Werff's principal teacher, Eglon van der Neer (Amsterdam ca. 1634 – Dusseldorf 1703).
Van der Werff studied in Rotterdam under Eglon van der Neer from 1671 to 1677, when the latter traveled in Flanders, finally settling in Brussels in 1679. However, it is safe to say that pupil and teacher stayed in touch during the latter's journeys, for in 1678 they both signed a painting of a Woman and a Man at a Table, now in The Hermitage. The painting in question was always regarded as a singular work by Adriaen van der Werff, but when one examines it closely, the signature of Eglon van der Neer is clearly visible as well. By comparing the painting to other pictures by both artists from this period, it is clear that Van der Neer and not Van der Werff was responsible for much of the Hermitage painting, while the pupil must have contributed at least the head of the woman, if not her entire body. The young Van der Werff signed and dated the painting on the sheet of paper that hangs over the table edge. It is plausible that he completed the unfinished work of his master.
There is reason to believe, as Eddy Shavemaker does (see Literature), that this painting is also a collaborative work. After one assumes this to be true, the pieces of the puzzle fall readily into place. The painting of the woman in this case must be largely by Van der Neer, while the man is typical of the facial types of Van der Werff. In particular, one can compare the man's smiling countenance with the grimace on the youth in Boy playing a Drum, a signed painting by Van der Werff that in turn is based on a 1676 picture by his teacher (see Gaehtgens, op cit., pp. 202-04, no. 7 and fig. 7a).
Whatever the extent of the collaboration, the Woman playing the Lute and a Gentleman with a Viola da Gamba was quickly regarded as a work solely by Van der Werff, especially after his career eclipsed that of his teacher. In 1739, only seventeen years after the artist died, it is most likely that this painting appeared in a Rotterdam sale, where it was described as "a Man and a Young woman who plays the Guitar [sic.] by Adriaen van der Werff. From here it probably passed to Pieter van Dorp, whose sale catalogue more accurately described the picture, but already the authorship changed to Caspar Netscher. In the great Grootelindt collection of The Hague, which was sold in Paris in 1865, the attribution reverted to Van der Werff; later it sold again as Caspar Netscher, a name that remained with the painting for nearly 85 years until 1984, when Richard Green acquired it as a Netscher and realized that it was instead by Eglon van der Neer. The painting was sold to an American collector, who canvassed the opinions of various scholars and eventually concluded that the painting should be reassigned to Adriaen van der Werff. The confusion is understandable, given the likelihood that this is a collaborative effort. As such, it stands as testimony to a unique relationship between master and pupil in seventeenth-century Holland.
This painting is offered in cooperation with the estate of Emma Budge.
Sotheby's. Old Master Paintings, European Sculpture & Antiquities. 04 Jun. New York www.sothebys.com