• Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen auction at Christies

    Sale 7822

    Cabinet d'un Amateur Européen

    9 December 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 407

    Bernard Keilhau (Italian, 1624-1687)

    Fishmonger, a boy and a cat weighing ham


    Bernard Keilhau (Italian, 1624-1687)
    Fishmonger, a boy and a cat weighing ham
    oil on canvas
    37 5/8 x 52 in. (95.8 x 132.3 cm.)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Contact the department

    Eberhart Caspersen Keilhau was born at Elsinore in Denmark, the son of a German painter of modest ability from Meissen and his Dutch wife. After six years of training in Denmark, Keilhau was able, through his mother's contacts, to gain a position in Rembrandt's studio in Amsterdam, in which he spent two years (1642-4). He subsequently worked for the prominent dealer Hendrick Uylenburgh for three years, and then ran his own shop in Amsterdam there for four years, before travelling to Italy. He arrived in Venice in 1651, moved to Bergamo in 1654 for a number of months, and sojourned briefly in Milan before setting out for Rome. There, in 1657, despite the plague which had infested the city since the previous summer, Keilhau settled definitively, marrying and converting to Catholicism.
    Heimbuerger, op. cit. suggests that the present picture was probably painted during Keil's brief period in Bergamo and points out that a set of scales featured in the arms of the prominent Bergamask family Pesenti, may provide a clue for the interpretation of the enigmatic subject.

    Special Notice

    VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium


    Anonymous sale; Christie's, London, 16 December 1998, lot 58, where acquired by the present owner.


    M. Heimbuerger, Bernardo Keilhau detto Mons Bernardo, Rome, 1988, p. 197, no. 89 (illustrated).