• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 11933

    Old Masters: Part I

    14 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 139

    Hendrick Gerritsz. Pot (Haarlem c.1585-1657 Amsterdam)

    Portrait of Jacob van der Merckt; and Portrait of Petronella Witsen

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    Hendrick Gerritsz. Pot (Haarlem c.1585-1657 Amsterdam)
    Portrait of Jacob van der Merckt; and Portrait of Petronella Witsen
    oil on panel
    each 16½ x 12 5/8 in. (41.8 x 32 cm.)
    a pair


    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

    This elegant pair of portraits, depicting the Amsterdam merchant Jacob van der Merckt (1599-1653) and his wife, Petronella Witsen (1602-1676), are fine examples of Pot’s small-scale full-lengths, a type of portraiture in which he excelled. The sitters are identified by labels on the reverse of the panels, which are inscribed by their great-great-great granddaughter, M. van Hoven van der Voort. The inscription on identifying the female sitter reads: 'Dit is het portrait...Pet.../nella Witsen de vrouw van/Jacob van der Merckt' ('This is a portrait of Petronella Wilson wife of Jacob van der Merckt').

    Based in Amsterdam, Jacob van der Merckt traded with Italy, the Levant and Greenland, and was the Regent of the Aalmoezenierweeshuis (Orphanage) in Amsterdam. He married Petronella in 1628 and these portraits may have been commissioned to commemorate that event. Following established portrait conventions, the sitters face one another while looking out at the viewer, the man appearing on the left and the woman on the right. The relatively stark interiors, consisting primarily of a richly draped table, upholstered chair and column, ensure that focus remains on the sumptuously attired subjects. This formula was clearly successful as Pot employed it in several other portraits, including a portrait of an unidentified woman of c. 1625-1635 in the Cleveland Museum of Art, and a second of c. 1635 in the Lichtenstein Museum, Vienna. The recurrence of the column suggests that it might have been in Pot's studio.

    The extent of Pot's oeuvre had been little recognized until relatively recently, since until the late 19th century many of his portraits were erroneously ascribed to artists such as Anthonie Palamedesz, Thomas de Keyser, Jacob Duck and even Frans Hals. Pot held various public offices in his home town of Haarlem, among them warden of the St. Luke's Guild (four times over) and, in 1635, dean. He served as first lieutenant of the militiamen's guard and appeared at that rank in two of Frans Hals' magnificent group portraits, the Officers and Sergeants of the St. Hadrian Guard, of 1633, and the Officers of the St. George Civic Guard, of c. 1639, both in the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Pot's reputation was not, however, limited to Haarlem. Indeed, he painted portraits of some of the most prominent political figures of the day. In 1620, he painted two versions of The Apotheosis of Prince William I, one of which was bought by the city of Haarlem for the stadhouder's Haarlem residence and the other by the Delft magistrates for the city's new Town Hall. Pot traveled to England in 1632 where he worked at the court of Charles I, painting at least two portraits of the King, one now in Paris, Musée du Louvre and another of the King together with Queen Henrietta Maria and the Prince of Wales in The Royal Collection (Buckingham Palace).

    Provenance

    Commissioned from the artist by Jacob and Petronella van der Merckt, Amsterdam, and by descent in 1676 to their daughter
    Petronella van der Merckt, Amsterdam, who married Burgemeester Bors van Waveren in c. 1660, and by descent to their daughter
    Jacoba Bors van Waveren (1666-1754), who married Abraham Ortt (1650-1691), and by descent to their daughter
    Jacoba Elisabeth Ortt, who married G. Bors van Waveren, Amsterdam.
    Van Eys, Amsterdam.
    M. van Hoven van der Voort, great-great-great granddaughter of the sitters, and by descent to her nephew and nieces
    Bock.
    Jonkheer P.H.A. Martini Buys, Rotterdam, by c. 1905.
    Anonymous sale; Amsterdam, 15 April 1947, lot 559.
    R.Th. Bijleveld, Velp, by 1952.
    Private collection, Hampshire, from at least 1980; Sotheby's, London, 5 July 1995, lot 48, where acquired by the present owner.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION


    Literature

    A. Bredius and H. van Rijsewijk, 'Hendrick Gerritsz. Pot', Oud Holland, V, 1887, p. 173, nos. XIII, XIV.
    E.W. Moes, Iconographia Batava, II, 1905, nos. 4969-1, 9168-1.
    E. De Jongh, Portretten van echt en trouw, exhibition catalogue, Haarlem, 1986, pp. 32, 33, figs. 20a, 20b.
    P. ten-Doesschate Chu, Im Lichte Hollands, exhibition catalogue, Basel, 1987, p. 202, under no. 75, n. 7.
    E. Blanken, Hendrick Gerritsz Pot (1580-1657): een studie naar zijn portretoeuvre, unpublished Master's thesis, 2012, pp. 73-74, nos. 12a and 12b.
    M.E. Wieseman, Gerard ter Borch, exhibition catalogue, Washington DC, 2004, p. 54, under no. 4, fig. 2 (the first only).


    Exhibited

    Rotterdam, Museum for History and Art, on loan c. 1905.
    Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Drie Eeuwen Portret in Nederland, 1952, nos. 128 and 129.
    Arnhem, Gemeentemuseum, 17e Eeuwse Meesters uit Gelders Bezit, 1953, nos. 52 and 53.
    Southampton, Southampton Art Gallery, on loan, 1980-1995.