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    Sale 7610

    Important Old Master & British Pictures Day Sale Including Property From The Collection Of The Princely House Of Liechtenstein

    9 July 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 115

    Jan Claeissins (? c. 1565-1653 Bruges)

    The panels of an altarpiece: Saint Lawrence; Saint George; Saint Francis; and A kneeling donor

    Price Realised  

    Jan Claeissins (? c. 1565-1653 Bruges)
    The panels of an altarpiece: Saint Lawrence; Saint George; Saint Francis; and A kneeling donor
    the fourth signed dated '1628 Ioan. Claeiss. F.' (lower left, on the lectern), dated '·ÆTATIS· 69· Ao· 1628·' (lower left), and bearing the arms Or, the letters L and C for 'Liefde Christi' sable, linked by lacs d'amour gules
    oil on panel
    the first 36 x 13¼ in. (91.5 x 33.6 cm.); the second 35½ x 12¾ in. (90.2 x 32.5 cm.); the third 35½ x 12¾ in. (90.2 x 32.5 cm.); the fourth 35½ x 12¾ in. (90.2 x 32.5 cm.)
    the first inscribed with the number '31' (to the immediate left of the Saint's head)
    a set of four


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    It has been suggested that the letters L and C in the coat-of-arms in the donor's panel may stand for the phrase 'Liefde Christi', the Flemish rendering of a Christian motto--The Love of Christ--with widespread and long-standing currency, especially in the Low Countries and Germany. The two letters are linked by tassled elaborately-looped lacs d'amour--love knots--a motif popular in Netherlandish heraldry and decoration. More commonly associated with female sitters, here it reiterates the meaning of the initials, stressing the donor's piety and love for Christ.

    The flag held by Saint George, De France, au franc-quartier d'argent trois croissants de gueules, is either a real or pseudo-historical heraldic device indicating a connection to French Flanders, where many towns and families bore arms 'De France'.

    The number '31' to the left of the head of Saint Lawrence lends these four panels a particular art-historical interest; it is possible that it corresponds to a system of numbering saints in litanies and in the calendar of the liturgical year. It has been suggested that these four saints may have been part of a larger series, kept in a church or monastery to demonstrate visually the progression of the year from saint to saint, observed in the service as a passing from prayer to prayer. Such series occur more often in printed form, each saint numbered to match a list or a calendar; a painted set, no matter how abbreviated, would have been a considerable luxury, the pride of the institution that owned it.

    We are grateful to Jan van Helmont for his help with this note.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    with F. Goldmann, Vienna, as by Lucas van Leyden, until 1816, when acquired by
    Johann I Josef, Prince of Liechtenstein, Duke of Troppau and Jägerndorf (1760-1836), and by descent in the Garden Palace at Rossau (where recorded by Falke in 1873 and 1885, loc. cit.), until March 1941, when moved to Gaming, Styria (inv. nos. G 723, G 724, G 726 and G 727), until February 1945, when moved to Laufen bei Ischl, until 3 April 1945, when moved to Reichenau, Island, Lake Constance, until 21 April 1945, when moved to Schloss Vaduz, Liechtenstein, until the present.


    Literature

    G.F. Waagen, Die vornehmsten Kunstdenkmäler in Wien, Vienna, 1866, p. 283.
    J. Falke, Katalog der Fürstlich Liechtensteinischen Bilder-Galerie im Gartenpalais der Rossau zu Wien, Vienna, 1873, p. 119, no. 1039.
    J. Falke, Katalog der Fürstlich Liechtensteinischen Bilder-Galerie im Gartenpalais der Rossau zu Wien, Vienna, 1885, p.97 no. 723.
    L. Scheibler, 'Über altdeutsche Gemälde in der Kaiserlichen Galerie zu Wien', in Repintorium für Kunstwissenschaft, 1887, X, p. 304.
    W.H.J. Weale, 'Claessins (Claeissz, Claeiss, Claissz, Claissens), Jan', in U. Thieme and F. Becker, Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler, Leipzig, 1912, VII, p. 32, 'Wien, Gal. Liechtenstein, zwei Altarflügel mit den Hl. Laurentius, Fanziskus und Mauritius und einem Stifter, bez. Ioan. Claeissz F. 1628'.
    A. Kronfeld, Führer durch die Fürstlich Liechtensteinsche Gemäldegalerie in Wien, Vienna, 1931, p. 142, no. 723.