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    Sale 2785

    19th Century European Art

    15 April 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 176

    Lizzy Ansingh (Dutch, 1875-1959)

    Het Knekelballet van Harry van Tussenbroek: the performance

    Price Realised  


    Lizzy Ansingh (Dutch, 1875-1959)
    Het Knekelballet van Harry van Tussenbroek: the performance
    signed and dated 'L.Ansingh./1944.' (lower right); and signed again and inscribed with title (on the reverse)
    oil on canvas
    120 x 140 cm.

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    The paintings of Lizzy Ansingh are often considered to be 'alienating': the dolls she portrayed are puppets with a soul and not merely lifeless toys. The present lot takes this one step further, as the marionettes are skeletons of birds. With the Skeleton Ballet Ansingh referres to a famous puppet theatre, the theatre of Harry van Tussenbroek, who was also a decor and costumemaker.

    Ansingh has chosen to depict the final scene of a ballet with the audience throwing flower wreaths, as the dancers and musicians are giving one last acte de presence. Curious birds glance at the stage. The painting has a somewhat foreboding undertone, as the wreaths allude to funeral wreaths, the garlands in the upper right resemble dust-traps and the skeletons could be a metaphor for the transitory aspect of life. However, the subject of music and dance is quite contradictory, being full of life and gaiety.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €5,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €400,001. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    Anonymous sale, Christie's, Amsterdam, 21 April 1993, lot 141.


    Johan H. van Eikeren, De Amsterdamse Joffers, Bussum, 1957, ill.no. 62.


    Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, Lizzy Ansingh, tentoonstelling naar aanleiding van den 75en verjaardag der schilderes, 14 October-5 November 1950, cat.no. 45.