Workshop of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, called Jacob van Amsterdam (Oostsanen c. 1472/7-c. 1533 Amsterdam)
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF JACQUES GOUDSTIKKER (Lots 7-18 and 51-66) A renowned tastemaker of astounding range and accomplishments, Jacques Goudstikker was the preeminent dealer and art collector in the Netherlands before the Second World War. Today, paintings that passed through his gallery hang on the walls of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, to name a few. He was known as an extraordinarily vital and generous person, an entrepreneur, and a deeply thoughtful intellectual, whose lavish catalogues and sumptuous exhibitions were essential in shaping the Dutch experience of European paintings in the first decades after the turn of the 20th century. In the words of Peter C. Sutton, “By all accounts, Jacques Goudstikker was a larger-than-life figure who helped shape the taste of his age, enlarged the Dutch art market, advanced art history, and lived a prosperous and abundantly joyful life until it was brutally interrupted by the Nazis.” (Reclaimed: Paintings from Collections of Jacques Goudstikker, exhibition catalogue, New York, 2008, p. 15). After fleeing Holland in 1940, Goudstikker tragically perished during the passage to Dover. In 2006, in a landmark decision, over 200 of Goudstikker’s paintings which had been looted by Nazi officials were returned to Goudstikker’s heir, Marei von Saher. Not long after, a celebratory exhibition was mounted in Greenwich and New York to celebrate both this decision and Goudstikker’s legacy. Today, Christie’s is honored to present a selection of restituted pictures which exemplify Goudstikker’s sensitive appreciation of art from across the Netherlands, France, and Italy, and showcase his wide-ranging and sophisticated taste.
Workshop of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, called Jacob van Amsterdam (Oostsanen c. 1472/7-c. 1533 Amsterdam)

Jacob and Esau

Workshop of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, called Jacob van Amsterdam (Oostsanen c. 1472/7-c. 1533 Amsterdam)

Jacob and Esau
oil on panel
16½ x 12 3/8 in. (41.9 x 31.3 cm.)

Moreno, Paris.
Van Stolk, Haarlem.
Amedée (Roubaix) Prouvost; Fredrick Muller & Co., Amsterdam, 27 October 1927, lot 409.
with Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1930; inv. 2502.
Looted by the Nazi authorities, July 1940.
Recovered by the Allies, 1945.
in the custody of the Dutch Government.
Restituted in February 2006 to the heir of Jacques Goudstikker.
M.J. Friedländer, 1922, p. 606.
K. Steinbart, 1929, 'Nachlese im Werk des Jacob Cornelisz. von Amsterdam', Marburger Jarbuch für Kunstwissenschaft, V (1929), p. 46, as Jacob van Amsterdam.
M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, Brussels, 1975, XII, p. 115, no. 249, pl. 139, as Jacob van Amsterdam.
K. Steinbart, Nachlese im Werke Jac. Corn, pp. 8 and 31.
J.L. Carroll, The Paintings of Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, 1472-?1533, diss., Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina, 1986, pp. 83-4, under no. 1, fig. 1.
Old Master paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, Rijksdienst Beelende Kunst (The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts), The Hague, 1992, p. 71, no. 471.

Amsterdam, Jacques Goudstikker Gallery, Catalogue des Nouvelles Acquisitions de la Collection Goudstikker, November 1930-January 1931, no. 39.
Rotterdam, Kunstkring, Acquisitions de la Collection Goudstikker, 20 December 1930-3 January 1931, no. 9.
Amsterdam, Bijbelsche Kunst in Rijksmuseum, 8 July-8 October 1939, no. 20a.
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Kerst-tentoonstelling, 1954-55, no. S4, as 'Jacob Corn. van Oostsanen'.
Sale room notice
Please note that this painting is in an engaged frame.

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Lot Essay

The narrative in this painting relates to the story of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac and Rebecca, recounted in Genesis, chapters 25 and 27. In the background on the left Esau returns hungry from a hunt and sells his birthright to his younger brother Jacob in exchange for a 'mess of potage' (a bowl of red lentils). The other elements relate to the story of Jacob's theft of Esau's blessing from their father. In the center background, the aged, blind Isaac asks Esau - his favorite - to hunt a deer (seen in the landscape background) and prepare him a dish of venison for a last meal when he will give him his blessing (and his inheritance). To the right, Rebecca tells Jacob - her favorite - what has happened, and instructs him to bring two goat kids from which she will prepare a meal for Jacob to give to their father while disguised as Esau. In the foreground, Jacob presents the dish to Isaac who, unable to tell the deception from his blindness, mistakenly gives his blessing to the younger son.

The panel has in the past been regarded as a fully autograph work by Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen, and is now generally regarded as having been painted to Jacob's design in his workshop, possibly a version of a now-lost work. Jacob's output is of particular interest as he is another of the key figures in the development of painting in the Netherlands, along with his contemporary Lucas van Leyden. He was the central member of a family of painters that included his brother, Cornelis Buys I (widely accepted as being the Master of Alkmaar), his son, Dirk Jacobsz., and his nephew, Cornelis Buys II; he was also the teacher of Jan van Scorel who was active in his workshop. Relatively little, however, is known of Jacob's training and early life, although on stylistic grounds it has been suggested that he may have learned his trade as a goldsmith or designer of woodcuts (some 200 of the latter survive from his maturity). Some suggestion as to his subsequent training may, however, be inferred from the stylistic affinities of his figure types with those of the Haarlem-based Master of the Figdor Deposition (a Geertgen follower) and the more Germanic Master of the St. Bartholomew Altarpiece.

As noted by Jane Carroll, op. cit., the composition of the present panel, with its architecture dividing the various scenes, recalls Jacob's Scenes from the Life of Saint Hubert of 1510-11, with which it shares an intuitive handling of perspective - notably in the sharply receding floors. Carroll also compares the slender, almost willowy figures of both works with those of the Crucifixion of circa 1510 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, remarking in particular on the similarities between the face and hair of the foreground figure of Jacob in the present foreground and the young horsemen on the right edge of the Crucifixion, and those between the figure of Rebecca in the present foreground and that of Saint Veronica in the Amsterdam picture. As such, Carroll suggests that the composition dates from a similar point in Jacob's early maturity, c. 1510, displaying the artist's debt to the Haarlem school of the late Gothic period.

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