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Jan Toorop (1858-1928)
EXCEPTIONAL WORKS FROM THE TRITON COLLECTION FOUNDATIONChristie’s is honoured to be offering for sale a significant group of works from the Triton Collection Foundation, which continues to evolve and grow in new areas. The collection spans a range of artistic movements from early Impressionism through to Post-War art, establishing the Foundation as a leading institution to carry out its many philanthropic aims. Over many years the Foundation has considered public access to its works as a fundamental pillar of its collecting ethos. A continuous dialogue with curators around the world and an extensive loan programme to over seventy museums globally have made this dream a reality and benefited exhibitions at the likes of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, the Seoul Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art. These collaborations have ensured that an international audience has consistently had the opportunity to appreciate the quality and breadth of the collection, which stretches from classic Impressionism through to Surrealism and beyond to Post-War work by the major American artists. The sales of the major works in this season’s auctions will give the opportunity to the Foundation to continue its excellent, philanthropic work. The last major de-acquisition from the collection took place in our salerooms in Paris in March 2015 when the Exceptional Works on Paper from the Triton Collection Foundation sale elicited huge interest from collectors and public institutions around the globe: Those works, which had been collected by its founders over many years, saw spectacular prices for top quality pieces by artists such as Camille Pissarro and Fernand Léger, further to the numerous world record prices achieved for works on paper by Claude-Emile Schuffenecker, Paul-Elie Ranson and Frédéric Bazille. This strong market reaction is in recognition of the eye with which they had originally been selected. The group of works being sold across our Impressionist sales here in London includes seminal examples of French Impressionism, Post-Impressionism and the European avant-garde, from Claude Monet’s luminous Vétheuil of 1879 to Jan Toorop’s resonating symbolist 1902 composition, Faith and Reward. Each of these works has been bought with a very discerning eye, and often the provenances of the pieces are as noble as the works themselves. We wish the Foundation great success with these sales as well as their future projects and continuous development of the Triton Collection Foundation. Jussi PylkkänenGlobal President, Christie’s
Jan Toorop (1858-1928)

Faith and Reward

Details
Jan Toorop (1858-1928)
Faith and Reward
signed and dated 'J.Th. Toorop 1.1902' (lower left)
pastel, charcoal, black chalk, and pencil on paper, laid down on canvas
41 1/2 x 38 1/8 in. (105.3 x 96.8 cm.)
Executed in January 1902
Provenance
Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, by whom acquired in 1903.
Dr Max Stern, Dusseldorf.
Seized from storage by the Gestapo in 1941 and sold at Auktionshaus Hugo Hufschmidt, Cologne.
Galerie Goyert, Cologne.
Dr M. Schulte, Cologne, restitution claim from Dr Max Stern settled in 1954.
Anonymous sale, Van Ham, Cologne, 15 November 2000, lot 793.
French & Company, New York, by 2001.
Triton Collection Foundation, The Netherlands, by whom acquired from the above in March 2001.
Literature
J. de Boer, ‘Twee pastelteekeningen’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 367, pp. 28-29.
R.N. Roland Holst, ‘Flirtation’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 371, pp. 37-38.
J. de Boer, ‘Een lesje’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 372, pp.46-48.
R.N. Roland Holst, ‘Repliek’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 373, p. 58
J. de Boer, ‘Nog enkele woorden’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 374, p.66.
P., ‘Tentoonstelling Toorop bij mevr. De Wed. Oldenzeel van begin februari tot half maart 1902’, in Onze Kunst, vol. 1, 1902, p. 112.
A. Plasschaert, ’Jan Toorop bij Oldenzeel, Rotterdam’, in De Kroniek, Een Algemeen Weekblad, vol. 8, 1902, no. 374, pp. 65-66.
H. Dekking, Groene Amsterdammer, 16 February 1902.
V. Pica, 'Artisti Contemporanei: Jan Toorop', in Emporium, vol. XXII, no. 127, Naples, July 1905 (illustrated p. 15).
Exh. cat., Tentoonstelling Jan Toorop Larenche Kunsthandel, Amsterdam, 1909, (illustrated).
A. Plasschaert, 'J. Th. Toorop. Gegevens', in Opmerkingen en gegevens over schilderkunst, Delft, 1914, no. XXVI, pp. 46 & 52.
Welt-Kunst, vol. XXII, 1952, no. 15, p. 18.
A. Plasschaert, Jan Toorop, Amsterdam, 1925, pp. 26 & 40.
P. Mertens, ‘De brieven van Jan Toorop aan Octave Maus’, Bulletin des Musées royaux des beaux-arts de Belgique, vol. 18, 1969, pp. 199-201.
G.W.C. van Wezel, 'Waarde Mejuffrouw Marius. Brieven van Jan Toorop', in Jong Holland, vol. I, 1985, no. 4, pp. 14, 16 & 20 (illustrated fig. 24).
L. Tebbe, Vier kunstdebatten omstreeks 1900, Nijmegen, 2000, pp. 71-76 (illustrated p. 72).
M. Bisanz-Prakken, Toorop/Klimt. Toorop in Wenen:inspiratie voor Klimt, Zwolle, 2006, p. 53 (illustrated p. 74).
S. van Heugten, Avant-gardes: 1870 to the Present, the Collection of the Triton Foundation, Brussels, 2012, pp. 168 & 565 (illustrated p. 169).
Exhibited
Rotterdam, Kunstzalen Oldenzeel, Teekeningen en studien van J.Th. Toorop, January 1902, no. 1.
Brussels, La Libre Esthétique. Neuvième Exposition, February - March 1902, no. 269b.
Katwijk, Nederlandsche Visscherij- en Schilderijententoonstelling, July - October 1902, no. 63.
Krefeld, Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Niederlandische kunstaustelllung, May – August 1903, no 155.
Munich, Kunstausstellungsgebäude am Königsplatz, Frühjahr Ausstellung des Vereins bildender Künstler Münchens 'Secession', 1903, no. 217.
Wiesbaden, Rathaus, Wiesbadener Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst. Ausstellung der Holländischen Secession, October 1903, no. 55 (titled ‘Glaube und Arbeit’).
Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Vier Generaties. Een eeuw lang de kunstenaarsfamilie Toorop/ Fernhout, October 2001 - February 2002, no. 31, pp. 56-58 & 154 (illustrated pp. 57 & 58).
Katwijk, Katwijks Museum, Kunst, Visserij en Handel. Toorop, Sluiter, Munthe en de Schilderijententoonstellingvan 1902, July - October 2002, p. 87.
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Van Monet tot Picasso, Meisterwerken op papier 1860-1980, November 2002 - February 2003.
Domburg, Marie Tak von Poortvliet Museum, Nieuw licht! Jan Toorop en de Domburgsche Tentoonstellingen 1911-1921, June - November 2011, p. 39 (illustrated p. 38).
Rotterdam, Kunsthal, Avant-gardes: De collectie van de Triton Foundation, October 2012 - January 2013.
The Hague, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, Jan Toorop: Gezang der Tijden, February - May 2016; this exhibition later travelled to Munich, Villa Stuck, October 2016 - Jan 2017, and Berlin, Museum Bröhan, February – May 2017.
Sale Room Notice
Please note the correct dimensions for this work are 41 1/2 x 38 1/8 in. (105.3 x 96.8 cm.) and not as stated in the printed catalogue.

Brought to you by

Keith Gill
Keith Gill

Lot Essay

To be included in the Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work, currently being prepared by G.W.C. van Wezel.

‘The boundless sensitivity of Toorop’s rich, restless aptitude has found its perfect fulfilment in this type of art. Every means of expression suits him. A painting for him is by no means a representation of a fragment of reality, but, in profuse plastic language, it is an orchestra of voices taken from life and memory and recreated by the artist in a concentrated whole of dramatic force.’ (Jan Veth, February 1893, quoted in R. Siebelhoff, ‘The Three Brides: A Drawing by Jan Toorop,’ in Nederlands Kunsthisotrisch Jaarboek (NKJ)/ Netherlands Yearbook for History of Art, Vol. 27, 1976, p. 257).

Created in 1902, Jan Toorop’s masterful drawing Faith and Reward elegantly demonstrates the nuanced and idiosyncratic approach to symbolism that characterised the artist’s oeuvre at the turn of the century. Earning a reputation as a sharp observer of life, Toorop combined elements of social realism with profound emotion in his compositions, offering an acute insight into the everyday hardships of the common man. While Toorop had begun to explore symbolism in his paintings from the 1890s onwards, following his exposure to the literature of Maurice Maeterlinck and Emile Verhaeren, his works always remained rooted in his experiences of the real world, retaining an element of a more practical, socially-minded art, which marked him out as one of the most penetrating and sensitive artists of his day. While living in Brussels, Toorop became involved in the avant-garde exhibiting society Les XX, which allowed him to cultivate a number of important friendships and professional relationships with fellow artists, including Théo van Rysselberghe and James Ensor. His symbolist visions would subsequently inspire such artists as Gustav Klimt, who had been immediately struck by the powerful linear quality and sense of mysticism in Toorop’s work, which he had seen at the twelfth Vienna Secession in 1901.

In Faith and Reward, the artist focuses on the desperation and hardships faced by a typical fishing family. The man of the house, a fisherman by trade, is filled with frustration and disappointment at the paltry wages he has received for his labours, toiling away on a fishing boat in the dangerous North Sea. His eyes fill with tears as he holds his hand out to show his wife the three coins he has received, while two other women look on, their joy at his safe return fading at the revelation of the coins. Representing three different generations, from aged mother to suffering wife and young, innocent daughter, the women stand as emblems of all those who wait anxiously for the return of their loved ones, dependent on their work and bravery for their own survival. The picture’s message is obvious – the three coins will not be enough to sustain the family of four, and so the fisherman will have to leave again almost immediately to find more work. The scene is made all the more poignant by the presence of the woman just visible through the window, who rushes past as she hurries about her business, oblivious to the dramas taking place in the cottage. She stands as a stark reminder that the scene is not an unusual one amongst these communities, but rather one that most families face. The ship that cuts through the water in the distance, meanwhile, may allude to the many distant loved ones at sea, risking their lives at the same moment in time, a detail which emphasises the universality of the family’s predicament.

The subject matter of Faith and Reward was directly shaped by Toorop’s first-hand experience of the fishermen who made their living along the Netherlandish coast, following his move to the isolated sea-side town of Katwijk aan Zee, just west of Leiden, during the spring of 1890. The people and the harsh realities of their way of life became a frequent subject in his art after this date, with the artist finding a universal symbol of hope and survival in their practices, traditions, and faith. Indeed, the role of religion in the lives of the fisherman and his family adds an intriguing subtext to Faith and Reward. As the fisherman glances towards the small image of Christ in the far left hand corner of the composition, drawing our eyes to its presence in the process, he is overcome with emotion. Contemplating the difficulties which lie ahead, he seeks solace and hope in the image of Christ. Despite its state of disrepair, the picture remains a central feature of the home, its prominence reflecting the importance of faith and religion in their lives. While the broken glass may be a symbol for the endurance of their faith even in such times of desperation, it may also reflect an internal crisis within the fisherman, as his belief in a greater power is tested by the circumstances in which he finds himself.

The everyday hardships of ordinary man was a prevailing theme in literature and theatre at this time, and several contemporary critics linked Faith and Reward to the works of the Dutch playwright Herman Heijermans, who was also living on the western coast of the Netherlands at this time. Indeed, Toorop and Heijermans enjoyed a close friendship during this period, as is evident from the lively correspondence they shared. Like Toorop, Heijerman’s first hand experiences of the brutal conditions under which the local fishermen worked informed his artistic output, particularly the theatre piece Op Hoop van Zegen, which was staged for the first time in December 1900, just as Toorop was working on Faith and Reward. Becoming an instant success amongst Dutch audiences, the drama was a sharp indictment of the exploitation of Netherlandish fishermen at the turn of the century, exploring the harsh choices which every family faced to survive, and the stoic suffering of the women left behind as their loved ones venture out to sea. Similarly, in Toorop’s composition the three women that surround the fisherman occupy a central role in the symbolism of the painting, their worried expressions evoking a sense of despair and resignation, as they remain unable to change their circumstances or fate.

Faith and Reward was completed in January 1902, and was immediately exhibited at the Kunstzalen Oldenzeel in Rotterdam, quickly followed by the spring salon of ‘Le Libre Esthétique’ in Brussels. While the drawing was well received by critics, with many complementing the subtle psychological insight of the artist’s vision, a debate raged among art critics in the local press regarding the title of the work, as some protested against the use of the word ‘wages.’ The drawing subsequently became known as Faith and Reward, and was purchased by the Kunstmuseum in Wiesbaden, shortly after its exhibition in the city in the Autumn of 1903.

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