Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606-1684 Antwerp)
Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606-1684 Antwerp)
Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606-1684 Antwerp)
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Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606-1684 Antwerp)
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Specifed lots (sold and unsold) marked with a fill… Read more PROPERTY OF THE HEIRS OF JACOB LIERENS (LOTS 21 AND 22)
JAN DAVIDSZ. DE HEEM (UTRECHT 1606-1684 ANTWERP)

A banquet still life

Details
JAN DAVIDSZ. DE HEEM (UTRECHT 1606-1684 ANTWERP)
A banquet still life
signed 'J.D. de Heem' (lower centre, on the sheet of music)
oil on canvas
54 ¾ x 45 ¼ in. (139.2 x 115.1 cm.)
Provenance
(Possibly) Clemens August of Bavaria (1700-1761), Archbishop Elector of Cologne, Bishop of Paderborn, Hildesheim and Osnabrück, before at least 1761; his sale (†), Bonn, 22 May 1764 (=8th day), lot 67, ‘Un grand Tableau à Fruits de quatre pieds six pouces de hauteur & trois pieds neuf pouces de largeur, peint par Jean de Heen’ (54 x 45 in.) (54.30 Rt to the following),
Simon Mordechai Baruch (1716-1802), Bad Mergentheim and Bonn.
Anonymous sale; Christian Benjamin Rauschner, Frankfurt, 1765, lot 250, 'Auf Leinwand, Hoch 4 Schuh 6 Zoll, breit 3 Schuh 9 Zoll, Ein Stück mit Früchten. Auf Tuch gemahlt. C'est un tableau avec des fruits. Peint sur de la toile’ (54 x 45 in.).
Charles Searle Hayne (1833-1903), London; his sale (†), Christie’s, London, 16 April 1904, lot 105 (600 gns. to Schaeffer).
Henri James Simon (1851-1932), Berlin, by 1906.
Mrs. U.M. Kneppelhout-Van Braam, Oosterbeek / Mr. Egbert de Langen, Amsterdam / Mr. Count Bottaro Costa, The Hague; Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, 16 December 1919, lot 29 (8,500 guilders).
Anonymous sale; Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, 12 April 1921, lot 4a (acquired by Jonas Alexander van Bever, Amsterdam, on behalf of the following),
Jacob Lierens (1877-1949); his sale, Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, 14 October 1941 (=1st day), lot 311 (NLG 34,000).
Acquired for the “Sonderauftrag Linz” via Hans Posse, 22 October 1941 (for FL. 37,700.- or 30,000 RM) (Linz No. 2044).
Recovered by the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section, transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point (MCCP No. 4973), 19 July 1945.
Transferred to Amsterdam from the above, 8 July 1946.
Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit, The Netherlands, 1946, inv. no. 1010, and placed under the custody of the following,
Dienst voor’s Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen, Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed, inv. no. NK 2711.
On long-term loan from the above to the Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 1948-2019, inv. no. 10231.
Restituted to the heirs of Jacob Lierens, 2019.
Literature
R. van Lutterveld, Kunst van Nederland. Schilders van het Stilleven, Naarden, 1947, pp. 23, 46 and 50, fig. 23.
C.H. de Jonge, Centraal Museum - Utrecht. Catalogus der schilderijen, Utrecht, 1952, pp. 56-7, no. 137 (with inaccurate provenance).
E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Brussels, 1956, pp. 103, 171 and 174 (as two different paintings).
A.P. de Mirimonde, 'Joris et Jan van Son dans les Musées de province', in La Revue des Arts, X, 1960, pp. 7-18.
P. Gammelbo, 'La natura morta Olandese nel seicento', in Antichità Viva 6, 1963, fig. 7.
J. Foucart, Musées de Hollande, la peinture néerlandaise, Paris, 1965, section 33.
G. Bott, 'Stilleben des 17. Jahrhunderts. Jacob Marrell', in Kunst in Hessen und am Mittelrhein, VI, 1966, p. 110.
M.E. Houtzager, et. al., Röntgenonderzoek van de oude schilderijen in het Centraal Museum te Utrecht, Utrecht, 1967, pp. 238-9.
A.P. de Mirimonde, 'Musique et symbolisme chez Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Cornleis Janszoon en Jan II Janszoon de Heem', in Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1970, pp. 280-2, fig. 38 (confusing this painting and its copy).
L. Grisebach, Willem Kalf 1619-1693, Berlin, 1974, p. 125.
R.D. Leppert, The theme of Music in Flemish Paintings of the seventeenth century, II, Munich and Salzburg, 1977, no. 270.
F.W. Robinson, W.H. Wilson, L. Silver, Catalogue of the Flemish and Dutch Paintings 1400-1900, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota FL, 1980, no. 84 (entry by F.W. Robinson).
E. Greindl, Les peintres flamands de nature morte au XVIIe siècle, Sterrebeek, 1983 (2nd ed.), pp. 124, 249, figs. 130, 360 (no. 26) and 362 (no. 131).
O. ter Kuile, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst. The Netherlands Office for Fine Arts The Hague. Catalogue of Paintings by Artists Born before 1870. Volume VI. Seventeenth-century North Netherlandish Still Lifes, The Hague, 1985, pp. 50, figs. 33, 51, 116-7 (no. VI-27), 204 and 206.
F.G. Meijer, 'Book review of O. ter Kuile, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst. The Netherlands Office for Fine Arts The Hague. Catalogue of Paintings by Artists Born before 1870. Volume VI. Seventeenth-century North Netherlandish Still Lifes', in Oud Holland, C, 1986, pp. 204-206.
I. Ember, et. al., Niederländisch malerei des 17. Jahrhundert aus Budapest, exhibition catalogue, Cologne and Utrecht, Wallraf-Richartz Museum and Centraal Museum, 1987, p. 41, fig. 8 (entry by J. de Meyere).
H. Robels, Frans Snyders. Stilleben- und Tiermaler 1579-1657, Munich, 1989, p. 164.
P. Huys Janssen, 'Schilders in Utrecht 1600-1700', in Historische Reeks Utrecht, XV, Utrecht, 1990, pp. 82-3, fig. 72.
F.G. Meijer, 'Book review of Exh. cat. A Prosperous Past. The Sumptuous Still Life in the Netherlands 1600-1700', in Simiolus, XX, no. 1, 1990-1, pp. 91-8.
S. Segal, Jan Davidsz De Heem and his circle, exhibition catalogue, Utrecht, Centraal Museum and Brunswick, Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, 1991, pp. 18, 38, 77, 139-41, and addendum p.2, no. 8 (German edition, no. 7A).
I. Schwartz, ‘”Niet hoe veel maer hoe eel” Symboliek en signaturen van Jan Davidszoon de Heem’, in Vitrine, 1991, pp. 13-17.
E. de Heer, F. Kuyvenhoven and E. Mijnlieff, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst. The Netherlands Office for Fine Arts The Hague. Old Master Paintings. An Illustrated Summary Catalogue, The Hague, 1992, p. 134, no. 1085.
G.J.M. Weber, ‘Ausstellungen. Stilleben im goldenen Jahrhundert – Jan Davidsz de Heem und sein Kreis’, in Kunstchronik, XLV, no. 4, April 1992, pp. 149 and 161.
R. Trnek, Die holländischen Gemälde des 17. Jahrhunderts in der Gemäldegalerie der Akademie der bildenden Künste in Wien, Vienna, Cologne and Weimar, 1992, p. 176.
P. Sutton and M.E. Wieseman, The Age of Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Boston, 1993, no. 112, pp. 541-3, illustrated (entry by M.E. Wieseman).
M.-L. Hairs, ‘Jan Davidsz. de Heem’ in Le dictionnaire des peintres belges du XIVe siècle à nos jours : depuis les premiers maîtres des anciens Pays-Bas méridionaux et de la Principauté de Liège jusqu'aux artistes contemporains, Ph. Roberts-Jones, ed., Brussels, 1995, pp. 283-284.
P. Taylor, Dutch Flower Painting 1600-1720, New Haven, 1995, p. 95, figs. 56, 160 and 213.
S. Segal, ‘Heem, de. Dutch family of painters’, in The Dictionary of Art, XIV, J. Turner, ed., London, 1996, pp. 288-291.
L.M. Helmus, De verzamelingen van het Centraal Museum Utrecht. 5. Schilderkunst tot 1850, Utrecht, 1999, I, pp. 301-3; II, pp. 929-30.
K. Sidén, ed., Musiken I Konsten. Det klingande 1600-talet. Nationalmusei Årsbok, XLVII, Stockholm, 2001, no. 140-1.
M. Díaz Padrón, et. al., Triumph of the sea: the riches of marine life in XVII-century European painting, Madrid, 2003, pp. 152-3.
F.G. Meijer, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. Catalogue of the Collection of Paintings. The Collection of Dutch and Flemish Still-Life Paintings Bequeathed by Daisy Linda Ward, Oxford and Zwolle, 2003, pp. 253-4, fig. 58.3.
J. de Meyere, Utrechtse schilderkunst in de Gouden Eeuw : honderd schilderijen uit de collectie van het Centraal Museum te Utrecht, Utrecht, 2006, pp. 213-5.
F.G. Meijer, ‘Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s Landscapes’, in Album Amicorum Marijke de Kinkelder. Collegiale bijdragen over landschappen, marines en architectuur, The Hague, 2013, pp. 253-270.
F.G. Meijer, Jan Davidsz. de Heem 1606-1684, PhD dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 2016, I, pp. 216-7, 219-20, no. A 199, illustrated; II, pp. 222-224, no. A 199.
Exhibited
Berlin, Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst aus dem Privatbesitz der Mitglieder des Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein, 1906, no. 57.
Delft, Museum 'Het Prinsenhof', Wintertentoonstelling. Van intimiteit tot theatre, 1951-2, no. 30.
Utrecht, Jaarbeurs, Musement, 19 June-13 July 1969.
Leiden, Museum De Lakenhal; and Groninger Museum, Een stuckie stillegend goet, 1985-6, no. VI-27.
Delft, Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof; Fort Worth, Kimbell Art Museum; and Cambridge, Harvard University, A Prosperous Past, The Sumptuous Still Life in the Netherlands 1600-1700, 1988-9, no. 38.
Utrecht, Centraal Museum; and Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Jan Davidsz de Heem en zijn kring, 16 February-7 July 1991, no. 8.
Madrid, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya, La pintura holandesa del siglo de ora: la escuela de Utrecht, October 1992-February 1993, no. 33.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; and Toledo, The Toledo Museum of Art, The Age of Rubens, 22 September 1993-24 April 1994, no. 112.
Nagasaki, Huis ten Bosch, Masters of Utrecht: 17-19th century paintings from the collection of Centraal Museum Utrecht, 1994-5, no. 20.
Stockholm, Nationalmuseum; and Helsinki, Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Törnrosmadonnan. Och andra mästerverk från Utrecht, 1997, no. 15.
Santiago, Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, Dutch Masters from the Golden Age, 1997-8, no. 22.
Sao Paulo, Pinacoteca do Estado, Mestres do Século de Ouro na Pintura Holandesa, 1998, no. 22.
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum; and Essen, Kulturstiftung Ruhr Essen, Das flämische Stilleben 1550-1680 : eine Ausstellung des Kunsthistorische Museums Wien und der Kulturstiftung Ruhr Essen, 1 September-21 July 2002, no. 90.
Luxembourg, Villa Vauban, The Five Senses in Painting, 19 March-26 June 2016.
Special Notice

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Post Lot Text
Jacob Lierens (5 February 1877-30 May 1949) was a Jewish businessman and art collector in pre-war Amsterdam. A partner in the company L. Lierens & Co at Prinsengracht 353-355, a concern specialised in the trade of waste paper. Jacob married Henriëtte Johanna Benavente (20 July 1877-10 June 1956) in 1895. The couple had four daughters: Elisabeth (16 February 1900-30 May 1930), Rebecca Bosboom (15 January 1902-21 March 1996), Branca Roselaar (8 October 1905-30 September 1942) and Esther Jessurun Cardozo (3 July 1907-28 November 1971).
Jacob Lierens made his fortune during the 1910s and 1920s, making his mark as an art collector as early as 1919, when a news article noted his “very exquisite collection”. The Lierens collection included Old Master and Dutch Nineteenth Century genre paintings, as well as Chinese and Dutch porcelain. While no inventory remains, publications such as the catalogue of his estate sale at Frederick Muller & Cie in Amsterdam on 18 and 24 October 1949, illustrate the quality and diversity of the collection.
Lierens was a frequent buyer at the auction house Frederik Muller auction house and this is indeed where he acquired the two paintings offered by Christie’s today in 1921 - the de Heem in April and the Hals and van Delen in May. Correspondence and annotated sale catalogues from the 1920s indicate that he was sometimes advised by Jonas Alexander van Bever, notably on the de Heem acquisition. In September 1921, the Lierens family moved to the Villa Johanna at 196 Amsteldijk, Amsterdam.
Following the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in May 1940, Lierens sought to keep his art collection safe but L. Lierens & Co was ‘Aryanised’ in March 1941 and the family’s home and belongings were confiscated in March 1942. The family moved to a modest residence still in Amsterdam.
In 1943, Lierens and his wife were imprisoned for a time in the Westerbork transit camp, from where many were deported to concentration and extermination camps in Eastern Europe. The Lierens couple were able to secure their release against a payment in jewellery in August of that year. The family went into hiding, surviving thanks to the sale of some of their possessions.
Lierens and his wife survived the war, as did their daughter Esther and her family, who also were in hiding, and their daughter Rebecca and her family, who had fled to New York in 1939. Johanna joined them there following Jacob’s death in 1949. Their daughter Branca Roselaar-Lierens and her husband Emanuel Roselaar (29 March 1895-30 September 1942) perished in Auschwitz.
The two paintings – A merry company in a palatial interior, with musicians and tric-trac players by Dirk Francoisz Hals (the younger brother of Frans Hals) and Dirck van Delen and A banquet still life by Jan Davidsz de Heem – were included in the forced sale of the Lierens’ collection at Frederick Muller & Cie. in Amsterdam on 14 October 1941.
The buyer at the sale was Hans Posse, head of the Linz Special Commission which acquired art on behalf of Adolf Hitler for the “Führermuseum” he planned to build in Linz. Recovered at the end of the war by the Allies’ Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Section or “Monuments Men”, both paintings were returned to the Netherlands. The paintings were subsequently placed by the Dutch government on long-term loans to the Hals Museum in Haarlem and the Centraal Museum in Utrecht.
In 2019, the present-day Restitution Committee in the Netherlands, set up with the re-emergence of interest in Holocaust-era assets following the Washington Conference of 1998, recommended the restitution of these two paintings to Jacob and Johanna’s heirs.
In loving memory of her grandfather Jacob Lierens, his granddaughter Elisabeth (born 1934) explains: “Staying in his home was like being in a palace. Thanks to my grandfather we could go into hiding during the war. We hid in a small apartment belonging to Mrs. Rika Verweij who had been the nanny of my mother Esther. We remained in the hiding place from mid-1942 until the end of the war. My grandfather succeeded in hiding some of his valuable possessions. To cover the expenses of the hiding place and provide food for himself and the family, he had to sell many of his valuables. After the war, my parents were penniless. They wanted to leave The Netherlands and to immigrate to Curaçao (Dutch Caribbean). Thanks to my grandfather, we could start a new life over there as he paid for the expenses”.
Christie’s is privileged to offer these paintings for sale on behalf of the heirs.

Brought to you by

Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Ever since its re-emergence at Christie’s in 1904, this painting has widely been acknowledged as one of Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s finest and most important still-lifes. Preserved in remarkable condition, it offers a dazzling display of the artist’s technical virtuosity on a grand scale. On long term loan at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht since 1948, the picture has subsequently appeared in no fewer than twelve international exhibitions, making it one of the most widely admired and extensively published Dutch still-lifes in the modern era.
It is here offered for sale for the first time in eighty years, further to its restitution in 2019 to the heirs of its last rightful owner - Jacob Lierens, a Jewish businessman and art collector in Amsterdam, who sold the picture at auction in 1941 before his company was ‘Aryanised’ by the Nazis and he and his wife were interned at Westerbork. The picture was acquired at the sale by Hans Posse for the projected ‘Führermuseum’ at Linz before being returned to the Netherlands after the war.
A heavily-laden banquet table is displayed before a terrace, bordered by the ruined column of a portico supported by a low wall, over which the leafy tendrils of vines encroach upon the table. Overhead, a dark blue tasselled curtain is drawn up to reveal a wall and an expansive sky, which de Heem included in several of his larger still-lifes, with similar or more extensive vistas. From the upper left, a radiant light illuminates each individual object and texture, casting shadows on the wall. A profusion of rare and costly treasures spills over the table draped with an opulently fringed green velvet cloth and white napkin. To the left stands an ornate silver gilt goblet and cover, possibly from Nuremberg of the early-seventeenth century (see S. Segal, A Prosperous Past, op. cit., p. 149). De Heem may have relied on earlier studies for this detail, since one very comparable object appears in his monumental canvas of 1643. To its right stands a façon de Venise glass of white wine, beside which is a tall flute of red wine and a jewel casket covered in shimmering blue silk, with keys in the lock. On top of this is placed a towering bekerschroef (goblet holder) holding a berkemeier (goblet) filled with white wine, featuring the motif of a putto seated astride a dolphin. Reminiscent of one portrayed in his Banquet Still Life with a Lobster of 1642, it appears to have been modelled on designs of two similar pairs of salts made by the Amsterdam silversmith Johannes Lutma, dated to 1639 (fig. 1; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum). A small dance master’s violin and bow, called a kit or pochette, is propped against the blue casket, near which is a pepper pot, a knife with a chequered handle and a nautilus shell – the same as that in his flower vanitas in the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden.
The luxuriousness of the composition arises not merely from the costly treasures depicted but also from the grand format and elaborate depiction of surfaces and textures: de Heem adjusts his technique to render the hard sheen of the gilt silver, the lustre of the nautilus shell and the coarseness of the lemon peel, all intended to heighten a connoisseur’s appreciation of the objects. Combining varying gradations of detail, de Heem employs both quick, broad brushstrokes with minutely observed ones, building harmonious yet subtle combinations of contrasting colours and textures. The intricate play of light and shadow is not only used on glass and metal, but also on the different materials like the velvet green fabric, the golden shimmers of its embroidery and fringe, the folds of the crumpled red pillow and the multicolour-striped stool. The foliage shows the profound effect that the flower paintings of Daniel Seghers had on de Heem, enriching his design with tender, thread-like stems of twigs and fruit, such as the graceful leaves of the orange, beside which the loose ends of the lute’s strings curl like calligraphy, mimicking the artist’s signature on the paper below. The seemingly casual arrangement of luxurious objects on this ambitious scale lends the picture a pervading sense of effortless grandeur, reminiscent of the series of four monumental canvases de Heem painted in Antwerp in the early 1640’s, a notable example of which was recently on the market (fig. 2; Christie’s, London, 15 December 2020, lot 10, £5,766,000). I has been suggested, for example by Marjorie Wiseman (op. cit.), that this picture must date from the same Antwerp period, although Meijer has now shown conclusively that it was painted in the mid-1660s when de Heem had settled back in Utrecht (op. cit., 2016). Meijer observes parallels with works like his Still life on a stone ledge in front of a niche (Oslo, Nasjonalgalleriet) and Still life of fruit and other objects on a stone ledge of circa 1670 (fig. 3; Christie’s, London, 9 July 2015, lot 44). He also points out that the brilliant handling of light was a particular characteristic of de Heem’s still-lifes of the 1660s (ibid., p. 215). The convincing suggestion of depth and reflection in the glasses, Meijer notes, was also developed early in this decade: ‘with what appears to be a transparent copper green on hues of grey and white’ (ibid., p. 211). This period in Utrecht marked a moment of transition in de Heem’s oeuvre, moving away from the more painterly and baroque Flemish style of Antwerp to a smoother and more polished technique with more exhaustive attention to detail.
With a picture as rich and impactful as this, it is quite possible that it may have incorporated a deeper meaning for the contemporary viewer. Sam Segal has proposed that this painting (like other similar works by the artist) should be interpreted as an allegory of the choice between good and evil (op. cit. 1991, pp. 140-141): with ripe fruit, luxury objects and music representing the temptation of transitory worldly pleasures; while the wine and bread are symbols of the Eucharist, the goldfinch represents the soul, the caterpillar and butterfly represent the resurrection, and the detail of the broken and cracked pillar intimates that not even hard stone can withstand the ravages of time. Wiseman argues that de Heem’s message was less overtly religious and more about moderation, picking up on very specific allusions the artist sometimes made to temperance and vanity with the aid of inscriptions, such as in a work dated 1651 (Meijer, op. cit., 2016, no. A 133), inscribed ‘Niet hoe veel [maer hoe Eel]’ (‘Not how much but how noble’), alluding to the importance of quality over quantity. Meijer postulates that the single orange resting on the pillow in the foreground may also have referred to the young Prince William of Orange, later William III (1650-1702), reflecting the Orangist sympathies of the Protestant circles in which de Heem had moved in Utrecht (op. cit., 2016, p. 212).

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