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 €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.
Please note the inv. nos. in the provenance should read respectively no. 29, 30, 25 and 24, and not as stated in the catalogue.
Portraits of the Craeyvanger family by Gerard Ter Borch and studio
This series of portraits of the Craeyvanger family is remarkable for having remained intact and in the family of the sitters since it was painted in 1658, thus making this the first time the pictures have ever appeared on the market and indeed the first documented occasion that they have ever been shown in public. Together, they constitute Ter Borch's largest extant single commission for an individual family and they shed new light on the artist's studio practice at a key stage of his career.
The Craeyvanger family was from Arnhem, in the east of Holland, about 40 kilometres south of Ter Borch's home in Deventer. Willem Craeyvanger (1616-1659), the children's father, was the son of Jan Craeyvanger (1574-1625), a member of the 'Saint Joostendoelen', and Catherina Engelen (d. 1619). He was 'Burgerhopman' and 'Rentmeester' of Arnhem, as well as a member of the town's Saint Nicholas guild. In 1639, he married Christine van de Wart, the daughter of Willem van der Wart and Elisabeth Versteege (d. 1615), and in 1651 they sat together to the Dordrecht artist Paulus Lesire for the pair of portraits in this sale (lot 79). They had nine children in all- six sons and three daughters (one of whom died in infancy), who were painted individually by Ter Borch in 1658 to form the unique series of child portraits that feature in this sale (lots 78 and 80).
A few details relating to the lives of the children are known. The younger Willem Craeyvanger is recorded as having enrolled in the University of Leiden on the 17th of September 1665. He married Maria van Ommen and they had seven children; five girls and two boys. Engel Craeyvanger was 'Vaandrig' in Nijmegen in 1671 and later became 'Vaandrig' in Cheribon, Java. On the 29th of March 1671 he married Justina van Oorschot in The Hague. Gerrit Craeyvanger perished in battle near the French fortress of 'Grave', during the siege and conquest of this city by Willem III in 1674. Naleke Craeyvanger was 'in het klooster gestoken' (entered into a cloister), where she died in 1676. The youngest of the children, Lijsbeth Craeyvanger, married Arnold d'Everdingen van der Nypoort, widow to Maria van de Velde, on the 6th of September 1673 in Arnhem and had one son. Two of the portrayed children, Jan and Reijnder Craeyvanger died at young age.
Several other family members also held public office in Arnhem, most notably Willem Craeyvanger the elder's uncle, Reinier Everwijn, who was mayor of the city. Everwijn's son, Willem Everwijn (1613-1673) was, like his cousin Willem Craeyvanger, 'Rentmeester' of Arnhem and was also painted by Ter Borch in a small portrait of 1653 that is closely comparable in its composition to the portrait of the eldest son Jan Craeyvanger (see S.J. Gudlaugsson, Gerard Ter Borch, The Hague, pp. 120-1, no. 30a, private collection).
Gerard ter Borch the Younger is considered one of the most widely travelled artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Born in Zwolle in 1617, he was taught at a young age by his father Gerard ter Borch the Elder, who was also an artist. His earliest signed and dated work is a drawing of 1625 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam), which he made when only eight years old. In 1632, Ter Borch was in Amsterdam and a year later he entered the studio of Pieter de Molijn in Haarlem where he produced his first signed painting- 'The Consultation' (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). He left for London in 1635 and two years later most probably went to Rome and Naples where he painted the well known night scene 'A Procession of Flagellants' (Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam). In 1639, he was in Madrid and is recorded as having stopped in France and Antwerp before returning to the Netherlands. In 1648, he visited Münster to paint the well known 'The Swearing of the Oath of Ratification of the Treaty of Münster' (National Gallery, London) after which he settled permanently in Deventer in 1654.
From his studio in Deventer, Ter Borch continued to produce portraits for clients throughout the country. Although there is no actual record of him having visited Arnhem, it seems highly probable that he did given its proximity to his home and his propensity to travel, which is attested to by documented trips to Amsterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Zwolle and Delft, in the space of a few years. At the same time, in the mid-1650s, he matured greatly as a genre painter and the present portraits coincide with some of his most accomplished and admired works, amongst which 'the Suitors Visit', of circa 1658 (National Gallery of Art, Washington), and 'the Officer dictating a Letter with a Trumpeter', of circa 1658/50 (National Gallery, London).
While there was an established tradition in mid-17th century Dutch painting of depicting children within group portraits, it was extremely unusual to portray such a large number individually, in a consecutive series. Indeed child portraiture in general was rarely touched on by Ter Borch with the notable exception of his portrait of 'Helena van der Schalcke' of 1644 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). Given the size of the Craeyvanger commission and perhaps because of the youth of his sitters, Ter Borch was not able to invest the time and degree of finish seen in his best genre pictures. He seems to have set about them as a series of four pairs. An idea of the rapidity with which they were prepared is given by the rough demarcation of the feigned ovals and the scantily filled in backgrounds (although this may suggest the pictures were intended to be framed as ovals). Nevertheless, particular in the case of the eldest four children, the sitters are rendered with admirable economy and the artist's characteristically intense powers of observation. The slightly broader treatment of the younger four children suggest that they may have in part been delegated to an assistant. Ter Borch was running an established studio by this time and already counted the young Caspar Netscher as one of his pupils.