Christie's charges a Buyer's premium calculated at 23.205% of the hammer price for each lot with a value up to €110,000. If the hammer price of a lot exceeds €110,000 then the premium for the lot is calculated at 23.205% of the first €110,000 plus 11.9% of any amount in excess of €110,000. Buyer's Premium is calculated on this basis for each lot individually.
HERMAN A. DAENDELS (1918-2000)
With his two sisters, Herman Daendels was one of the last direct descendants of the Hattem patriot, H.W. Daendels (1762-1818). After a spectacular military career with the Batavian legion, Daendels was appointed marshall of Holland and Governor-General of Dutch East India by King Louis Napoleon in 1807. Even today, the distinctive Governor-General Daendels is referred to in Java as Tuan Guntur, the Lord of Thunder, for his tough handling of the colonial administration.
During the three and a half years he spent in Java (1808-1811) H.W. Daendels ordered the construction of the great postal road from West to East Java - with the loss of many lives, destroyed the castle of Batavia, built a new administrative centre and introduced radical reforms of the colonial administrative and judicial structures. If this revolutionary leader from the Napoleonic period was an arrogant man with little patience for his fellow-man, the same cannot be said of his 20th -century descendant.
Herman Daendels was a professional lawyer and in his personal life a modest and especially kind man with great charm. Those who knew him closely remember him, first of all, as a learned host who loved to share his fondness for cooking with his friends. Even in old age he took intense pleasure in using his home to bring young people in contact with outstanding personalities from his wide circle of friends. During those meals in his curious house at Prinsengracht 586, with its endless small staircases and corridors, the conversation always included a discussion of his two great hobbies: his vast collection of Japanese porcelain and his great love for overseas history and the preservation of Dutch overseas heritage.
Building the exquisite collection of Japanese porcelain, which is now being auctioned, was a source of personal satisfaction about which Daendels would talk endlessly. During the war years he had ploughed his way, under the guidance of the conservator of the Koloniaal Instituut, Mr. C.Ph.C.E. Steinmetz and the archeologist, dr. Annie Zodoks-Josephus Jitta, together with a handful of volunteers, through an enormous mass of archive material about the early relations between the Netherlands and Japan.
No less than forty boxes full of typed 17th -century manuscripts about colonial subjects from the Steinmetz Collection testify to the tireless work accomplished during the war years by this group of volunteers. His work with the archives prompted Daendels' great interest in the early porcelain trade, an interest he shared with Daan Lunsingh Scheurleer and later with Christiaan Jörg. Daendels loved to collect in a well-directed way. The real collector, so he told his visitors, creates a collection which after his death will be spread by auction without remorse. Thus, other collectors will be given the chance to widen and refine their own collections. In other words, building a collection ought to be nothing more than 'writing love letters in the sand'.
Daendels did not think highly of museums which, after having acquired a piece would withdraw it forever from the market and, after having stored it safely in depots would only rarely show it the public. In direct contrast to this practice, in the postwar period when the Netherlands felt embarrassed about its colonial past, Daendels, with some like-minded friends, set up the CNO foundation (Cultuur Nederlanders Overzee) in 1961. This likeable club run by collectors, art historians, conservators and guests from old Indonesia systematically bought apparently unimportant - but in reality interesting-relics from the colonial past, with the idea that they would be displayed in museum exhibitions and provide a true and representative image of daily life and work as it had been experienced overseas in the past.
As a member of the board I profited from the learned talks about the purchase of various objects during meetings in the Rijksmuseum 25 years ago in the company of older colleagues. As permanent 'second secretary' (the French would respectfully refer to a 'sécretaire perpètuel'), Daendels made his presence clearly felt during all these meetings. He wished to be closely involved in all important decisions about the purchase of objects and especially in formulating a policy with a view to making the Dutch administration aware of the need to preserve the material heritage of the colonial past. Thus it was thanks to the personal commitment of Daendels, and the then chairman of the CNO, the ex-diplomat G.J. Jongejans, that in 1983 the Veronica Broadcasting Company was able to send the filmmaker Jan Dorrestein around the world to produce the extended documentary 'Nederlanders Overzee', which has since been televised many times. On this occasion Daendels insisted that the TV-team also produced a substantial photographic documentary of the heritage in store, which was not always kept in perfect condition.
Herman Daendels was disappointed when, owing to various circumstances, the CNO foundation ceased to exist in the nineties. His consolation was that the collection as a whole went to the Rijksmuseum and that slowly a number of museums developed an interest in purchasing smaller items of the colonial period, and thus promoted a more general interest in Dutch heritage overseas.
Some will recall attractive exhibitions such as 'Wonen in de wijde Wereld' (Living in the Wide World), where the collection of the CNO clearly dominated the central stage, as well as the VOC exhibition of the last years showing many objects from the CNO collection. In that sense the foundation was a good example of the synergies between individual initiatives and the mission of museums to preserve objects in the public interest.
In his old age Daendels, liked to talk about his plan to set up a Daendels foundation for culture, which would largely be financed by the proceeds of auctioning his collection. That time has now come and it is unlikely that such a complete private collection of Japanese blue and white will ever come on to the market again. Many pieces from the collection have been on loan to exhibitions in the past. In 1981 Daendels himself organized an exhibition of his pieces in the Princessehof in Leeuwarden for which he also wrote the catalogue 'Japanse blauw wit porselein, Op Hollandse bestelling en in de Japanse smaak'.
The catalogue of the collection which Herman Daendels built and preserved during his life will, undoubtedly, acquire a life of its own as a collector's item. We may assume that the thought of this would have pleased him greatly.
Prof. Dr. Leonard Blussé
WEDNESDAY 21 MAY 2003
MORNING SESSION AT 10.30 A.M.
THE DAENDELS COLLECTION