Accompanied by Patek Philippe Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with polychrome enamel miniature paintings depicting Venice to cover and back in 1985 and its subsequent sale on 1 June 1995.
For over 3,000 years, fine enamelling has decorated and enriched watches, jewellery and objets d'art. Patek Philippe maintains this rare craft of miniature enamelling, traditionally associated with the finest Geneva timepieces, and in many ways the most difficult of the decorative arts.
Nowadays, only few artists such as G. Menni and S. Rohr (see lot 93 in this sale) still master this art, generally seen on openface watches. Due to the lengthy production time (each artists creates an average of only three enamel miniature paintings per year), it is highly unusual to find a hunter case watch, such as the present example, with two enamel miniatures.
These rare Patek Philippe timepieces are, in general, made to special order with the subject matter to be represented chosen by the client. They often includes famous landscape and portrait paintings, celebrities or even family members of the future owner.
The present watch was therefore most probably ordered by an admirer of Wittel or Venice. It is the first that a hunter cased Patek Philippe watch with double enamel miniatures is offered at auction.
Gaspar or Caspar van Wittel, a Dutch painter and draughtsman, was also known as Gaspare or Gasparo Vanvitelli. Born in Amersfoort around 1652/1653, he absolved an early training in the workshop of Matthias Withoos before moving to Italy where he remained until his death in 1736.
Vanvitelli, the name under which he was known in Italy, was a famous painter of topographical views or Vedute. He arrived in Venice in 1667 and as the true founder of the school of vedutisti in Venice, his influence can also be seen in the work of Luca Carlevaris. Van Wittel's son, Luigi Vanvitelli, followed his father's artistical path and became a leading architect in Naples.