Lot 31
  • 31

simon luttichuys London 1610 - 1661 Amsterdam

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Description

  • Simon Luttichuys
  • still life of books, prints, paintings, a skull, shell and a globe upon a table draped with a green cloth, a sphere and a painting hanging above
  • dated on the title-page of the foremost book: Anno 1645  and bears signature: G.Dou
  • oil on oak panel, in a carved and gilt wood Italian cassetta frame

  • 49 by 37.3 cm.; 19 1/4 by 14 5/8 in.

Provenance

Freiherr von H., Berlin, by 1890 (according to Hofstede de Groot below);
Frau Hofrat Boer, Berlin, by 1901;
Professor Eugen Holländer, Berlin, by 1923;
Acquired by the family of the present owner before 1935.

Exhibited

Berlin, 1890 (according to Hofstede de Groot below).

Literature

W. Martin, Het leven en de werken van G. Dou, beschouwd in verband met het schildersleven van zijn tijd, Leiden 1901, no. 370;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. I, London 1907, p. 462, no. 387a (as on canvas and with incorrect measurements);
W. Martin, Gerard Dou. Klassiker der Kunst, Stuttgart 1913, p. XXI (as anonymous);
E. Holländer, Die Medezin in der klassischen Malerei, Stuttgart 1923, p. ..., reproduced fig. 31 (as by Gerard Dou);
W. Artelt, "Das Buch im Anatomie-bild und das Anatomiebuch im Bild", in Deutsche Medezinische Wochenschrift, vol. LXXVII, 1952, pp. 1637-40 (as by Gerard Dou);
W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, vol, IV, Landau/Pfalz 1989, p. 2938, no. 1907, reproduced p. 2973 (as Anonymous Rembrandt School);
R. van Straten, "Early Works by Lievens and Rembrandt", in Artibus et Historiae, no. 26, Vienna 1992, pp. 121-142, reproduced figs. 1 and 2;
W. Sumowski, Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler, vol., VI, Landau/Pfalz 1989, pp. 2526, 3754, under no. 2514, (as by Simon Luttichuys);
To be included by Bernd Ebert in his forthcoming catalogue of the paintings of Simon and Isaac Luttichuys.

Catalogue Note

This remarkable still life was long considered to be the work of Gerard Dou, and was only recently attributed to the rare Amsterdam painter Simon Luttichuys by Fred G. Meijer, by comparison with the former's signed Still-life with a map and artists materials of 1646, formerly in the collection of the Earls Spencer at Althorp (reproduced Van Straten, see Literature, fig. 4). Many of the objects within the composition can be precisely identified: the largest book is Andrea Laurentius' celebrated Historia Anatomica Humani Coporis, printed in Frankfurt in 1600 (fig. 3). The globe against which it leans is a Mercator globe of a type current since the mid-16th Century. The book underneath is Mercator and Hondius' famous Atlas published in Amsterdam in 1634, open here at its title-page. The two prints lying alongside are an etching by Jan Lievens from his Leiden period before 1637 (and mistakenly identified by Hofstede de Groot, see Literature, as a drawing by Rubens) and underneath it another by Rembrandt (fig. 2), generally dated to around 1635. The small unframed panel portrait of a young man resting on top of these prints is a painted copy of another etching by Rembrandt, also from 1637, and the painting of the old woman sleeping hanging on the wall behind is equally derived from an etching of similar date which has been attributed to both Rembrandt and Lievens (fig. 1). The portrait standing to the left of the table has not been identified, and indeed when the painting was in the Holländer collection in the 1920s it had been painted over entirely (Van Straten, op. cit., p. 123, fig. 2). It has been suggested that this too may record a lost portrait by Lievens or his circle, as Luttichuys is not known to have painted portraits, and the style accords poorly with the known work of his brother Isaac, a successful and independent portrait painter in Amsterdam, where he had settled since 1638. Van Straten (ibid., p. 140) tentatively suggests that the young man portrayed may be Jan Joris van Vliet, a little known artist from the Lievens-Rembrandt circle in Leiden, who had made a number of etchings after both men's paintings in the early 1630s.

This unusual presence of so many copies of tronies from the work of Lievens and Rembrandt recurs again in a closely related variant of this design, known today in two versions: in the Muzeum Narodowe in Gdansk (ibid., p. 123, fig. 4) and formerly with Johnny van Haeften, London (see Sumowski, vol. VI, reproduced p. 4137).  Neither panel is signed or dated as the present work, but the overall composition involving the books, globe and skull is essentially the same. The paintings and prints, however, have changed to record different tronies, again based on Lievens and Rembrandt. The nature of Luttichuys' evident relationship with Rembrandt, Lievens or their circle in Amsterdam is not known. Luttichuys probably arrived in Amsterdam from Antwerp as late as 1644, although he might conceivably have met Jan Lievens in his native London, where the latter had briefly resided between 1631-2 and 1635.  Certainly the curious preponderance of prints or painted copies after Lievens and Rembrandt suggests that the painters may have known each other. The four Luttichuys panels very probably depict part of the artist's studio or home - the fireplace behind the globe, for example, recurs in all of these works, as does the painter's reflection in the crystal globe suspended from the ceiling. Though some elements, such as the shell and the skull hint at a possible vanitas element in the design, this is not made specific.

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