Lot 13
  • 13

Philips Wouwerman Haarlem 1619 - 1668

bidding is closed


  • Philips Wouwerman
  • Pyramus and Thisbe in a bosky landscape
  • signed lower left: PHW in monogram
  • oil on oak panel
    Sparre frame type 2 


Jacques de Roore, Amsterdam, by whom sold for 125 Florins to
Willem Lormier (1682-1758), The Hague, by 1752, in his store in 1754, no. 350;
His deceased sale, The Hague, Francken, 4 July 1763, for 165 Florins;
Nogaret, Paris;
His sale, Paris, 2ff June 1780, for 910 Livres:
Gustaf Adolf Sparre (1746-1794);
Sparre inv., 1794, no. 17.


Stockholm, 1893, no. 115;
Stockholm, 1967, no. 185 (p. 133 in the catalogue);
Kristianstad, 1977, no. 46. 


G. Hoet, Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderijen..., The Hague 1752-1770, vol. II, p. 447;
W. Lormier, Magazine Catalogue Willem Lormier, The Hague December 1754, no. 350;
P. Terwesten, Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen, met dezelver prysen zedert den 22. Augusti 1752 tot den 21. November 1768, (Supplement to Hoet) The Hague 1770, p. 336;
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. I, London 1829, pp. 220, 248, nos. 66 & 163 (duplication);
Granberg, 1885-6, p. 33, no. 67;
Göthe, 1895, p. 30, no. 76;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné...,vol. II, London 1909, p. 264, no. 28;
Granberg, 1911-12, no. 166, reproduced plate 62;
Kjellberg, 1966, p. 346;
Hasselgren, 1974, pp. 114, 120, 127, reproduced p. 193;
B. Schumacher, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668), Doornspijk 2006, vol. 1, p. 389, no. A561, reproduced vol. 2, plate 520.


"The following condition report has been provided by Sarah Walden, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting is on a bevelled oak panel with a horizontal grain, unusual in a vertical format, and is perfectly flat. The beautifully crisp unworn condition means that the depths of the dark foliage are as richly preserved as the minute detail of the lovers. There are one or two tiny chipped flakes: one in the upper leaves, by the mid left edge, in the lower left corner and by the centre of the right edge. Also some minute flaking in the lower right corner and along the base edge, although there does not seem to be any loose or raised paint elsewhere. There appears to be just one small retouching by the P of the monogram. The only slightly thin places are in the middle distance just above Thisbe and in the far water, with some fractionally thin distant leaves behind the darker foliage against the sky in the upper centre, although these darker fringes of the trees are exceptionally well preserved, as are even the tendrils of the ivy against the sky on the left, and the rich blue of the sky itself. The lovers themselves are perfectly intact in all the minutiae of their costumes and Thisbe's intricate coiffure and spurting blood. This report was not done under laboratory conditions."
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

The subject is taken from Ovid's Metamorphoses.  It makes this picture unique, since it is Wouwerman's only currently known mythological subject.  Hofstede de Groot records an Apollo and Daphne and an Icarus and Dedalus in sales in 1742 and 1770, but these cannot be located today.1

 While Hofstede de Groot notes that the Sparre picture is signed with the early form of Wouwerman's monogram, Birgit Schumacher dates it more plausibly to the late 1650s.

It has a particularly distinguished provenance, having belonged to the painter Jacques Ignatius de Roore in Amsterdam, and the collector-dealer Willem Lormier in The Hague, before going to Paris, where Sparre presumably bought it in 1780.  It is the only one of his 1780 purchases to have a Sparre type 2 frame.

1.  See under Literature, p. 264, nos. 29, 30.