43
43

THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

David Teniers the Younger
AN ELEGANT COMPANY BEFORE A PAVILION IN AN ORNAMENTAL GARDEN
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,569,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT
43

THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR

David Teniers the Younger
AN ELEGANT COMPANY BEFORE A PAVILION IN AN ORNAMENTAL GARDEN
Estimate
800,0001,200,000
LOT SOLD. 1,569,000 GBP
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London

David Teniers the Younger
ANTWERP 1610 - 1690 BRUSSELS
AN ELEGANT COMPANY BEFORE A PAVILION IN AN ORNAMENTAL GARDEN
signed and dated lower left: DAVID · TENIERS · FEC · 1651 
oil on copper
70 x 87.6 cm.; 27 1/2  x 34 1/2  in.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Gilbert Paignon Dijonval (1708–92), acquired in 1731 (according to the 1821 sale catalogue);

By descent ('n'est jamais sorti di son cabinet') to his grandson, Charles-Gilbert, Vicomte Morel de Vindé (1759–1842);

His sale, Paris, Paillet, 17 December 1821, lot 106, where bought en bloc by William Buchanan;

From whom presumably acquired shortly afterwards by

Thomas Emmerson, London, and presumably sold by him to

George (or John) Lucy, Charlecote Park, by 1831;

From whom acquired by Baron Lionel de Rothschild (1808–1879), 1834;

Thence by inheritance to Alfred de Rothschild (1842–1918), by 1884;

By whom given to Leopold de Rothschild (1845–1947);

Thence by descent to Lionel Nathan de Rothschild (1882–1942);

Thence by inheritance to Edmund de Rothschild (1916–2009) (lent by him to a Mr. Bevington, according to a label affixed to the reverse);

By whom sold to David Carritt Ltd., 1958;

Private collection, London;

Whence sold ('The Property of a Lady'), London, Sotheby's, 3 December 1997, lot 78, where acquired by the present owner.

Exhibited

London, Royal Academy, 17th Century Art in Europe, 3 January – 12 March 1938, no. 112 (lent by Lionel de Rothschild);

Delft, Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, 19 December 1964 – 24 January 1965;

Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, 6 February – 14 March 1965, De Schilder in zijn Wereld: van Jan Van Eyck tot Van Gogh en Ensor, no. 110;

Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle, David Teniers der Jüngere 1610–1690. Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern, 5 November 2005 – 19 February 2006, no. 85 (lent by the present owner).

Literature

J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. III, London 1831, p. 382, cat. no. 469 ('This picture possesses all the attractive qualities peculiar to the master – freedom and lightness of penciling, a sweet and silvery tone of colouring, and a composition of peculier interest and beauty');

C. Davis, A description of the works of art forming the collection of Alfred de Rothschild, vol. I, London 1884, no. 29, as at Seamore Place;

W. Bode, Rembrandt und seine Zeitgenossen, Leipzig 1923, p. 429, reproduced;

An illustrated souvenir of the exhibition of 17th century art in Europe at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, London 1938, reproduced p. 29;

F. Boucher, Histoire du costume en Occident de l'Antiquité à nos jours, Paris 1965, reproduced p. 259, fig. 576;

R.D. Leppert, The theme of music in Flemish paintings of the seventeenth century, Munich 1977, vol. II, cat. no. 669, reproduced plate XXXII;

R.D. Leppert, 'David Teniers the Younger and the image of music', in Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, 1978, p. 115, reproduced fig. 36;

H. Vlieghe, Rubens portraits of identified sitters painted in Antwerp. Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard. Part XIX, London 1987, vol. II, p. 167, under cat. no. 139;

M.E. Wieseman, 'The art of 'Conversatie': Genre portraiture in the Southern Netherlands in the Seventeenth Century', in P.C. Sutton (ed.), The Age of Rubens, exh. cat., Boston 1993, pp. 64 and 190, reproduced p. 189, fig. 6;

J.-P. Meulemeester, Portraits de famille dans quelque tableaux de David Teniers II, privately printed, Brussels 1999, vol. I, pp. 12 and 22 (as dated '1657' and entitled 'The Second Marriage of David Teniers');

M. Klinge, 'Porträtdarstellungen auf die Terrasse, im Hof und Garten...', in U. Härtung (ed.), Gärten und Höfe der Rubenszeit im Spiegel der Malerfamilie Brueghel und der Künstler um Peter Paul Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Hamm, Mainz and Munich 2000, p. 126, reproduced fig. 6;

D. Lüdke, in M. Klinge and D. Lüdke, David Teniers der Jüngere 1610–1690. Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern, exhibition catalogue, Stuttgart and Heidelberg 2005, pp. 268–71, cat. no. 85, reproduced p. 269.

Catalogue Note

Painted on an unusually large copper plate,1 this painting depicts a large group of elegantly dressed figures informally gathered in a formal garden, serenaded by a guitar-player, and served chilled wine and food, anticipating the eighteenth-century fête gallante. The setting and the figures portrayed place Teniers at the centre of artistic life in Antwerp in the mid-seventeenth century. The backdrop is a garden pavilion closely based (apart from the lower register) on the loggia in the garden of Rubens’ house in Antwerp (now the Rubenshuis), where it is still visible today (see fig. 1). While only two of the figures have been positively identified, they are the forty-one year old artist himself, wearing a red cloak, accompanied by his wife Anna, to be seen in the background between the fountain and the pavilion, he with a red cloak and a hat, she in a yellow dress, seen in profil perdu. Anna was the daughter of Jan Brueghel the Younger, the grand-daughter of Jan Brueghel the Elder, and the great-grand-daughter of Pieter Bruegel the Elder. The two couples in the foreground are clearly meant to be identified. The purpose of the painting is unclear, but it may not be a coincidence that the artist chose to paint an assembly of friends, perhaps from Teniers’ own family, in an Antwerp setting, at around the time that he moved to Brussels to become Court-Painter to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm.2  

The pavilion in the garden of Rubens' house, designed by the artist himself, had already made an appearance in a painting of around 1640 in Munich, Alte Pinakothek, now generally thought to be largely from Rubens' workshop, rather than his own hand. Popularly known as 'The Walk in the Garden', it depicts Rubens and his second wife Hélène Fourment in an imaginary formal garden setting with a backdrop of trees, and the garden pavilion accurately portrayed to the left (see fig. 2).3  It recurs in a work by Jacob Jordaens, next to the portico modelled on a Roman triumphal arch through which one passes from the courtyard of the Rubenshuis to the garden, as a backdrop to Jacob Jordaens' painting Cupid and Psyche in the Prado.4

This painting has had a distinguished history and a continuous provenance since 1731, eighty years after Teniers painted it. Gilbert Paignon-Dijonval was a renowned collector of drawings and prints on a vast scale. Many of his drawings were bought en bloc from his grandson by Samuel Woodburn in 1819, and many of these are now in the British Museum. His paintings collection, though outshone by his works on paper and his library, was distinguished, and consisted largely of Dutch and Flemish paintings, many of which were, like the present picture, acquired during a journey to the Low Countries in 1831. The collection of paintings was consigned for auction sale in Paris by his grandson in 1821, but the major part of the sale was acquired en bloc by the London dealer William Buchanan. In his own memoirs he observes that 'he had been for several years in treaty for' the collection, but the price had been too high.5 The provenance of the present work usually cites Thomas Emmerson as having made the acquisition, but Buchanan does not mention him and the degree of his participation, if any, is unclear. Buchanan noted that the collection contained four fine pictures by Teniers, but he continues: 'The finest Teniers, and the two capital pictures by Wouvermans, were afterwards purchased by G. Lucy Esq. M.P.'6 Buchanan's use of the passive voice suggests that he may not have been the agent of the sale to Lucy, which was more likely Emmerson's doing. Smith gives the buyer as John Lucy, Esq. of Charlecote, but it must have been George Lucy, MP for Fowey, who inherited Charlecote in 1823, and to whom Emmerson sold other Dutch pictures.7 John Smith, though a business rival, worked closely with Emmerson, buying paintings in France (including many other works by Teniers) and selling them in England, and it is not impossible that he too was involved with the sale of this one. In any event, he clearly admired it very much, concluding his description with 'The beauty of a fine summer's day adds life and gaiety to the joyous event', before praising it further, adding that it 'possesses all the attractive qualities peculiar to the master – freedom and lightness of penciling, a sweet and silvery tone of colouring, and a composition of peculiar interest and beauty'. He valued it at £1,200, perhaps reflecting its sale price, or possibly the price at which Smith hoped to re-acquire it, as on other occasions.

After Lucy sold it in 1834 to Baron Lionel de Rothschild, it remained in the Rothschild family until 1958, when David Carritt bought it. He is believed to have sold it directly to the parents of the consignor in the Sotheby's sale in 1997, when the present collector acquired it. 

1. It is a copper plate of a standard size, but whose use is rare until the 1650s. A Kermesse with a capriccio of the church of Sainte-Gudule, in Madrid, Prado, undated but datable to the early 1650s, is on a copper plate of almost identical dimensions. A painting of circa 1647 in Dresden, also on a copper plate of the same size, and a painting dated 1644 on a slightly smaller copper plate, in The Hague, Mauritshuis, are rare exceptions.

2. By tradition this painting has been said to celebrate their marriage. Since they wed in 1637, this cannot be so.

3. See Vlieghe 1987, pp. 165–67, no. 139, reproduced figs 192 and 193.

4. See J.M. Muller, in K. Lohse Belkin and F. Healy, A House of Art. Rubens as Collector, exhibition catalogue, Antwerp 2004, p. 40, reproduced fig. 45.

5. W. Buchanan, Memoirs of painting: with a chronological history of the importation of works of the Great Masters into England since the French Revolution, London 1847, p. 373.

6. Buchanan 1847, p. 373. The acquisition and dispersal in England of the Paignon-Dijonval collection was, in his own words (although as throughout the book, expressed in the third rather than the first person), Buchanan's last involvement in the 'affairs of art'. Although rivalries between art dealers were then as now rare and conducted without rancour, one might nonetheless be tempted to infer that Smith, perhaps abetted by Emmerson, sought to expunge Buchanan's name from the transaction.

7. George Lucy's father, the Rev. John Hammond, had inherited Charlecote from a cousin (also George Lucy) and added the Lucy name to his own. This may explain why the provenance of this picture has sometimes been given as the Reverend John Lucy, or John Lucy, Esq. Since he died in 1823, and in the light of Buchanan's recollection, John Hammond Lucy most likely never owned it at all, or if he did, only for year or two. 

Old Masters Evening Sale

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London