Anonymous sale, New York, Christie's, 7 June 2002, lot 69; There purchased by the present owner.
Saeys' training with the Antwerp-based painter of architectural views, Wilhelm von Ehrenberg, greatly influenced Saeys' choice of subject matter. Here, the monumental portico, before which an elegant company has gathered is a superb example of the master's fanciful architectural renderings. The sharp light cast on the building and the way in which the pale sky sets off the composition are particularly striking elements that contribute to the artist's success in suggesting scale and volume. The inclusion of elements such as the peacock and page boy add a playful dimension to the painting. The picture is dated 1694, a decade after Saeys moved to Vienna, and the same year as his wedding to Maria van Risman.
The canvas is relined. The picture is in overall good condition and the retouches which have been applied are in mostly localized areas. The varnish appears clean and relatively new, and does not obscure any retouches. The majority of the retouches have been isolated to the sky in the far left and right portions of the composition, just outside the architecture. In these areas the sky has darkened somewhat, presumably from the retouches. Otherwise, the retouches are very minor and scattered, most are pin dot size and do not repair any significant losses. To the naked eye the picture presents a strong, imposing image and is in overall favorable condition. In a carved and painted wooden frame. In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.