Lot 21
  • 21

Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam
  • A Cobbler at Work, his Wife spinning Wool
  • signed in monogram and dated on the chassis of the spinning wheel: Q vB. 1653.
  • oil on panel
  • 20 x 28 1/2 inches


William Garnett, J.P., D.L., Quernmore Park, Lancaster;
By whose Executors sold, London, Christie's, 29 November 1929, lot 78, for 320 Guineas to H. Blake;
J. Lamb;
W.E. Hunter Arundell, Barjag towers, Dumfries;
Lieut.-Col. David Davies, Plasdinum Llandinam, Wales;
With Legatt Brothers, London;
There purchased by Lieut-Col. T.R. Badger, D.S.O., 19 May 1938 for 300 Guineas;
Mrs. E.M. Gordon, Biddlesdon Park, Brackley, Northamptonshore;
By whose heirs sold, London, Christie's, 11 April 1986, lot 47, for £100,000;
With The Brod Gallery, London;
Anonymous sale ("Property of a Private Collector"), New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 2000, lot 36;
There purchased by the present collector.


Friendly Society, no. 108 (according to the Christie's sale catalogue of 1986, without place or date given).


D. Weller, The Lower-Middle Class at Work: Paintings of Tradesmen in Interiors by Quiringh van Brekelenkam, M.A. Thesis, Ohio State University, 1980, p. 40, reproduced fig. 18;
P. Sutton, Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, exhibition catalogue, Philadelphia 1984, p. 161, under cat. no. 19, footnote 7;
A. Lasius, Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam, dissertation, Göttingen, 1987, no. 34;
"Anzeigen", in Holländische Malerei in neuem Licht, Henrick ter Brugghen und seine Zeitgenossen, exhibition catalogue, 1987;
A. Lasius, in Leidse Fijnschilders..., exhibition catalogue, Leiden, 1988, p. 87, under no. 4, reproduced p. 63, fig. 39;
A. Lasius, "Die Schuhmacher-und Schneiderdarstellungen des niederländischen Malers Quiringh Gerritsz. Van Brekelenkam", in Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, vol. I, 1989, p. 142, reproduced fig. 2;
A. Lasius, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Doornspijk 1991, pp. 54-5, 90, no. 34, reproduced pl. II.;
A. Lasius, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Doornspijk 1992, p. 90, cat. no. 34, reproduced pl. II.


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com , an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This panel has been cradled. The panel is originally made from two pieces of wood joined horizontally through the beard of the male figure. The paint layer is stable and the panel is flat. There are some very detailed retouches which have been applied in the wall and mat behind the male figure, in tiny spots in the dark colors beneath his table and in his chair. There are also tiny retouches in the upper right and in the dress of the woman at the spinning wheel. The retouches have most likely been applied fairly recently and although it is tempting to imagine that the painting is still dirty and would respond to cleaning, it could also be hung in its current condition which is very respectable.
"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

Brekelenkam is best remembered for his depictions of tradesmen and craftsmen, a subject that he began to concentrate on in the early 1650s.  In the best of these, such as this painting and a later example in the Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena,1 he focused great attention on the still life elements which are depicted in muted tones, almost devoid of color, that parallel the work of the tonal landscape painters and the monochrome banketje still life painters.

Angelika Lasius (see Literature) lists fourteen paintings by Brekelenkam depicting shoemakers and notes that the rendering of the interior is nearly the same in all:  the light enters the room from a window at the left, giving the scene interesting contrasts of light and shade; shelves in the back are filled with tools and shoe frames; a work table with other tools and equipment stands in front of the window; and various arrangements of kitchen utensils lie on the floor in the right foreground.2 The present painting and another dated 1653 (Lasius cat. no. 33, currently lost) are the earliest paintings by the artist of this subject.

1.  See A. Lasius, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Doornspijk 1992., cat. no. 42, reproduced Plate 7.
2.  A. Lasius, op.cit., p. 54.