Anonymous sale ('Collection Privée Parisienne'), Paris, Christie's, 26 June 2008, lot 21.
Likely to date to the second half of the 1630s, this brunaille by Adriaen van de Venne belongs to a series of satirical representations of marginalised, low-life figures accompanied by moralising inscriptions, which constitute a large proportion of Van de Venne’s artistic output. Here, beneath the jumble of limbs and rags is the inscription in gothic lettering: Mijd Lijden, a variant of the saying Mijdt Lijdt, meaning ‘avoid suffering’. Adriaen van de Venne was born in Delft, his parents having fled from the Southern Netherlands to avoid religious persecution. He was a painter, poet and illustrator, his drawings often accompanied the writings of other moralising poets such as Jacob Cats and Johan de Brune. He is thought to have learnt the grisaille technique from his master Hieronymus van Diest (an obscure artist – not the later marine painter).
The panel is un-cradled but has a horizontal baton on the reverse supporting a horizontal crack or panel join that runs the width of the picture. This line is visible from the front and has a few retouching's along it. Otherwise there are no major damages visible, but some frame abrasion; a few tiny retouched losses at the upper left and right corners; one retouched dent in the centre of the upper margin and some surface scratches (in the background to the left of the central figure and the other in her skirts). Inspection under ultra violet light reveals a scattering of minor and sensitively executed retouching's throughout but in overall good condition.
This lot is offered in a carved wooden frame with some chips and losses. "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. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."