Lot 33
  • 33

Wolfgang Heimbach

20,000 - 30,000 EUR
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  • Wolfgang Heimbach
  • Tavern scene lit by candles
  • Oil on panel
    Monogramed on the fire place WH and dated F. 1635


Private collection, France, Saône-et-Loire, since the second half ot the XIXth century


A l'oeil nu, le tableau se présente dans un état de conservation très satisfaisant. Il est peint sur panneau de chêne, constitué de deux planches, non parqueté. la peinture est parfaitement stable et on ne remarque aucun soulèvement de matière. Le panneau est parfaitement droit. Le tableau est sous un vernis très ancien, très encrassé, qui a besoin d'être allégé. On ne remarque pas à l'oeil nu de reprises de matière et de restaurations. On remarque au centre à droite dans les vêtements entre la femme de dos et le personnage assis à droite, une irrégularité formant comme une griffure de dix cm de long. Incident probablement du à un défaut du panneau. A la lampe UV : le tableau apparaît sous un vernis vert uniforme. On remarque quelques très légères et très fines reprises dans la partie extrême gauche au niveau des personnages au deuxième plan dans l'obscurité. On remarque une fine reprise au niveau de l'irrégularité déjà mentionnée. Très belle oeuvre. To the naked eye, the painting is in a very good overall condition. It is painted on a Oaktree panel made of two boards, uncradled. The painting is perfectly stable and we cannot see any lift of painted surface. The panel is perfectly straight. The painting is under an old varnish, very dirty which needs to be lighted. We cannot see any restoration. We see at the centre right in the clothes in between the woman and the sited characters an irregularity making a sort of 10 cm long scratch. This scratch is probably made because of a wood defection. Under the UV light : The painting is under a green uniform varnish. We can see some very slight old restoration in the very left part of the painting around the two children in the dark. Some slight restoration near by the already mentioned irregularity. Very fine piece.
"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.

Catalogue Note

Enigmatic 17th-century figure, the painter Wolfgang Heimbach with his nomadic lifestyles would not have envied the 19th century Romantic painters. A German-born artist, in the early part of his career he produced portraits and scenes of rather rough interiors, influenced by various artists from Central Europe, before leaving for Holland, where he realized the most spectacular works of his career1. The paintings from this period blended a Flemish Caravaggism with picturesque scenes of taverns, and are easily identifiable with the brilliant playing of lights that encompass them. Our painting transmits well this method as proven by this impressive shadow cast by the hat occupying much of a layout initially closed by the amusing figure and repoussoir of a woman against the light. Other paintings of this style reveal whole silhouettes that are reflected as Chinese shadows nicely outlined on white-washed walls with quite often, like here, a corner of the composition occupied by children or figures watching timidly a playful scene.
After his Dutch stay, Heimbach left for Italy, where the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinand II, had to love this expressive Caravaggism, since he requested some paintings between 1645 and 1646. Two of his magnificent and strangely dark paintings are still nowadays in Italy, housed in the Borghese2 Gallery. Finally after Italy, Heimbach returned to the North to become a painter of Denmark’s royal court, and left somewhat this charming method for another style, still fantastic but less nocturnal, and more composed of outdoor scenes such as a return to Flemish village scenes. Finally, if he died apparently not far from his native village, he had then traveled across Europe, possibly as far as England, and enriched himself at each stop with a new manner.

1. 2014 Recent acquisition, Rafael Valls Gallery, Londres, 2014, cat. 16
2. Wolfgang Heimbach, Homme à la bougie et Deux hommes dans un intérieur, Rome, galerie Borghèse.