Property from an American Private Collection
WILLEM BASTIAAN THOLEN
The Billiards Player
signed and dated WB Tholen 96 lower left
oil on canvas
62 by 70cm., 24½ by 27½in.
The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 and 14 Mason's Yard, St James', London, SW1Y 6BU:
UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE
The canvas is evenly and securely stretched onto what is evidently the original keyed wooden stretcher. There are, almost inevitably for an unlined canvas of this period, some lines of drying craquelure and faint stretcher-bar lines all of which are entirely stable and it is most encouraging to find the canvas in it's original unlined state.
The paint surface has an even varnish layer and inspection under ultraviolet light shows a few very small spots of retouching on the figure of the pool player and minimal retouchings around the framing edges. There are other areas that fluoresce unevenly which appear to be pentimenti or artist's alterations rather than later retouching.
The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition and no further work is required.
For further information please contact Benedetta.email@example.com.
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.
Henri Arntzenius, The Hague (probably acquired from the artist)
Johanna Arntzenius-Bouvin, The Hague (widow of the above)
Thence by descent to the present owner, grandson of the above
R.S. Bakels. W.B. Tholen: 150 werken van zijn hand, den kunstenaar op zijn 70sten verjaardag aangeboden, The Hague, 1930 (as Biljartspeler (P. Meiners))
G. Knuttel, W.B. Tholen: met 5 reproducties in kleuren en 40 in zwart, The Hague, 1944
Friedrich von Boetticher, Malerwerke des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, Minden, 1974, p. 884, no. 24, listed
Anneke De Jong, Willem Bastiaan Tholen, 1860 – 1931. exh. cat., Gouda & Assen, 1993
Berlin, Internationale Kunst-Ausstellung, 1896, no. 2267 (as Billardspieler)
Rotterdam, Kunstkring, Tentoonstelling van werk van W.B. Tholen, 1906, no. 62 (as Biljardspeler)
The Hague, Kunsthandel J.J. Biesing, Tentoonstelling van schilderijen en aquarellen van W.B. Tholen, 1906, no. 31
Munich, XI. Internationale Kunstausstellung im Königlichen Glaspalast, 1913 (a label on the reverse)
Venice, XI Esposizione internazionale d'arte della citta' di Venezia, 1914 (a label on the reverse)
The Hague, Pulchri Studio, Eere-tentoonstelling W.B. Tholen, 1930, no. 45 (as Biljartspeler)
Unseen in public since 1930, the present work depicts Tholen's fellow artist and friend Piet Meiners in an interior at Ewijckshoeve, near Utrecht. Tholen met Meiners (1857-1903) while studying at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. The estate of Ewijckshoeve took its name from Justus van Ewijck who established it in the late seventeenth century; at the time the present work was painted it was rented by the family of painter Willem Witsen (1860-1923), a friend of both Tholen and Meiners, and all three artists painted there.
A pupil of Paul Gabriël in Brussels, Tholen established himself as a landscape artist with views of the Hague and Scheveningen. More than almost any other in his oeuvre, the present work reveals his talent at portraying the human figure. The painting bears comparison with Parisian Impressionism, and Gustave Caillebotte in particular, through the informal composition, arbitrary cropping and the beautifully observed play of light from outside. The sleeping dog lends the interior an intimate sense of calm, which contrasts with the children's games in the field outside.
A version of the composition executed in watercolour, measuring 55 by 69cm and also with Arntzenius-Bouvin provenance, is in the collection of the Gemeentemuseum, the Hague. The present work was painted the year after Tholen's Self-Portrait in a Wooded Landscape, recently acquired by the Dordrechts Museum (fig. 1).
The retrospective exhibition Willem Bastiaan Tholen: A Joyful Nature will take place later this year at the Fondation Custodia, Paris (21 September - 15 December 2019), and then the Dordrechts Museum (9 February - 31 May 2020).