LUDOLF DE JONGH
(Overschie 1616 - 1679 Hillegersberg)
PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY, FULL LENGTH, HOLDING A KESTREL
oil on canvas
58⅞ by 44½ in.; 149.5 by 113 cm.
The canvas is lined. The painting presents an elegant sitter that reads well, though some of the details to the shirt and background curtain have slightly thinned. The landscape at left presents beautifully and its paint surface has been well preserved. Inspection under UV reveals scattered thin inpainting to the sky and face of the sitter, while two more concentrated spots of strengthening are on his face: one on the bottom of his proper left cheek, and the other above his proper left eye. Further spots of retouching are scattered on the black shirt, background curtain, and ground. What appears to be an old repair fluoresces under UV at the bottom of the cane the child holds. Given its size, the painting is in overall good condition and can hang as is. Offered in an ebonized wood frame with a gold inner liner.
"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."
By descent in the Wauchope family of Niddrie Marischal, Edinburgh;
By whose trustees sold, London, Christie's, 12 May 1950, lot 77 (as A. Van Noordt);
There acquired by Adams Acton;
Charles H.E. Phillips, O.B.E., Mexico City, by 1964;
Thence by descent in the family, California, until 2019.
Mexico City, Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, Palacio de Bellas Artes, Pintura Neerlandesa en México: Siglos XV, XVI y XVII, April - May 1964, no. 73 (as Jan van Noordt).
Pintura Neelandesa en México: Siglos XV, XVI y XVII, exhibition catalogue, Mexico City 1964, p. 16, cat. no. 73 (as Jan van Noordt), reproduced p. 68;
D. A. de Witt, Jan van Noordt (1624—after 1676), Montereal 2000, pp. XV, 363, cat. no. R65 (as not by Jan van Noordt), reproduced p. 388, fig. L53 (as paintings known only from literary sources);
D. A. de Witt, Jan van Noordt: Painter of History and Portraits in Amsterdam, Montreal 2007, p. 271, cat. no. R70 (under Rejected Attributions), reproduced.
This painting stands as testimony to Ludolf de Jongh’s skills in portraiture, a genre that comprises a significant core of his oeuvre. The elegant young man’s costume suggests a date of circa 1648-50, an increasingly productive period for the artist when his portraits were characterized by more animated and colorful features. During the seventeenth century, such full length portraits were reserved for the upper class, and the young sitter’s elevated status is further indicated by his elegant costume and by the exotic bird perched on his hand.
Born in Overschie as the son of a tanner and a shoemaker, Ludolf de Jongh turned his attention to painting upon his family’s move to Rotterdam, training first there with Cornelis Saftleven, then Antonie Palamedesz. in Delft, and finally with Jan van Bijlert in Utrecht. In 1642, after a sojourn in France, De Jongh returned to Rotterdam, and by about 1650, when the present work was likely executed, he had established himself as one of the leading artists of that city as a versatile painter of scenes of everyday life, domestic interiors, and portraiture. Although he was also skilled as a landscape painter, he sometimes called upon others to assist with this element, as is likely the case in the present work; this is also the case in his Rest on the hunt, last recorded in a German private collection .
Visible in the present work are some of de Jongh’s most favored visual elements, in particular the contrast between the deep recession into space in the landscape at left, dramatically contrasted against the limited depth at right, here further enhanced by the masonry of the wall. Comparable visual elements are found also in De Jongh’s full length portrait of a boy with a dog, titled The Lesson and dated 1661, in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (inv. no. 63.54), as well his Portrait of a Boy sold at Christie’s London in 2008 for £97,250 . The latter portrait also bears the date of 1648, placing it very close in the date of execution of the present lot.
We are grateful to Dr. Roland Fleischer for endorsing the attribution to Ludolf de Jongh on the basis of photographs and for his assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.
1. See R. Fleischer, Ludolf de Jongh (1616-1679), Painter of Rotterdam, Doornspijk 1989, p. 141, fig. 43.
2. Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 2 December 2008, lot 3.