Property from the SØR Rusche Collection
Recorded in Middelburg in 1662
A tavern scene with peasants smoking and drinking
signed and dated lower left: Natus.1661
oil on oak panel
51.3 x 48.2 cm.; 20⅛ x 19 in.
The panel is uncradled, flat and stable. The paint surface is relatively clean and the varnish only slightly discoloured. Inspection under ultraviolet light is impeded by an opaque varnish but appears to reveal extremely little intervention, save for a handful of minor retouchings in the mullion of the window at the left margin, and in the wall above the window sill. A handful of spot retouchings are found in the upper left corner, along the lower margin, and on the right margin to the right of the figures in the background. The painting appears otherwise untouched and in very good condition.
"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."
Lord Biddulph, London, 1954;
By whom sold, London, Sotheby's, 12 May 1954, lot 51 (as Claes Molenaer), to Douwes;
With Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam;
F.C. Butôt, Sankt Gilgen, Austria;
Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Gentleman'), London, Sotheby's, 12 July 1978, lot 29, for £16,000 to Gregor;
With Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam, by 1990, from whom acquired in circa 1996.
Middelburg, Stadhuis, Het oof van de meester. Nederlandse schilderkunst uit de 17e eeuw, 1968, no. 35;
Salzburg / Münster 1972–1973, unnumbered;
Rotterdam 1973, unnumbered;
Berlin, Kaiser-Friedrich-Museums-Verein, Holländische Malerei aus Berliner Privatbesitz, 1984, no. 44;
Rotterdam 2008, no. 37.
The SØR Rusche Collection has been exhibited extensively over the last two decades. Please click here for further information.
Salzburg / Münster 1972–1973, pp. 94–95, reproduced;
Rotterdam 1973, pp. 76–77, reproduced;
W. Bernt, Die Niederländischen Maler und Zeichner des 17. Jahrhunderts, Munich 1980, vol. II, reproduced fig. 886;
R.E. Fleischer, Ludolf de Jongh (1616-1679): Painter of Rotterdam, Doornspijk 1989, p. 80, reproduced fig. 99;
Raupp 2004, pp. 302–05, cat. no. 71, reproduced in colour;
Rotterdam 2008, p. 56, cat. no. 37, reproduced in colour.
Almost nothing is known of Johannes Natus’ life and career, except that in 1662 it is documented that he became a member of the Guild of Saint Luke in Middelburg – the city second only to Amsterdam as Holland’s most important centre of trade during the 17th century. The artist appears to have specialised in high-quality depictions of tavern interiors, the rather monumental figures, quality of light, and colours in which suggest that he may have spent time in Italy.