Property from the SØR Rusche Collection
WILLEM VAN MIERIS
Leiden 1662 - 1747
Circe begging Ulysses for mercy after he has resisted her drugged cup
signed lower right: Willem van Mieris
oil on panel
60 x 50 cm.; 23⅝ x 19⅝ in.
The bevelled panel is uncradled, flat and stable. The paint surface is relatively clean, and the varnish is slightly discoloured and uneven. There are no major damages visible to the naked eye. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals a handful of pin-prick retouchings in Circe's chest and face, a tiny fine line to an old scratch in her knee, and a spot retouching underneath the outstretched arms of the female figure on the left. There may be further pin-prick retouchings scattered in the foreground and background, but it is difficult to tell underneath the uneven varnish which fluoresces opaquely, and the painting appears in overall very good condition. Offered in a gilt wood frame with a few 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."
Baron Gerard Godfried Taets van Amerongen;
His sale, Amsterdam, Philippus Van der Schley, 3 July 1805, lot 30;
With Pierre-Joseph Lafontaine, London;
His sale, London, Christie's, 13 June 1807, lot 20, for £99–15s to Hyman Collins;
Thomas Hamlet (1770–1853), London;
By whom offered, Paris, C.P. Martin, 31 July 1833, lot 89, where presumably unsold;
By whom sold, London, Robins, 24 March 1834, lot 17, for £105 to Piddel [?];
Unknown sale, (announced in Newspaper), 15 February 1984, reproduced;
With Christophe Janet, New York, 1984;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 9 April 1986, lot 65, when acquired.
New York, Christophe Janet, The Intimate Vision, 19 March – 21 April 1984;
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, De Hollandse Fijn Schilders, van Gerard Dou tot Adriaen van der Werff, November 1989 – February 1990;
Rotterdam 2008, no. 86.
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J. Smith, Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné..., vol IX, London 1892, p. 62, cat. no. 31;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné..., vol. X, Esslingen 1926, p. 126, cat. no. 85;
P. Hecht, Dutch painters. From Gerard Dou to Adriaen van der Werf, Amsterdam 1989, p. 98, reproduced fig. 18a;
F. Scholten, 'Een ijvore Mars van Francis, de beeldsnijder van bossuit en de familie de la Court', in Rijksmuseum Bulletin, Amsterdam 1999, vol. 47, p. 38 and 40, under cat. no. 50, reproduced p. 42, fig. 19;
Rotterdam 2008, p. 93, reproduced no. 86;
Raupp 2010, pp. 250–55, cat. no. 40, reproduced in colour.
Willem van Mieris belongs to the second generation of Leiden fijnschilder painters – artists working in the style pioneered by Gerrit Dou, creating works distinguished by meticulously-executed, exquisite details and smooth surfaces. Trained in the workshop of his father, Frans van Mieris, Willem was particularly interested in the idealisation of the female nude, following his study of classical sculpture. This preoccupation is clearly reflected here in the elegant figure of Circe.
A second treatment of this theme by Van Mieris, also on panel but of larger dimensions (33 x 44 cm.) and of a landscape format, is in the collection of the Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska.(1)
1 Inv. no. 1995.20; signed and dated 1690.