Property from the SØR Rusche Collection
EGBERT VAN HEEMSKERCK THE ELDER
Haarlem 1634/35 - 1704 London
signed with monogram lower right: HK (in ligature)
oil on oak panel, with an unidentified collector's red wax seal on the reverse
unframed: 39.9 x 33.7 cm.; 16 x 13¼ in.
framed: 52 x 45.5 cm.; 20½ x 18 in.
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The panel is uncradled, flat and stable. The paint surface is relatively clean and the varnish slightly discoloured. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals two campaigns of retouching underneath the thick varnish; the older campaign consists of spots scattered in the sitter's face, most notably in his proper left eye and proper right cheek; the newer campaign consists of fine lines, scattered throughout his coat, the upper margin, and a more concentrated area along the upper right margin. In overall fine condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's. For that reason, Sotheby's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot.
With D.A. Hoogendijk, Amsterdam, 1932;
R.H. Ward, London;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 17 February 1936, lot 112, for 11 Guineas to Peel;
With Galerie Dr. Schäffer, Berlin;
Anonymous sale, Monaco, Sotheby's, 2–3 December 1988, lot 640;
Private collection, France;
With D. Koetser, Zürich, 1989–90;
With Spencer A. Samuels, New York, 1990 (when advertised in The Burlington Magazine, vol. 132, October 1990);
Anonymous sale ('The Property of an Estate'), New York, Sotheby's, 28 May 1999, lot 35 (as Egbert van Heemskerck the Younger), when acquired.
H.P. Bremmer (ed.), Beeldende Kunst 19. Jaargang, vol. XIX, March 1933, p. 83, cat. no. 83, reproduced;
H. van Hall, Portretten van Nederlandse beeldende kunstenaars. Repertorium, Amsterdam 1963, p. 131, cat. no. 863.1;
H.-J. Raupp (ed.), Stilleben und Tierstücke. Niederländische Malerei des 17. Jahrhundert der SØR Rusche Sammlung, vol. V, Münster 2004, pp. 286–89, cat. no. 66, reproduced in colour;
W. Pijbes, M. Aarts, M. J. Bok et al., At Home in the Golden Age, exh. cat., Zwolle 2008, p. 58, cat. no. 40, reproduced in colour.
Amsterdam, D.A. Hoogendijk, Zeldzame meesters uit de 17e eeuw: catalogus van weinig bekende meesters uit de zeventiende eeuw, 15 June – 15 July 1932, no. 40;
Rotterdam, Kunsthal, At Home in the Golden Age, 9 February – 18 May 2008, no. 40.
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This is one of three presumed self-portraits of the painter of genre scenes, Egbert van Heemskerck the Elder. Heemskerck was the step-brother of the landscape artist Jan Wijnants and was also active in Haarlem. Van Heemskerck was one of several artists to move to London at the end of the 17th century. If one presumes that the artist appears to be around 40 years old in this portrait, it is likely that it was painted around the time that he came to London. Legend has it that he painted a depiction (as yet untraced) of King Charles II surrounded by his favourite ladies-in-waiting, the irreverent spirit of which almost led to the artist's execution.
Demand for portraiture gained increasing momentum during the Dutch Golden Age as more and more of the population could afford to commission likenesses of themselves and their families. The development of the art market also led to increased interest in the identity of the artist, and of course painters such as Rembrandt developed the genre of self-reflection to an unprecedented degree.