View full screen - View 1 of Lot 521. The Unequal Lovers.
521

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

The Unequal Lovers

Estimate:

80,000

to
- 120,000 USD

Property from the Estate of Paul Kasmin

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

The Unequal Lovers

The Unequal Lovers

Estimate:

80,000

to
- 120,000 USD

Property from the Estate of Paul Kasmin

Cornelis Cornelisz. van Haarlem

Haarlem 1562 - 1638

The Unequal Lovers


signed with the monogram and dated upper center: CH. [in ligature] 1619

oil on panel

panel: 26 by 27 5/8 in.; 66 by 70.3 cm.

framed: 39 by 40 in.; 99.1 by 101.6 cm. 

This painting presents an impressive image despite the fact that it has not be restored in some time. The surface is under an uneven, dirty and dry varnish which clouds the surface slightly, but it is clear that the two figures are overall well preserved with good retention of detail in the heads, costumes, jewels, etc. The monogram signature and date is still clear and strong. There is a small damage in the pursue, with paint loss. The reverse of the panel has been cradled, probably in the mid-20th Century. This would seem to address some small old and restored splits in the panel, from the right edge, through the man's hand and into the chest of the woman. Another is below this in the man's chest. Both of these are restored, and the panel appears to be stable. Under UV: there are scattered touches to address various issue. For the most part these are minor, touches around his left proper eye, under his nose, and some touches in his hat. Similar touches in the purse and a very few small ones in her chin and check. In his red jacket and the space between the two figures there are more touches, and some restorations at the left edge. These are not terribly concerning. There are more broad restorations, which appear to address old losses to the paint layer. His thumb at left, for example, as overpaint, and there are areas of her chest and hand. These seem to be broadly applied. Despite all of these, this picture is impressive, and should be cleaned, restored, have the old restorations readjusted. It should make a significant difference. Offered in a modern black ebonized wooden Dutch 17th Century style wide molding frame.


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. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color 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. The condition report is a statement of opinion only. For that reason, the condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE/BUSINESS APPLICABLE TO THE RESPECTIVE SALE.

Abraham van der Voort, Amsterdam, by 1620;1
Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, De Winter-Yver, July 15, 1772, lot 30, to Yver;
With Jean Yver, Amsterdam (active 1770-1777);
By whom sold, Amserdam, Schley, 13 December 1802, lot 84, to Johannes Arnoldus;
Presumably anonymous sale, Amsterdam, 16 October 1815, lot 38, for 53 guilders, to Adriaan de Lelie;2
S.M. de Boer;
His sale, Amsterdam, 15 April 1840, lot 17, for 33 guilders, to Esser;
Merlo collection, Cologne, circa 1890;
Von Liphart collection, Ratshof near Dorpat, 1899;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Lady"), London, Christie's, 12 December 1986, lot 5, for £18,000;
With Stanley Moss, Riverdale-on-Hudson, New York;
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie’s, 10 January 1990, lot 177;
Dr. Hilary Koprowski and Dr. Irena Koprowska, New York;
By whom sold, New York, Sotheby's, 4 June 2014, lot 47;
There acquired by Paul Kasmin. 
N. von Holst, “Über Einige Kunstwerke in Baltendeutschem Privatbesitz” in Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch, 12/13 1943, pp. 320 and 336;
P.J.J. van Thiel, Cornelis Cornelisz van Haarlem 1562-1638, A Monograph and Catalogue Raisonné, Ghent 1999, pp. 136 and 380, cat. no. 224, reproduced plate XXVIII.

The theme of unequal lovers has a long literary history, but in the visual arts it most often appeared in prints, usually accompanied by a moralizing inscription. The theme took two different forms, that of an old woman soliciting a handsome young man, and, more commonly, an old man soliciting a pretty young woman. Here Cornelis van Haarlem indicates the difference in ages quite subtly, adding a little grey to the man's beard.  The artist focuses instead on the mercenary aspects of the transaction, indicating the man's wealth by the fur on his cloak, the gold medal on his hat and, most obviously, by the bulging money bag that the woman squeezes suggestively.


Cornelis made several paintings of Unequal Lovers, including an interesting variant with a third figure – a young man allied with the woman – one of which was sold in these Rooms on 31 January 2013, lot 5, for $340,000. All show large figures, usually in half-length set against a nearly empty background. It was a format he used for many of his genre subjects to bring the viewer closer to the scene.


1. For further information on the provenance, including transcriptions of the Dutch notes and an English translation, see Literature, Van Thiel, p. 380.

2. The consignor of the lot is identified as "Munk" in the copy of the auction catalogue in the Kunstbibliothek der Staatlichen Museen, Berlin, Germany. Van Thiel, op. cit., felt the description in the catalogue was too brief to be certain that the picture is identical with the present work.