View full screen - View 1 of Lot 321. Portrait of a lady, possibly Margaretha Mertha, wife of Hendrik Pilgram, three-quarter length, wearing black with gold chains.
321

Nicolas Neufchatel

Portrait of a lady, possibly Margaretha Mertha, wife of Hendrik Pilgram, three-quarter length, wearing black with gold chains

VAT reduced rate

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 50,000 GBP

The Property of a European Private Collector

Nicolas Neufchatel

Nicolas Neufchatel

Portrait of a lady, possibly Margaretha Mertha, wife of Hendrik Pilgram, three-quarter length, wearing black with gold chains

Portrait of a lady, possibly Margaretha Mertha, wife of Hendrik Pilgram, three-quarter length, wearing black with gold chains

Estimate:

30,000

to
- 50,000 GBP

The Property of a European Private Collector

Nicolas Neufchatel

Active Antwerp and Nuremberg, 1539-1573

Portrait of a lady, possibly Margaretha Mertha, wife of Hendrik Pilgram, three-quarter length, wearing black with gold chains


oil on panel

unframed: 100.9 x 80.1 cm.; 39¾ x 31½ in.

framed: 115.2 x 92 cm.; 45⅜ x 36¼ in.

The panel is cradled, the paint surface is relatively clean, and the varnish is pretty clear and even. Two vertical joins or splits, with associated retouching, are visible running the height of the panel, just right of centre, and a couple of inches from the left-hand margin. In raking light it is also possible to discern a few horizontal lines of retouching in the background to the left and right of the sitter's shoulders, and in the lower right corner, running from her black velvet cuff to the right-hand margin. Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms these and reveals further small retouchings scattered throughout the background, most notably in the lower left corner. There are also areas of retouching in the upper half of her face (as well as to the join which runs through this), her left shoulder, centre of her chest, in small areas of her right hand, and small, but more numerously scattered down her right side and in the lower half of her dress. Despite these, the portrait presents very well in its current state, and is in overall fair 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. 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.

Anonymous sale, Berlin, Jacob Hecht, 26–27 May 1925, lot 617;
A.G. collection, Hamburg;
Whence sold, Berlin, Rudolph Lepke, 16 November 1926, lot 72;
Acquired at auction in Germany, probably in the 1980s, lot 156 (where identified as the wife of Hendrik Pilgram), by a private collector, Heidelberg;
From whom acquired, in the 1980s, by the present owner.
R.A. Peltzer, 'Nicolas Neufchatel und seine Nürnberger Bildnisse', in Münchner Jahrbuch der bildenden Kunst, vol. III, 1926, p. 229, no. 7 (under 'Doubtful attributions', as 'very close to Neufchatel', on the basis of a poor image).1

Nicolas Neufchatel was a Netherlandish artist who trained in Antwerp under Pieter Coecke van Aelst (1502–50), but was later active in Germany, and became the most important portraitist to the Nuremberg elite during the 1560s and early 1570s. 


Two of Neufchatel's finest works are the full-length portraits of the merchant Hans Hendrik Pilgram and his wife, Margaretha Mertha, painted in 1561, today in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (inv. nos 346 and 348).2 The present portrait has previously been identified as a likeness of Margharetha Mertha, depicted at a more advanced age than the young lady in the Budapest work. In any case, the lady portrayed here is clearly of an elevated social status, indicated by the fine gold chains – for which Nuremberg goldsmiths were famed – and the ornate, jewelled rings that she wears.


We are grateful to Professor Jeffrey Chipps Smith for endorsing the attribution to Neufchatel on the basis of digital images. 


1 When listed in his article of 1926, Peltzer wrote of this painting that it appeared to be very close to Neufchatel, but that the poor image he had seen (presumably from the Hecht sale catalogue in 1925), precluded a firm conclusion as to the attribution.

2 https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/portrait-of-hans-heinrich-pilgram/; and https://www.mfab.hu/artworks/portrait-of-margaretha-mertha-merthen-the-wife-of-heinrich-pilgram/