T his July in Paris, Sotheby’s is honoured to present at auction The Marianne L. Dreesmann-van der Spek Collection: an eclectic but intimate group of pieces assembled during a lifetime of collecting with her husband Professor Dr Drs Anton C.R. Dreesmann.
Encompassing a broad range of objects, from Old Master Paintings and Drawings to Impressionist Art, as well as Sculpture, Chinese Porcelain, Silver and Furniture, the collection encapsulates Mrs Dreesmann’s wide interests and keen eye for beauty. Amongst the highlights are a glowing floral still life by Peter Binoit; the charming painting La Robe Opale by Edouard Vuillard; a subtle pencil drawing by Toulouse-Lautrec which is thought to be a portrait of Oscar Wilde; and a spectacular miniature silver table service by Johannes Adrianus van Geffen from 1779. The Van Geffen Table Service was a particular favourite of Mrs Dreesmann and never failed to enthral the entire family and many guests on festive occasions.
How Marianne Dreesmann Aspired to Make Life a Work of Art
Also from The Marianne L. Dreesmann-van der Spek Collection, Sotheby’s is thrilled to be offering a very rare silver salt by the Dutch master silversmith Adam van Vianen (1568-1627) and a view of Oudezijds Heerenlogement in Amsterdam, by Gerrit Berckheyde. The Van Vianen Silver Salt will lead the Treasures sale in London on 6th July and the Berckheyde view of Amsterdam will be offered in the Old Master Paintings Evening Sale in London on 7th July.
As put beautifully by her own children, “Our mother’s collection is a prime example of cultivated taste, nourished by a wide-ranging and cross-cultural exposure to beauty in its many forms, during most of a long and happy life, filled with love and loyal to our father’s aspiration ‘to make life a work of art’.”
The group of approximately 30 Old Master Drawings included in the sale are predominantly Dutch and French in origin, reflecting the Dreesmanns’ twin passions for their native Dutch culture and landscape, and the elegance of 18th century France.
The rarest drawings in the group are two engaging and delightful, rapidly-drawn figure studies by Hendrick Avercamp, the master of the Dutch ice scene. Avercamp’s drawings are extremely rare on the market; hardly more than 200 survive, and around one third of those are in the British Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
There is also a moving, early 16th-century Italian study of the Madonna and Child, and a mysterious drawing, long believed to be a late Rembrandt, showing the old plague hospital on the outskirts of Amsterdam, as well as a good selection of more decorative works, from 17th-century Dutch watercolours of tulips to a trompe l’oeil drawing that really does deceive the eye.
Mrs. Dreesmann had a passion for miniature furniture and objects and the Van Geffen miniature silver service is indeed the centrepiece of this group and one of the highlights of this collection. Miniature furniture was made in several European countries as part of the exam to become a master of this craft, but its popularity led some examples to be produced with a commercial nature.
In the Netherlands, dolls houses were also quite popular and elaborate interiors were created with exquisite furniture made to scale. The most famous of all, Petronella Oortman’s dolls house at the Rijksmuseum, inspired the 2014 international bestseller The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, later made adapted to television by the BBC.