Highlights from Christie’s Upcoming Old Masters Evening Sale

By IANSlife Features

New Delhi, June 20 (IANSlife): Auction houses announce Jan Davidsz. de Heem (Utrecht 1606–1684 Antwerp), a still life of banquet and Dirck Hals (Haarlem 1591–1656) and Dirck van Delen (Heusden 1604 / 5-1671 Arnemuiden) A merry company in a sumptuous interior, like two facts highlights in the upcoming Old Masters Evening Sale which takes place live on July 8 at Christie’s King Street. The sale is part of the renowned auction series that includes this season’s classic week schedule.

De Heem’s lavish Banquet still life is widely regarded as one of his most beautiful and important works. Kept in remarkable condition, it offers a dazzling demonstration of the artist’s technical virtuosity on a large scale. Long-term loaned to the Centraal Museum in Utrecht since 1948, the painting has subsequently appeared in no less than twelve international exhibitions, making it one of the most admired and published Dutch still lifes of the era. modern.

Dirck Hals and Dirck van Delen’s monumental A Merry Company is one of their most ambitious and successful artistic collaborations. Combining the innovative spirit of Hals’ crowded character groups with the splendid imaginary interiors of van Delen, he embodies the genre’s most beloved traits that emerged in the Dutch Republic in the second decade of the 17th century.

Both works are put on the market by the heirs of Jacob Lierens (February 5, 1877 – May 30, 1949) who was a Jewish businessman and art collector in pre-war Amsterdam. Partner in the company L. Lierens & Coat Raamgracht 24, and later in Prinsengracht 353-355, a scrap and textile company passed down from his father Hartog, Jacob married Henriette Johanna Benavente (July 20, 1877 – June 10, 1956) in 1895 The couple lived in Villa Johanna at 196 Amsteldijk and had four daughters: Elisabeth (February 16, 1900 – May 30, 1930), Rebecca Bosboom (January 15, 1902 – March 21, 1996), Branca Roselaar (October 8, 1905– September 30, 1942) and Esther Cardozo (July 3, 1907–1971). Both paintings: A banqueting still life by Jan Davidsz de Heem and A Merry Company in a lavish interior by Dirk Hals (the younger brother of Frans Hals) and Dirck van Delen were included in the forced sale of the Lierens collection, which took place at Frederick Muller & Cie. in Amsterdam on October 14, 1941. There, these paintings were purchased by Hans Posse, the head of the Linz Special Commission who acquired works of art for the “Fuhrermuseum” planned to be built in Linz, Austria.

Recovered at the end of the war by the Section of Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives of the Allies or “Monuments Men”, the two paintings were returned to the Netherlands, where they were transferred to the Dutch post-war organizations. who took care of the reception and return of these works. The paintings became long-term loans from the Dutch government collection: the Hals at the Haarlem Museum and the De Heem at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht respectively.

After the war, Lierens and his family pursued various restitution claims, including compensation for the loss of household items and jewelry. In 2018, the current Restitution Committee in the Netherlands, set up with renewed interest in Holocaust-era property following the 1998 Washington Conference, recommended the return of these two paintings to the heirs of Jacob and Johanna. The Committee concluded on its recommendation that “the sale of the paintings was linked to the measures taken by the occupying forces against the Jewish members of the population and aimed at saving the life of the couple”.

Lierens’ granddaughter, Elisabeth (b.1934) remembers living in hiding during the war and her son David Linder explains: “My mother only spoke of those years about 50 years later. .. When I told her about the return of the two paintings, she was overwhelmed with joy. She didn’t expect to live to see him. For her, these paintings symbolize life because they allowed Jacob Lierens to pay for a hiding place and to ensure that his family did not die of hunger. “

Following the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in May 1940, L. Lierens & Co was “Aryanised” in 1941 and the family’s house and property were confiscated on March 31, 1942. In 1943, Lierens and his wife were imprisoned for some time in the Westerbork transit camp, a detention camp which usually led to deportation and from which few people returned. The happy release of the Lieren was guaranteed by a cash payment in August of the same year. From there, the couple and the family went into hiding, financed by the sale of some of their belongings.

Lierens and his wife survived the war, as did their daughter Esther and her family, who were also in hiding, and their daughter Rebecca and her family, who fled to New York in 1939; Johanna joined them there after Jacob’s death in 1949. Their daughter Branca Roselaar-Lierens and her husband Emanuel Roselaar did not survive the war and perished in Auschwitz.

Henry Pettifer, responsible for old paintings, comments: “It is an honor to manage the sale of two magnificent paintings from the golden age of Dutch painting. The extraordinarily detailed still life by Jan Davidsz. De Heem is one of his most famous works; while the interior of Dirck Hals and Dirck van Delen is one of the most awe-inspiring genre scenes of the time. Having recently been returned by the Dutch government to the heirs of Jacob Lierens, this will be the first time either image has appeared on the market in eighty years and I foresee a strong interest in both works. ‘

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