The Hornstein Donation in Montreal (4)

1. Joos de Momper (1564-1635)
Village in Winter
Oil on Panel - 44.6 x 74.9 cm
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

24/12/12 - Acquisitions - Montreal, Musée des Beaux-Arts - The Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal continues to unveil the treasures received in the Hornstein donation, particularly rich in Flemish and Dutch works.

The Antwerp artist Joos de Momper the Younger was particularly good at depicting the winter atmosphere in a landscape, still marked by the influence of Bruegel, in a panel (ill. 1) for which there is a known variation held at the State Museum in Lower Saxony. This composition is much like a winter landscape by the same artist, held at Chalons-en-Champagne. The painting also presents a diagonal composition provided by the trees which lead the eye to the cold and misty sky.

2. Philips Wouwerman (1619–1668)
River Landscape with Bathers, c. 1653
Oil on Canvas - 68 x 104 cm
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

The myriad details and the vivacity of the bathers in the river landscape by Philips Wouwerman (ill. 2), an Italianate work painted in the years 1652-1653, recall a genre scene. A drawing, residing at the British Museum, is preparatory for this work largely inspired by a River Landscape with Bathers by Pieter Van Laer from the Kunsthalle in Bremen.
The provenance of this Wouwerman painting is prestigious : it belonged to the art dealer Jean-Baptiste Lebrun, the husband of Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, as well as to Count Heinrich von Bruhl, Prime Minister to the King of Poland and Saxon Elector of Augustus III, and to the dealer Charles Sedelmeyer and the banker Hermann Wallich.

A seascape by Willem van de Velde the Younger (ill. 3) belonged to Charles Jennens in London, a collector who owned no less than seventeen works by this artist. A student under his father, Willem van de Velde the Younger specialized like him in seascapes. The remarkable way in which he represents here two boats fleeing before an oncoming storm explains why his art was so appreciated in 19th century England, notably by John Constable.

3. Willem van de Velde the Younger (1633–1707)
A Kaag and a Weyshuit Sailing in Front of
a Big Breeze
, c. 1685
Oil on Canvas
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

4. Christiaen Luyckx (1623-1670)
Opulent Still-Life with Silver
and Gilt Metal Objects,
Nautilus Shell,
Porcelain, Food and Other Motifs
on a Draped Table
, c. 1650
Oil on Copper - 81.9 x 100.6 cm
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

Despite the celebrity enjoyed during his lifetime, Christaen Luyckx is little known today though he remains one of the best representatives of Flemish still-lifes. The copper in the Hornstein collection (ill. 4) stands out for its particularly large format, unusual for this support. Although this type of composition often contains a hidden sense, notably a reference to the passing of life, this accumulation of fruit, shellfish, seashells, fabrics and silver objects is an allegory, however unintended, of plenty. Luyckx’s paintings are often mistakenly attributed to his contemporary Jan Davidsz. de Heem. This masterpiece will join a painting by the latter, also from the Hornstein collection, received in 2007.

The Hornstein donation presented to the museum also holds some Italian works. Another sumptuous still-life, by the Bergamo artist Evaristo Baschenis (ill. 5) has thus now been added to the collections here. The work is typical of this painter who liked to depict string instruments, notably lutes, and excelled in rendering the brilliant shine of the wood. This Interior with Musical Instruments reveals the same beautiful effects of shadow and light found in all of his works eliciting the name of Caravaggio or his Italian and Dutch followers.

5. Evaristo Baschenis (1617–1677)
Interior with Musical Instruments, c. 1665-1670
Oil on Canvas - 82 x 99 cm
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

6. Rosalba Carriera (1675–1757)
Portrait of Madame Lethieullier, 1739
Pastel - 61.2 x 46.6 cm
Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts
Photo : MBAM

We conclude this new listing of works in the Hornstein donation, which is almost exclusively made up of oil paintings, with one exception. This is a pastel representing the Portrait of Madame Lethieullier (ill. 6), the wife of the antique dealer Smart Lethieuillier who, during his Grand Tour, visited Venice in 1739. This is probably the date when this work was produced and is typical of Rosalba Carrera’s art.

Once again, we can only step back and reflect on the generosity and importance of the Hornstein donation for Montreal but also for Canada as the pieces by Joos de Momper, Willem van de Velde the Younger and Evaristo Baschenis are the first to join a Canadian public collection.

Version française

Bénédicte Bonnet Saint-Georges, samedi 5 janvier 2013

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