Two Portraits by Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen Acquired by the Catharijneconvent in Utrecht

9/8/12 - Acquisition - Utrecht, Museum Catharijneconvent - Born in London of Flemish or Dutch parents (documentary sources vary on this point), no doubt trained in Holland before returning to settle in England around 1618, the portraitist Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen left the country in 1643 when he moved to Amsterdam then Utrecht where he died. Considered to be an English painter, his art is essentially marked by Flanders, notably Van Dyck.

1. Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen (1593-1661)
Portrait of Willem Thielen, 1634
Oil on Panel - 78.7 x 62.7 cm
Utrecht, Museum Catherijnconvent
Photo : Catherijnconvent

2. Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen (1593-1661)
Portrait of Maria Thielen, 1634
Oil on Panel - 78.7 x 62.7 cm
Utrecht, Museum Catherijnconvent
Photo : Catherijnconvent

The two companion portraits (ill. 1 and 2) acquired by the Museum Catharijnconvent in Utrecht clearly attest to the influence of this Flemish painter on van Ceulen’s art. Produced in 1634, they are both in oval format, a type of composition he often used. They were purchased from the Weiss Gallery in London which had presented them at the last Maastricht fair. Previously, they had been sold in September 2011 by Christie’s in an auction offering part of the collections assembled by Vicecount Cowdray in the early 20th century and who had acquired them on the London art market in 1913.
Although Dutch museums already hold about twenty portraits painted by Cornelis Jonson van Ceulen, the museum explained that none was from the artist’s British period. Willem Thielen had close ties to the Protestant movement in Holland : he was a pastor at the Dutch church of Austian Friars in London, founded in 1550 by refugees from the Low Countries.

3. Bohemia or Southern Germany, circa 1425
Polychromatic Wood (Satinwood) - 100 x 67 x 32 cm
Utrecht, Catharijneconvent
Photo : Catharijneconvent

We take this opportunity to also point out that since the addition to the Museum Catharijnconvent of the canvas representing The Four Doctors of the Church by Abraham Bloemart, the museum has also purchased in 2011 a Pietà in polychromatic wood, from circa 1425, from southern Germany, that is Bohemia (ill. 3). The work had been on deposit there for several years already but, as proven recently, had been looted during the war from the Gutmann-Von Landau collection. After being restituted to the rightful heirs, the sculpture was to have come up for auction at Sotheby’s London. Instead, it was acquired directly by the Catharijnconvent before the sale.

Version française

Didier Rykner, mardi 14 août 2012

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