Lot No. 77 -


John Closterman – a pair (2)


John Closterman – a pair (2) - Old Master Paintings

(Osnabrück 1660–1711 London)
Portraits of King Charles II of Spain and his second wife, Maria Anna of Neuburg, in hunting costumes,
oil on canvas, each 207 x 107 cm, framed (2)

Provenance:
Probably commissioned from Closterman in Madrid in 1698

We are grateful to Gloria Martinez Leiva for confirming the authenticity of the present paintings and for identifying them as the portraits Closterman painted of the royal couple between autumn 1698 and spring 1699 in Madrid and which were considered lost. An extensive certificate is available. Gloria Martinez Leiva will publish the two portraits in an essay.

In the summer of 1698, John Closterman arrived in the Spanish capital, where one of his most important patrons, Alexander Stanhope, held office as English ambassador. Closterman was to paint the latter’s portrait in Madrid before travelling to Rome. Closterman was born in Osnabrück and trained by his father, who was also a painter. At the age of nineteen he travelled to Paris, where he became an assitant in the studio of François de Troy. After two years he moved on to London in order to become a collaborator in the studio of the portraitist John Riley (1646–1691). Horace Walpole reports: ‘[…] after the death of Mr. Roily the Painter, Closterman, who lived with him & painted in conjunction – had many of this pictures to finish – and others to begin’ (H. Walpole, in: Anecdotes of Painting in England, with some accounts of the principal artists, and incidental notes on other arts, collected by the late Mr. George Vertue and published from his original Mss. by Horace Walpole, vol. 3, London, 1782, p. 230, and M. Rogers, John and John Baptist Closterman: a Catalogue of Their Works, The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 49, 1983, pp. 224–279).

After Riley’s death, Closterman hence took over a well-established workshop. He portrayed numerous prominent London personalities, such the sculptor Grinling Gibbons (lost) and the architect Sir Christopher Wren (c. 1690, The Royal Society, London). He was considered one of the most popular artists in England. After Closterman’s arrival in Madrid, Stanhope wrote to his son in a letter of 12 November 1698: ‘Mr. Cloysterman is drawing me at length in Golilla, with other Spanish ornaments, it will be a very good piece and I hope serve to introduce him where I cannot go myself, for his ambition is to make the Queen’s picture, and I hope to procure him that honour’ (A. Stanhope, Spain under Charles the Second, Extracts from the Correspondence of the Hon. Alexander Stanhope, British Minister at Madrid, 1690–1699, London, 1844, p. 149; J. D. Stewart, John and John Baptist Closterman, Some Documents, in: The Burlington Magazine, 106, 1964, pp. 306–309; A. Aterido, De Reyes, Embajadores, Pintores y un Enano: John Closterman en la Corte de Carlos II, Arte e Diplomacia, Madrid, 2003, pp. 192–205).

This provides the first clue that Closterman hoped to receive further commissions in Madrid, even from the most prominent patrons. Stanhope himself posed in a Spanish costume with a golilla, a collar of stiffened fabric, and in the picture he also carries a Spanish rapier. His portrait in the Spanish style may be understood as a propagandistic commitment to a country weakened because of the frail health of its king, the last Habsburg monarch on the Spanish throne. It seems that word quickly spread that Closterman was working on that portrait. Alexander Stanhope, in the letter quoted above: ‘‘Hitherto I writ in the morning; at noon came my friend the Portugal Envoy to tell me the King had ordered Mr. Cloysterman to be at two at the Palace, with his clothes and all recado for painting. He obeyed; and the King after a hundred Questions, as his way I, bid him draw a dwarf’s picture there present, which he began immediately. Then in came the Queen, whom he accosted in German, and she was so well satisfied with him, she promised he should make both the King’s and her picture. As a confirmation of what I said before of the King’s good state of health Mr. Cloysterman who should understand faces says he looks well and healthy, and that if he were in England he should win a great deal of money in wagers on his life, which it seems is a great trade in London. Jordan has drawn the same dwarf, so this picture will be a trial of skill […].’

The letter thus contains a hint that Closterman, who was able to converse with the Queen of Spain in German, her native language, was indeed commissioned to portray the king and the queen. In a letter of 16 November, Stanhope continued with his report: ‘‘Mr. Cloysterman is much esteemed and is drawing the Queen’s picture, and will soon begin the King’s also […].’ The following source testifies to Closterman’s having completed the portraits. On 15 April 1690, Stanhope wrote: ‘He [a man named Champion] is going within twenty days into Italy in company with Mr. Closterman, whose interpreter he has been all along with His Cat. May [Catholic Majesty]. My great golilla Picture is near finished, and I find is designed a present to you, he gives me her Cat May at length in a rich hunting dress, a gun in her hand & it is a very fine picture.’ This certifies that Closterman portrayed at least the queen, and in a ‘rich hunting dress’ at that, which is crucial for the identification of the present pair of paintings, which were thought to be lost. The present portraits prove that Closterman not only painted the queen, but also the king. This is also attested to by other sources. George Vertue, one of Closterman’s contemporaries: ‘Closterman, who sought reputation, went to Spain, where he drew the King and Queen, and from whence he wrote several letters on the Pictures in that country to Mr. Richard Granham […]’ (see Walpole 1782, vol. III, p. 231, and Rogers 1983, p. 242, cat. 15). Stylistic comparison with Stanhope’s portrait and other works clearly speak in favour of the artist’s authorship.

Martinez Leiva assumes that Closterman painted the couple in a specially installed ‘studio of the court painters’ at the Alcázar of Madrid, where he was able to refer to a large number of models he could rely on for his portraits – a common practice and particularly helpful in the present case, given the king’s bad health. For the portrait of the last Habsburg monarch on the Spanish throne, Closterman used a study by Luca Giordano now in the Escorial. The king wears a similar costume in a portrait after Coello (Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya, Barcelona). The choice of the hunting costume (in spite of the fact that the king did not like hunting) must certainly have had propagandistic reasons and was meant to illustrate the monarch’s vitality and how he had recovered from a long illness, as his state of health was a state affair of European importance. For the portrait of the queen, Closterman harked back to extant portraits by Jacques Courtilleau. There are similarities to the portrait in the Prado or to a copy by Wilhelm Humer based on a lost painting by Courtilleau in the Düsseldorf Stadtmuseum (see G. Martinez Leiva, El exilio de la Reina Viuda Mariana de Neoburgo y la Configuracion de un nuevo retrato àulico, in: Jornadas de Arte e Iconografia Carlos II y el Arte de su tiempo, Madrid, Fundación Universitaria Espanola, 2014, pp. 211/212). The slightly static and cool approach also makes itself felt in many portraits Closterman would later paint of English monarchs, such as that of Queen Anne of 1705 in the County Hall, Northampton or that of Queen Mary II (c. 1691, The Vintner’s Company, London).

Especially in Spain, the type of the hunting portrait had a long iconographic tradition. Early examples had already existed under Charles V, and Velázquez‘s portraits of the family of Phillip IV had certainly also been influential. While the costume of Charles II is presented in line with Spanish tradition, that of the queen is very fashionable and corresponds quite precisely to French models, as is attested to by a copper engraving by Robert Boonard entitled Fille de qualité en habit de chasse, which dates from around 1693 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris). As the king and queen were forced to shave their heads because of an illness from 1696 onwards, they had worn impressive wigs in the French style like those in the present portraits ever since. The queen seems to have had a preference for this type of hunting portrait, because there exists a portrait of her showing her in a hunting costume even from the time of her widowhood, which she spent in Bayonne (private collection, Biarritz).

Specialist: Dr. Alexander Strasoldo Dr. Alexander Strasoldo
+43-1-515 60-556

alexander.strasoldo@dorotheum.at

19.04.2016 - 18:00

Realized price: **
EUR 68,275.-
Estimate:
EUR 60,000.- to EUR 80,000.-

John Closterman – a pair (2)


(Osnabrück 1660–1711 London)
Portraits of King Charles II of Spain and his second wife, Maria Anna of Neuburg, in hunting costumes,
oil on canvas, each 207 x 107 cm, framed (2)

Provenance:
Probably commissioned from Closterman in Madrid in 1698

We are grateful to Gloria Martinez Leiva for confirming the authenticity of the present paintings and for identifying them as the portraits Closterman painted of the royal couple between autumn 1698 and spring 1699 in Madrid and which were considered lost. An extensive certificate is available. Gloria Martinez Leiva will publish the two portraits in an essay.

In the summer of 1698, John Closterman arrived in the Spanish capital, where one of his most important patrons, Alexander Stanhope, held office as English ambassador. Closterman was to paint the latter’s portrait in Madrid before travelling to Rome. Closterman was born in Osnabrück and trained by his father, who was also a painter. At the age of nineteen he travelled to Paris, where he became an assitant in the studio of François de Troy. After two years he moved on to London in order to become a collaborator in the studio of the portraitist John Riley (1646–1691). Horace Walpole reports: ‘[…] after the death of Mr. Roily the Painter, Closterman, who lived with him & painted in conjunction – had many of this pictures to finish – and others to begin’ (H. Walpole, in: Anecdotes of Painting in England, with some accounts of the principal artists, and incidental notes on other arts, collected by the late Mr. George Vertue and published from his original Mss. by Horace Walpole, vol. 3, London, 1782, p. 230, and M. Rogers, John and John Baptist Closterman: a Catalogue of Their Works, The Volume of the Walpole Society, vol. 49, 1983, pp. 224–279).

After Riley’s death, Closterman hence took over a well-established workshop. He portrayed numerous prominent London personalities, such the sculptor Grinling Gibbons (lost) and the architect Sir Christopher Wren (c. 1690, The Royal Society, London). He was considered one of the most popular artists in England. After Closterman’s arrival in Madrid, Stanhope wrote to his son in a letter of 12 November 1698: ‘Mr. Cloysterman is drawing me at length in Golilla, with other Spanish ornaments, it will be a very good piece and I hope serve to introduce him where I cannot go myself, for his ambition is to make the Queen’s picture, and I hope to procure him that honour’ (A. Stanhope, Spain under Charles the Second, Extracts from the Correspondence of the Hon. Alexander Stanhope, British Minister at Madrid, 1690–1699, London, 1844, p. 149; J. D. Stewart, John and John Baptist Closterman, Some Documents, in: The Burlington Magazine, 106, 1964, pp. 306–309; A. Aterido, De Reyes, Embajadores, Pintores y un Enano: John Closterman en la Corte de Carlos II, Arte e Diplomacia, Madrid, 2003, pp. 192–205).

This provides the first clue that Closterman hoped to receive further commissions in Madrid, even from the most prominent patrons. Stanhope himself posed in a Spanish costume with a golilla, a collar of stiffened fabric, and in the picture he also carries a Spanish rapier. His portrait in the Spanish style may be understood as a propagandistic commitment to a country weakened because of the frail health of its king, the last Habsburg monarch on the Spanish throne. It seems that word quickly spread that Closterman was working on that portrait. Alexander Stanhope, in the letter quoted above: ‘‘Hitherto I writ in the morning; at noon came my friend the Portugal Envoy to tell me the King had ordered Mr. Cloysterman to be at two at the Palace, with his clothes and all recado for painting. He obeyed; and the King after a hundred Questions, as his way I, bid him draw a dwarf’s picture there present, which he began immediately. Then in came the Queen, whom he accosted in German, and she was so well satisfied with him, she promised he should make both the King’s and her picture. As a confirmation of what I said before of the King’s good state of health Mr. Cloysterman who should understand faces says he looks well and healthy, and that if he were in England he should win a great deal of money in wagers on his life, which it seems is a great trade in London. Jordan has drawn the same dwarf, so this picture will be a trial of skill […].’

The letter thus contains a hint that Closterman, who was able to converse with the Queen of Spain in German, her native language, was indeed commissioned to portray the king and the queen. In a letter of 16 November, Stanhope continued with his report: ‘‘Mr. Cloysterman is much esteemed and is drawing the Queen’s picture, and will soon begin the King’s also […].’ The following source testifies to Closterman’s having completed the portraits. On 15 April 1690, Stanhope wrote: ‘He [a man named Champion] is going within twenty days into Italy in company with Mr. Closterman, whose interpreter he has been all along with His Cat. May [Catholic Majesty]. My great golilla Picture is near finished, and I find is designed a present to you, he gives me her Cat May at length in a rich hunting dress, a gun in her hand & it is a very fine picture.’ This certifies that Closterman portrayed at least the queen, and in a ‘rich hunting dress’ at that, which is crucial for the identification of the present pair of paintings, which were thought to be lost. The present portraits prove that Closterman not only painted the queen, but also the king. This is also attested to by other sources. George Vertue, one of Closterman’s contemporaries: ‘Closterman, who sought reputation, went to Spain, where he drew the King and Queen, and from whence he wrote several letters on the Pictures in that country to Mr. Richard Granham […]’ (see Walpole 1782, vol. III, p. 231, and Rogers 1983, p. 242, cat. 15). Stylistic comparison with Stanhope’s portrait and other works clearly speak in favour of the artist’s authorship.

Martinez Leiva assumes that Closterman painted the couple in a specially installed ‘studio of the court painters’ at the Alcázar of Madrid, where he was able to refer to a large number of models he could rely on for his portraits – a common practice and particularly helpful in the present case, given the king’s bad health. For the portrait of the last Habsburg monarch on the Spanish throne, Closterman used a study by Luca Giordano now in the Escorial. The king wears a similar costume in a portrait after Coello (Museu Nacional d’Arte de Catalunya, Barcelona). The choice of the hunting costume (in spite of the fact that the king did not like hunting) must certainly have had propagandistic reasons and was meant to illustrate the monarch’s vitality and how he had recovered from a long illness, as his state of health was a state affair of European importance. For the portrait of the queen, Closterman harked back to extant portraits by Jacques Courtilleau. There are similarities to the portrait in the Prado or to a copy by Wilhelm Humer based on a lost painting by Courtilleau in the Düsseldorf Stadtmuseum (see G. Martinez Leiva, El exilio de la Reina Viuda Mariana de Neoburgo y la Configuracion de un nuevo retrato àulico, in: Jornadas de Arte e Iconografia Carlos II y el Arte de su tiempo, Madrid, Fundación Universitaria Espanola, 2014, pp. 211/212). The slightly static and cool approach also makes itself felt in many portraits Closterman would later paint of English monarchs, such as that of Queen Anne of 1705 in the County Hall, Northampton or that of Queen Mary II (c. 1691, The Vintner’s Company, London).

Especially in Spain, the type of the hunting portrait had a long iconographic tradition. Early examples had already existed under Charles V, and Velázquez‘s portraits of the family of Phillip IV had certainly also been influential. While the costume of Charles II is presented in line with Spanish tradition, that of the queen is very fashionable and corresponds quite precisely to French models, as is attested to by a copper engraving by Robert Boonard entitled Fille de qualité en habit de chasse, which dates from around 1693 (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris). As the king and queen were forced to shave their heads because of an illness from 1696 onwards, they had worn impressive wigs in the French style like those in the present portraits ever since. The queen seems to have had a preference for this type of hunting portrait, because there exists a portrait of her showing her in a hunting costume even from the time of her widowhood, which she spent in Bayonne (private collection, Biarritz).

Specialist: Dr. Alexander Strasoldo Dr. Alexander Strasoldo
+43-1-515 60-556

alexander.strasoldo@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 10.00am - 5.00pm
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Auction: Old Master Paintings
Auction type: Saleroom auction
Date: 19.04.2016 - 18:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 09.04. - 19.04.2016


** Purchase price incl. buyer's premium and VAT(Country of delivery: Austria)

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