Some of the new acquisitions in the year 2003:

A drawing by a Flemish (?) artist around 1580, The three Hebrews in the fiery furnace, in pen and grey ink with grey wash, heightened with white bodycolour, on rosebrown tinted paper, 165 x 251 mm (inv. no. 2003-T.30)

A welcome addition to the valuable ensemble of 16th-century Netherlandish drawings in the Frits Lugt Collection, this interesting work represents the story of the three young Hebrews who are cast into a fiery furnace after refusing to adore king Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue (Daniel 3: 8-12). The unknown artist has drawn on Maerten van Heemkerck’s 1565 print of the same subject for a number of details, but has clothed the biblical figures in 16th-century dress. The work is freely drawn using a mixed, painterly technique. Its stylistic features suggest a Flemish rather than Dutch origin, as does the paper, which shows a Brussels watermark from the years 1582-1588. The attribution is complicated by the much inferior Landscape with the Flight of Cloelia and her companions on the verso, undoubtedly the work of another hand.


From the Deccani School at Golconda c. 1680-1700 a miniature Prince on horseback hunting duck with a hawk, in gouache, heightened with gold, on paper, laid down on an album page decorated with animals and flowers in gold, 243 x 170 mm (miniature), 391 x 262 mm (album page) (inv. no. 2003-T.4)

Hunting scenes were a favourite subject among the Indian princes of the Deccani kingdoms. This miniature is an excellent rendering of the moment just before the hawk attacks the flying duck. The juxtaposition of an intense green with the dark brown of the horse’s skin and the blue of the sky are typical of the Deccani school. The artist adds a comic touch with the page and the dog attempting to keep pace with the galloping horse. The calligraphy on the verso of the album leaf is by the 17th-century poet Muhammad Murad.


By Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps (Paris 1803-1860 Fontainebleau) a View of a lake in charcoal, locally stumped, 261 x 433 mm (inv. no. 2003-T.6)

During Decamps’ lifetime, his finished drawings were criticized and admired in equal measure. Contemporaries noted his attention to the quality of the paper he used, and his resourcefulness in developing techniques which allowed him ‘de l’attaquer pour obtenir des reliefs et des transparences’. The work presented here belongs to a large group of charcoal drawings in which the details have been brought out by the gentle rubbing or ‘stumping’ of the charcoal in certain places. Most of these drawings bear the artist’s usual signature DC, but this work is not signed, possibly because it was a gift from Decamps to his friend, the artist Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleury (1797-1890). The drawing may be compared with Decamps’ painting Christ on the Lake of Genesareth (1853, Louvre). It is typical of those of his works inspired by his 1828 journey to the Middle East, which introduced the ‘orientalism’ vogue in nineteenth-century French art.


By Jan Harmensz. Muller (Amsterdam 1571-1628 Amsterdam) a copper engraving Holy Family with angels, after Bartholomeus Spranger (1546-1611), 323 x 212 mm (inv. no. 2003-P.36)

Following the acquisition of a previously unknown drawing by Jan Muller (inv. no. 2003-T.18), two further engravings by the same artist, on religious and classical subjects, have been added to the collection. The holy family suggests the engraving style of Hendrick Goltzius, for whom Muller worked in 1589. At about the same time, Muller began to make prints of the work of the Flemish artist Bartholomeus Spranger, who was mainly active in Prague at the court of Emperor Rudolf II.
 
This impression is of exceptionally high quality and of an equally distinguished provenance: it was once part of an eighteenth-century album in the library of the English Spencer family. When the Muller print was acquired, the original binding, now empty, was offered to the Collection by Artemis Fine Arts (inv. no. 2003-R.1). Apart from the Muller print, it had contained works by Dürer, Goltzius, Jan Saenredam and Aegidius Sadeler.

 
Bibliography: Jan Piet Filedt Kok, The Muller dynasty, vol. I, Rotterdam 1999 (The new Hollstein Dutch & Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts 1450-1700), no. 66II/III; for the album: Marjorie B. Cohn et al., A noble collection: the Spencer albums of old master prints, cat. exh. Madison (Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin) etc. 1992-1993, p. 25 note 29, p. 30-33
 
 
By Norbert Goeneutte (Paris 1854-1894 Auvers-sur-Oise) a drypoint Portrait of Henri Guérard, 440 x 243 mm (inv. no. 2003-T.27)

Like his friend Henri Guérard (1846-1897), Norbert Goeneutte was primarily a printmaker who worked at the margins of impressionism. Apart from this print, Goeneutte made two other portraits of Guérard, one of which shows him at the etching press, while in the other he is fashionably dressed. As in the first-state print shown here (of which only one other impression is believed to exist), the marked drypoint effects in the darker passages of the two other portraits exemplify the flowering of French etching at the end of the nineteenth century, to which both Goeneutte and Guérard contributed significantly. The Frits Lugt Collection also contains several prints and a large collection of letters by Henri Guérard.

Bibliography: Gilbert de Knyff, L’art libre au XIXe siècle ou la vie de Norbert Goeneutte, Paris 1978, p. 138, no. 47; Norbert Goeneutte. 1854-1894, cat. exh. Pontoise (Musée de Pontoise) 1994, no. 84I/II