“Ce Tableau n’est pas de Rembrandt”

Catalogue d’un très beau & très riche Cabinet de Tableaux, de Desseins et d’Estampes, la plupart par des maîtres les plus célèbres de la Hollande & des Pays-Bas; aussi bien qu’une superbe Collection de Raretés & de Curiosités, comme des Statues & Figures, en ivoire, en marbre, pierres & autres metaux. Le tout rassemblé…par feu Monsieur Johan van der Linden van Slingelandt. La Vente s’en fera le Lundi 22 d’Août 1785. & les jours suivants…Première Partie.

viii, 268 pp. 8vo, early 19th-cent. marbled boards (spine defective). Amsterdam: P. Yver, [1785].

The extremely rare French edition (there was an edition in Dutch the same year) of this catalogue of an impressive sale. A contemporary annotator has supplemented it with prices, buyers’ names, and commentary on the artworks, almost all dismissive, in the margins. Van Slingelandt (1701-82), a great patron of the arts who lived in Dordrecht, amassed one of the most notable Dutch painting collections of the 18th century. This heavily annotated volume is the first and most important part of the sale, describing 701(!) paintings along with eight drawings. The second part, of drawings and sculptures, followed shortly thereafter.

Van Slingelandt’s collection consisted of Old Masters and contemporary Dutch artists, some of whom the collector himself patronized. The present catalogue details the works of Asselijn, Bakhuizen, Berghem, J. Brueghel père et fils, Cuyp (38 lots), Dou, van Dyck, Jordaens, Metsu, Netscher, Adrian and Isaac van Ostade, Potter, Rembrandt, Rubens, Ruysdael, Steen, Teniers, ter Borch, Wouwerman, etc., etc. All lots are priced with buyers’ names.

It is clear the annotator viewed and attended the sale. For almost every item, he has provided the name of the buyer. The annotator, likely a connoisseur, has written generally disparaging comments on the works for sale, deriding them as copies or incorrectly attributed: “mauvais,” “bizarre,” “lourd,” “médiocre,” “not by Rembrandt.” There are additional remarks on condition and provenance, which are very interesting. The rare positive observation praises the work of a young artist or salutes a master’s finest painting.

This sale, presided over by Pierre Yver (1712-87) and Abraham Delfos (1731?-1820), the preeminent Dutch art dealers of the period, was attended by many of their competitors, including Pierre Fouquet, who frequently purchased on behalf of the famous French expert Jean Baptiste Pierre Lebrun (1748-1813), as corroborated by several annotations in this copy. Lebrun solidified his position as the leading dealer in Netherlandish pictures by purchasing directly from the source and was buying heavily at sales such as these. Other notes indicate there were dealers from Brussels, Lyon, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Germany, the Hague, and Rotterdam.

An extremely interesting annotated copy. A few of the annotations are cropped.

❧ Lugt 3936. Oxford Art online (Delfos & Yver).

Price: $3,500.00

Item ID: 6449