PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
According to Arnold Houbraken, Bakhuizen learnt to paint in oils from the marine painters Hendrick Dubbels and Allaert van Everdingen. He was a recognised marine painter by 1658, the year in which he painted the background with ships for Bartholomeus van der Helst’s Portrait of a Lady (Brussels, Musée des Arts Anciens), although he did not join the Amsterdam guild of painters until 1663. Thereafter, however, his fame as a marine specialist was rapidly established, winning him, for example, the commission in 1665 from the burgomaster of Amsterdam of a View of Amsterdam and the IJ (Paris, Musée du Louvre), intended as a diplomatic gift for Hugues de Lionne, King Louis XIV’s Foreign Minister. His success brought him to the attention of many of the leading patrons of Europe, including Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici, King Frederick I of Prussia, the Elector of Saxony, and Tsar Peter the Great, who all visited his studio; indeed, Peter the Great was reputed to have taken drawing lessons from him.
Houbraken underlined how Bakhuizen was attracted in particular to painting storms and his oeuvre is dominated by work that showed the ever-changing skies of the Netherlands, often in inclement conditions. This composition, however, is more in tune with the atmospheric Calms of Willem van de Velde the Younger that the latter painted during the 1650s, and can be compared to Bakhuizen’s signed and dated picture of 1661, formerly with Browse and Delblanco, London (see G. de Beer, L. Backhuysen (1630-1708). Sein Leben und Werk, Zwolle, 2002, p. 49, no. 12). The scene is quietly poetic, as two figures look on as a gust of wind catches the sails of the moored boat and the clouds roll in, painted with a superb sense of volume and depth. It is a picture that showcases Bakhuizen’s skill in rendering light and atmosphere, even when working on a relatively small scale.
This panel formed a part of the celebrated Leuchtenberg collection, largely assembled by Eugène de Beauharnais, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg, the son of Joséphine Bonaparte, Empress of the French by virtue of her marriage to Napoléon Bonaparte. Eugène was the son of Alexandre, Vicomte de Beauharnais, a general and political figure who died under the guillotine during the reign of terror. Adopted by Napoléon, Eugène served as a commander in the Imperial army and proved to be the most capable of the Emperor’s relatives in official posts. His second son, Maximilian, 3rd Duke, married Grand Duchess Maria, daughter of Emperor Nicholas I of Russia (and niece of Napoléon’s opponent, Alexander I of Russia). Granted the style of His Imperial Highness by Nicholas in view of his Imperial descent, Maximilian was portrayed in one of Karl Briullov’s most dashing half-length portraits (1849), and is thought to have moved the collection from Munich to Saint Petersburg, where his descendants settled as members of the highest circles of Russian nobility.
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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
An extensive seascape with figures by a boat on a shore
signed with initials and dated 'L.B. / 1667' (lower right)
Ludolf Bakhuizen (Emden 1630-1708 Amsterdam)
J.N. Muxel, Verzeichniss der Bildergallerie seiner Königlichen Hoheit des Prinzen Eugen, Herzogs von Leuchtenberg in München, Munich, 1926, p. 41, no. 109.
J.D. Passavant, Galerie Leuchtenberg. Gemälde- Sammlung Seiner Kaiserl. Hoheit des Herzogs von Leuchtenberg in München, Frankfurt am Main, 1835-1851, p. 24, no. 121, with engraved plate. Leuchtenbergska Tavelsamlingen, Stockholm, 1917, p. 51, no. 52.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch painters of the Seventeenth Century, etc., VIII, London, 1927, p. 275, no. 262.
Anonymous sale [Armand-Fréderic-Ernest Nogaret]; his sale, Hôtel de Bullion, Paris, 2 June 1780 (= 1st day), lot 43 (600 francs to Le Brun).
Alexandre-Louis Hersant-Destouches; Paris, 21 March 1794, lot 118 (1,800 livres to Vauthier).
Prince Eugène-Rose de Beauharnais (1781- 1824), Viceroy of Italy, and later 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg, and 1st Prince of Eichstätt ad personam, son of Empress Joséphine and adopted son of Emperor Napoléon I, commander of the Army of Italy and statesman, by descent to his second son,
Maximilian-Eugène-Auguste-Joseph-Napoléon de Beauharnais, 3rd Duke of Leuchtenberg (1817-1852), bequeathed along with the whole Leuchtenberg Collection to his wife,
The Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna (1819-1876) (eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas I), Munich and subsequently Saint Petersburg, and by descent until 1917.
Nordiska Kompaniet, Stockholm, 1917.