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Sotheby's Announces Old Master Paintings Sale in Amsterdam
Attributed to Jan Jansz. de Stomme (Franeker 1615 - before 1657 Groningen ) Portrait of two young girls. Inscribed lower centre with age and date. Oil on canvas, 110.9 by 143.8 cm. Estimate €40,000-60,000. Old Master Paintings, Sotheby’s Amsterdam , 11 November 2008.© Sotheby’s Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM.- Highlight of the Old Master Paintings sale at Sotheby’s Amsterdam on Tuesday 11 November is a beautiful still-life by Willem Claesz. Heda, (Haarlem, 1594-1678). The oil on panel shows a Still life with a Roemer, an Hour Piece and a Peeled Lemon on a Silver Plate, all on a Stone Ledge, signed and dated .HEDA.1630 (€ 200.000-300.000). Heda was a Dutch Golden Age painter, specializing in still-lifes. He lived and worked in the city of Haarlem. His compositions are often triangle-shaped, with the highest objects placed at one side. He was modest in the use of colour that is why many of his paintings are called monochromes. Paintings by Heda can be found in the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam and the Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent.

Jan Miense Molenaer (Haarlem circa 1610 – 1668) is represented with ‘A man and a woman standing on barrels reading a newspaper’. The oil on canvas of 101.6 by 80.7cm is estimated €40.000-60.000. Married to Judith Leyster, also a successful painter, Molenaer painted mainly genre pieces and portraits. He ran his Haarlem workshop with several pupils and was also active in the art trade and in real estate.

The mythological story of ‘Antiochus and Stratonice’ is depicted by Theodoor van Thulden (1606- 1669). The large oil on canvas of 140 by 235cm tells the story of prince Antiochus who was dying of love for his young stepmother Stratonice. The old king was persuaded to give his young wife to his son, who then fully recovered (estimate €100.000-150.000). Born in ‘s Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, Theodoor van Tulden moved to Antwerp at the age of 15 to be taught by Abraham Bleyembergh. A year later, van Tulden became a pupil of Peter Paul Rubens. He married Rubens’ godchild Maria van Balen.

A lovely ‘Portrait of Two Young Girls’ is attributed to Jan Jansz de Stomme (Franeker 1615 - 1657 Groningen). The oil on canvas, inscribed with their age and date, is estimated €40.000-60.000. De Stomme was the son of Jan Vogelzang, Mayor of Franeker. He was born deaf which explains his nickname ‘de Stomme’ (the Mute). He was well known as a painter of portraits and married twice. His first wife Catharina Solingius died soon after their marriage. With Aaltje Stevens he had two daughters. After moving to the city of Groningen, Jan Jansz de Stomme became the society painter of the nobility and the wealthy citizens of Groningen and surroundings. Examples of his portraits can be found in the Groninger Museum.

Of special interest is ‘The faithful wifes of Weinsberg’, an oil on panel by Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg, (Leiden 1537-1614). The painting depicts the legend of the faithful wives of Weinsberg, Germany. It happened in 1141 when the Castle of Weinsberg, owned by Wolf, duke of Bavaria, was besieged by the army of king Konrad. The siege lasted long and the duke had to surrender. The king granted the women of the castle a safe passage with as many of their valuables as they could carry on their backs. When the gates of the castle opened, the women came out, carrying their husbands and hoping to save their lives this way. The king respected this extraordinary act of the women and made peace on more favourable terms than expected. After that the Castle was called 'Weibertreu'. Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg was the son of a Leiden burgher-regent and went to Antwerp in the 1550s to study with Frans Floris. He returned to Leiden where he remained for the rest of his life, apart from a brief interval in 1573-74. From 1576 on he was a member of the city council, alderman and burgomaster of Leiden. A versatile artist, he not only painted portraits and narrative pieces but was also a designer of stained-glass windows, silver, seals, prints and wall hangings. Many of his works were commissioned by the city of Leiden and his fellow regents. The Faithful Wives of Weinsberg is estimated €30.000-50.000.

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