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Brueghel, Rubens, Jordaens... Exhibition of European Paintings from the Hohenbuchau Collection
Frans Snyders (1579–1657), Still Life with Fruit, Dead Game, Vegetables, a Live Monkey, Squirrel and Cat. Oil on canvas; 81 x 118 cm. Signed lower right: F. Snyders fecit. Hohenbuchau Collection, inv. no. HB 87

VIENNA.- The Hohenbuchau Collection is one of the largest and most diverse collections of northern European Baroque art to have been assembled anywhere in the world over the past few decades. While it is a truism that every private collection reflects the personal taste of the person who has assembled it, what distinguishes these holdings from those of other private collections is a combination of intense focus on the one hand and wide variety on the other.

The main focus of the collection is the painting of the seventeenth century, in particular the Dutch and Flemish Baroque, an era known as the Golden Age. Within these parameters, the collection aims at presenting this epoch and its schools both in terms of the multiplicity of its pictorial genres, ranging from the history painting, portrait, genre scene and landscape to the still life, and of the broad diversity within each individual genre. An interesting feature of the collection is that it is not composed exclusively of cabinet paintings – as is so often the case with so many private collections today – but also has examples of works executed in large-scale and in some cases even monumental formats.

To a large degree, the collection was assembled autonomously. Good paintings have been replaced with better examples, the result of growing expertise acquired from numerous visits to all the world’s major museums and to countless exhibitions which honed the eye of the collector Otto Christian Faßbender, underpinned by the advice of expert restorers and the resources of an extensive library. When a painting was being considered for acquisition, whether from other private collections, on the fine art market or at auction, two criteria were always imperative: the painterly quality of the work and its state of preservation.

While many great names – from Brueghel to Momper, from Rubens to Jordaens, from Ter Brugghen to Honthorst – are represented in the collection, it also contains superb and important works by less well-known artists standing side by side on equal terms with the paintings of the great masters.

Many of the paintings in this collection have already been shown all over the world in museums or temporary exhibitions. Equally, many are familiar to scholarly circles frompublication in catalogues raisonnés or other books on art. Since December 2007 the collection has been on loan to the LIECHTENSTEIN MUSEUM on a permanent basis. From 27 May to 20 September 2011 this distinguished collection is presented to the general public for the first time in its entirety in the form of a temporary exhibition.

Designed by Dr Johann Kräftner, director of the LIECHTENSTEIN MUSEUM, the exhibition are accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in German and English by the internationally renowned art historian Dr Peter Sutton, as well as by a varied programme of associated events.

Peter C. Sutton is Executive Director of the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, and formerly was the Director of the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. He has held Senior Curatorial posts in Philadelphia and Boston, and was Senior Director of Christie’s Old Master Paintings Department in New York. He has written extensively on Northern Baroque painting and organized many exhibitions on a wide variety of Old Master, Impressionist and Contemporary art topics. In addition to surveys of Dutch genre and landscape painting, he has organized monographic exhibitions of Pieter de Hooch, Michiel Sweerts and Jan van der Heyden. His shows of Flemish Baroque painting include The Age of Rubens and Drawn by the Brush: Oil Sketches by Peter Paul Rubens. In addition to organizing shows on Monet, Boudin, Picasso and Dali, he has also produced surveys of Twentieth Century and Contemporary art collections. Sutton has also written on the history of connoisseurship, fakes and forgeries, and catalogued distinguished private collections, including those of William Coolidge, Harold Samuel and Baron Willem van Dedem.

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