During the summer period of 2015, the Pinacothèque de Paris
is showing one of the most beautiful private collections of Flemish art, that of Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier. These works are being shown alongside the transversal and pluridisciplinary hanging of the Permanent Collections, from July 10 through October 4, 2015, since that collector has done the Pinacothèque de Paris the honour of agreeing to join the exclusive club of those who entrust part of their collection to the Pinacothèque de Paris.
Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier is a businessman of German nationality. He worked for many years in the field of industry and technology. He started to collect over forty years ago, in Spain. His collection is, above all, the expression of his personal taste and of his search for aestheticism. What was then a passion gave birth to the current collection. One of the greatest assets of that unusual and passionate collector is, perhaps, the fact that he acquired the majority of his works in auction houses, galleries or in antique shops, which enabled him to re-discover forgotten works, like the outstanding Virgin of Cumberland by Rubens. Hans Rudolf Gerstenmaier has always had a predilection for Flemish paintings of the 15th through the 17th centuries, and it is precisely those major works to which we pay homage today.
The exhibition offers fifty-nine works: paintings on wood and on canvas. It also gives a prominent space to etchings, carried out by the major artists of their times, such as Rubens and his pupil Van Dyck.
In the Flanders of the late 15th century, prosperity and a relative freedom of thought allowed the emergence and the emancipation of new pictorial styles, such as landscapes. Landscapism is here embodied by Joost de Momper in collaboration with Jan Brueghel who provides an admirable scene open towards the infinity of a Flemish landscape with a twilight glow. We also come across flower paintings, a genre in which the Flemish artists superiority no longer needs to be underlined.
Historical or religious painting is also represented. The Adoration of the Shepherds and the Angels by Martin de Vos or the splendid anonymous triptych are especially outstanding. Mr. Gerstenmaiers collection thus faithfully reflects the qualities that every good collector must possess: the passion for art, patience and consistency.
At the end of this exhibition, Hans Rudolph Gerstenmaier will leave a certain number of works on deposit in the Pinacothèque de Paris, which we will be happy to present permanently in our Collections.
I wish to warmly thank Hans Rudolph Gerstenmaier, for his passion and the generosity with which he agreed to share his collection, as well as Leoncio Fernàndez. I also wish to thank Marisa Oropesa and María Oropesa, the exhibition curators, for their commitment to this project. Finally, I wish to thank all those who helped to bring about this exhibition and more particularly the team in the Pinacothèque de Paris, who have never spared their efforts and whose remarkable work I want to salute here once more.