A Fine Portrait of Anna Maria Nickel as ''Flora'' by her husband Franz Nichel (1783-1845). - Earle D. Vandekar - For Sale

A Fine Portrait of Anna Maria Nickel as ''Flora'' by her husband Franz Nichel (1783-1845). - Earle D. Vandekar
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A Fine Portrait Miniature of Anna Maria Nickel as "Flora" and her eldest son Johann Heinrich Nickel as a boy, After The Janssens original called Allegory of Spring, by Franz Nickel (1783-1845) The miniature is painted in an Old Master style possibly after an actual painting. ;She is sitting with a bouquet of flowers in her right hand which rests upon a red cushion with her left hand retrieving a pink rose from a wicker basket by her right side. ;She wears an ornate hat covered with live flowers. In the background is a rural landscape of a field and woods beyond. ;A theatrical curtain crosses behind her. ;Her young son is draped across her right arm with his arm resting on her exposed breast. On the backing board are two old labels. ;One is now almost completely missing with the words Flora mi Anor(?) and a second which reads.....Franz Nichel (1783-1845) Dimensions: Miniature: 6 3/4 inches x 5 3/4 inches On an attached sheet a family history which reads as follows- "Allegorial Picture of Anna Maria Nickel as "Flora" and her eldest son Johann Heinrich Nickel as boy painted on Ivory by her husband Franz Nickel (1783-1845) Son: ;Johann Heinrich Nchel Daughter Maria Canthal nee Nickel Granddaughter: Emy Engelhard nee Canthal Greatgrandson: Charles W. Engelhard Greatgreatgranddaughters: Mary Suzan Engelhard Sophie Jane ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;" Sally Alexandra ; ; ; ;" Charline Barry ; ; ; ; ;" ;" Provenance: ;Mrs. Charles Engelhard Reference: The Miniature in Europe, Vol II, Leo R. Schidlof, page 590. Franz Nickel Born in Hanou 25th December 1783, died in the same town 1845. ;Painted on enamel, who worked in Hanau and in Madrid, where he was for a long time assistant at the Academy. Nickel was an artist of quality. ; ABRAHAM JANSSEN II (Antwerp 1616 - after 1668) ;Allegory of Spring Oil on panel 48 ½ x 36 ¾ in. (123.2 x 93.3 cm.) Provenance: ;Anon. sale, Lepke, Berlin, 8 May 1906; with F. Gurlitt, Berlin. Literature: ;To be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works by Abraham Janssen the Elder currently being prepared by Dr. Joost Vander Auwera (to be published in 2005). Iconographically the voluptuous female in this Allegory of Spring appears to be a combination of two goddesses, Venus and Flora. The ancient Italian goddess of flowers, Flora was the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Chloris, wife of Zephyr, the west wind of springtime, who begets flowers. ;The depiction here corresponds quite closely to the description given in Cesare Ripa’s Iconologia of 1603. Ripa writes that Flora could be used to represent Spring, citing a description from Ovid’s Metamorphoses: ‘Crowned with flowers and surrounded by white, red and yellow blooms, her beautiful face was rosy and milky in complexion, her teeth like pearls and her lips like coral.’11 ‘Di rose, e latte, è la sua faccia e bella, son perle i denti, e le labra coralli.’; op. cit., Rome, 1603, New York, 1984 ed., p. 474. The inclusion of Cupid suggests the figure might also be identifiable as Venus, the goddess of love. Ripa refers to the ‘lascivi amori’ of spring, and the suggestive way in which Cupid touches her breast makes explicit the sensuality associated with this season. Until recently this Allegory of Spring was considered the work of Abraham Janssen van Nuyssen the Elder (c.1571/75-1632), one of the leading artists in Antwerp in the early seventeenth-century. Now, however, an attribution to his son and pupil Abraham Janssen II ; ;(1616 - after 1668) may be advanced. Janssen the Younger’s artistic personality has only begun to emerge in recent years and will be covered in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of works by Abraham Janssen the Elder currently being prepared by Dr. Joost Vander Auwera.22 To be published in 2005 by Brepols Publishers, Turnhout and Macmillan, London. ;Like his father, Abraham Janssen the Younger visited Rome (1639-1649), where he was able to study antique sculpture and the art of Michelangelo and Raphael. Significantly however, he visited Italy a generation later than his father and he did not adopt the latter’s sculptural or even Caravaggesque approach to the human figure. He chose instead to work in the more elegant, pictorial idiom that had come to prevail in northern Europe under the influence of Rubens and van Dyck.33 This shift from the Caravaggesque idiom to the Rubensian mode can be seen clearly in the art of Gerard Seghers. The starting point for the reconstruction of Janssen the Younger’s oeuvre is the Adoration of the Magi in the parish church of St. Wilmart, in the small village of Lesve near Profondeville in the Belgian Ardennes. This canvas is signed ‘A Janssen’ and dated ‘1636’, i.e. four years after the death of Janssen senior, and has thus been securely attributed to his son by Vander Auwera. Although Janssen also had a daughter, Anna Maria, who was a painter in her own right, her signed works are different in style to the Lesve Adoration.44 The works of Anna Maria, who was the wife of Jan Brueghel the Younger, have, like her brother’s, ;often been confused with those of their father. ;Her oeuvre has also been reconstructed by Dr. Vander Auwera. The Colnaghi Allegory shows some stylistic parallels with this Adoration. The physiognomy of the figure of Cupid is, for example, close to the young attendants of the Magi. It is, however, also true to say that something of Janssen the Elder’s sculptural approach to the human figure can also be detected in our work. It is possible that the flowers in our painting are by Anna Maria, who painted a number of signed still lifes.55 See, for example, the still life formerly with P. de Boer (J de Maere & M. Wabbes, Illustrated Dictionary of 17th-century Flemish Painters, Brussels, 1994, II, p. 649). Autographed works by Janssen the Younger such as this and the Lesve painting are rare. They probably date to the years 1636-39, that is, after the artist had become a master of the Antwerp guild and set up his own studio, and before his departure for Italy in 1639. His style at this time seems to have been influenced by contemporary artistic developments in Paris, where the art dealing family of his father’s wife, the Goetkint (also known as Bonenfants), was very much involved in the Saint Germain fair. The Lesve painting, for example, is stylistically close to an Adoration of the Magi of c.1626-29 attributed to Georges Lallemand (c.1575-1636), an artist from Lorraine working in Paris.66 Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, inv. no. P 322. His earlier works also recall those of Pieter Van Lint (1609-1690), who may have taught Janssen after his father’s death in 1632. A number of versions closely related to our picture are also known, something that attests to the popularity of the composition.77 These include: one at Lepke, Berlin, 13 April 1908, lot 116 (as Flemish School; oil on canvas); another sold, with an Allegory of Autumn, Sotheby’s, New York, 14 October 1992, lot 104, as attributed to Janssen I; and two works recorded at the Witt Library, London, one in Mainz, the other in the Acton Collection, Florence. In the Berlin and Acton compositions, Venus’s breast is covered. It is likely that it also once formed part of a series depicting the Four Seasons – many such series were probably produced in the studio of Janssen the Elder, and then later in the workshop that his son ran following his return from Italy in 1649. A number of compositions of comparable dimensions and with similar three-quarter-length female figures depicting other seasons of the year are known.88 Among these are: an Allegory of Autumn (sold, Christie’s, New York, 31 May 1991, lot 46, as Abraham Janssen I); an Allegory of Spring (a different composition to our work) and an Allegory of Summer (sold, Christie’s, New York, 16 January 1992, lot 31, as circle of Janssen); and another Allegory of Spring (again different to ours), offered for sale, Deurbergue and Delvaux, Paris, 15 November 1991, lot 12, as Abraham Janssen I and Jan Breughel II. ; ; ;

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Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge Inc.
P.O. Box 55
New York-10545
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Phone : 212-308-2022

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