Gerson Digital : Germany I


2.15 Dresden

Dresden’s prime as an art city only takes place in the 18th century. However, in the time of the electors we find some Dutch painters who were employed at the court. Anselm van Hullewas here in 1651, as well as the aforementioned Benjamin von Block (1631-1689) around 1655.1 Portraits by Gijsbert van Veen (c. 1562-1628) were already sent to the court in Saxony from Antwerp in the late 16th century.2

But more noteworthy are the paintings that Christopher Paudiss (1625-1666) from Lower Saxony left behind.3 He was probably born in Hamburg and came, like so many other northern German painters in the 1640s, to Holland and to Rembrandt’s workshop. The impressions he gained there, were decisive for the rest of his life. Stylistically he is of the rank of Jürgen Ovens and in some respects Paudiss is even more Dutch than he is. In contrast to Ovens, Flemish art meant nothing at all to him at first. Only later, when he has to paint altarpieces in southern Germany, he looks for ideas to Flanders to facilitate his new task. There are numerous Rembrandtesque study heads and genre-like portraits in which he softened and smoothed Rembrandt’s chiaroscuro. It becomes more grey and washed, so that his paintings often look like faded works of Aert de Gelder or Barent Fabritius. Such a mild Rembrandt is the Self-portrait with a grey hat (Dresden 1996) [1], which is painted soft and fluently and set in a shimmering light. Similar portrait studies are in Vienna [2-3], Cologne and Dresden. 4

Christopher Paudiss
Self-portrait with a grey hat, 1650's
canvas, oil paint 75,5 x 60 cm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1996

Christopher Paudiss
Portrait of a young man with plumed beret
panel (poplar), oil paint 64,5 x 51 cm
Vienna, Kaiserliche Gemäldegalerie, inv./ 1287

Christopher Paudiss
Portrait of a man with a plumed beret, possibly self portrait, dated 1660
panel, oil paint 62 x 45 cm
lower right : Cristofher Paudiß / 1660
Vienna, Museum im Schottenstift, inv./ 172

Christopher Paudiss
Portrait of a Hajduk with cap
canvas, oil paint 59 x 51,5 cm
lower left : Cristofher Paudiß 166...
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1995

When Paudiss came to Dresden in 1659 (or earlier) it was said that he had lived in Hungary, in the Netherlands and in other places. To the Hungarian recollections possibly belongs the Hajduk (Dresden 1995) [4], which connects the compositions of Rembrandt’s etchings of the 1630s to the flowing Rembrandt-light of the 1640s. It seems that in Dresden Paudiss mainly painted portraits and some animal paintings [5]. Also in these genre-like paintings [6] his Rembrandt training is still visible. They are closer to Jan Victors and Constantijn à Renesse than perhaps to Dou and Ostade.

Already in 1660 Paudiss had turned his back on Dresden to move to Vienna. He did not get along with the Dresden court officials. One of them, Johann Georg von Rechenberg, even went so far that he slandered the painter in Vienna. This did not make much of an impression, since the artist carried a recommendation from the art-loving Duke Leopold Wilhelm. What happened to him in Vienna, and what he painted there, we will hear later [7].5

Christopher Paudiss
Still life with the heads of two calves, dated 1658
panel, oil paint 71,5 x 55 cm
lower right : Cristofher Paudiß
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 99/66

Christopher Paudiss
Saint Jerome, c. 1660
canvas, oil paint 105 x 85 cm
Kroměříž, Zámek Kroměříž, inv./ KE 2866, O 392

Christopher Paudiss
Portrait of a young man with outstretched hand, dated 1661
panel (poplar), oil paint 98 x 80 cm
lower right : Criststofher Paudiß / 1661
Prague, Národní Galerie v Praze, inv./ DO 4127 (Z 451)

Due to the recommendations of Prince Johan Maurits, Albert Eckhout managed to come into the service of the Prince Elect and future Elector of Saxony Johann Georg II in 1653.6 The painter was allowed ‘to take along everything he still had of the West Indies’, surely indicating the sketches from his Brazilian journey.7 In Hoflößnitz Castle near Dresden he decorated several rooms with exotic birds, water birds and European wild animals. In the 80 ceiling decorations with Brazilian birds of the great hall we see his main work on Saxon ground [8].8 Without the sketches he never would have managed to carry this out successfully.

He also made ten large paintings with representations of various indigenous people in an appropriate environment and ‘original’ costume for the Pretzsch Castle, which were later installed in Schwedt Castle. Since he only knew the inhabitants of Brazil [9-19] and Europeans from autopsy, the series turned out rather weak and boring.9

Albert Eckhout
Ceiling painting with 80 Brazilian birds, 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Radebeul, Schloss Hoflössnitz

follower of Albert Eckhout
China and Japan and its inhabitants, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

possibly Albert Eckhout
Brasil and its inhabitants, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
Chinese trades people with Brasilian fruit, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

after Albert Eckhout
Market stall in the East Indies, before 1661
canvas, oil paint 106 x 174,5 cm
lower right :
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ SK-A-4070

follower of Albert Eckhout
The Indian Subcontinent and its inhabitants, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
The Dutch East Indies (?) and its inhabitant, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
Inhabitants of a country that cannot be identified, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
Indian merchants buying porcelain from Chinese traders, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
A Chinese woman playing a Pipa, an European man playing a hobo and a Japanese man drumming, while a little man dances as he is being watched by an African woman, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
Inhabitants of an unidentified tropical island meeting with a woman from Greenland, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

follower of Albert Eckhout
Chinese (?) warrior in a tropical landscape with Brasilian fruit and animals, c. 1653-1663
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Schwedt an der Oder, Schloss Schwedt

Eckhout stayed in Dresden until 1663 and probably went back to Groningen, where we lose track of him.10 During Johan Maurits’ government in Brazil a contemporary of Eckhout from Dresden, Zacharias Wagener (1614-1668), was a soldier and then a ‘Küchenschreiber’ (administrator of the kitchen inventory) and ‘Musterschreiber’ (administrator of the inventory of an army unit). Later he ended up in the Dutch Indies, from where he returned as a vice admiral in 1667! The drawings he brought back from his Brazilian journey (Dresden, Kupferstichkabinett) [20-21] are nothing more than copies after Eckhout’s sketches.11

Finally Jan Ruyscher must be mentioned, who succeeded Christopher Paudiss as a court painter in 1662.12 We already saw that he came to Berlin on the recommendation of Johan Maurits13 and it is quite possible that he owed his position in Dresden to the same prince. Jan Ruyscher is primarily a landscape painter and draughtsman and also in his case the works that originated abroad do not belong to his best ones.14 The view of the fortress Königsstadt (Stadtisches Historisches Museum in Dresden) [22] is a very respectable vedute in Dutch style, but not painted with such a flair that one would praise the painter as a ‘young Hercules’ (Seghers). The payment of his salary must have stuttered quite often, as we gather from the letters of complaints by his widow.15

Zacharias Wagener after Albert Eckhout
Negro woman with child and basket, 1637-1641
paper, brush in color (water color) 212 x 335 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ Ca 226a M. (a) 7a, fol. 98

Zacharias Wagener
Braziliaanse krab (Guaiamu ofwel Cardiosoma guanhumi), c. 1640
paper 210 x 330 mm
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Kupferstich-Kabinett, inv./ Ca 226a M. (a) 7a (Thier Buch)

Jan Ruyscher
View of Königstein, ca. 1662-1665
canvas, oil paint 105 x 127 cm
lower left : J. Rauscher pinxit
Dresden, Städtische Galerie Dresden

The wedding of Samson, 1638 (dated)
canvas, oil paint 125,6 x 174,7 cm
bottom left of the middle : Rembrandt. f. 1638.
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1560

Already Johann Georg II and his successor Johann Georg III collected paintings for their Kunstkammer, but particularly Italian and old-German ones (Cranach). Occasionally we also learn of the acquisitions of contemporary Dutch artworks, such as ‘two pots of flowers and a festoon’ of Maria van Oosterwijck (1630-1693). The Elector saw and bought these in The Hague.16

As early as 1666 the Dresden cabinet of arts acquired works from Anthony van Dyck, Johannes Fijt, Jan Lievens and Paul Bril.17 A collecting activity in grand style began only during the government of August the Strong (ruling 1694-1733), which was even surpassed by his son August III (ruling 1733-1763).18 It was an incredibly fortunate coincidence, which did not occur in any other German court, that two generations of rulers had such a passion for collecting art. In Düsseldorf for example cultural life ended with the death of Johann Wilhelm and the gallery in Kassel primarily is the creation of Wilhelm VIII only. Around 1700 the art collection in Dresden already included works of Rembrandt [23], Ruisdael, Wouwermans, Bakhuizen, Dou [24], Metsu, as well as from minor masters such as Bloemaert, Both, Willmann, let alone of the late fine painters like Van Mieris, Elliger [25], Toorenvliet and Jan van Huijsum, artists that were also represented elsewhere in Germany. In the inventory of 1722 we find about all the Dutch names, both of great artists and minor masters, that contribute to the fame of the Dresden gallery even today.

Gerard Dou
Self portrait, dated 1647
panel, oil paint 43 x 34,5 cm
lower left : GDov 1647
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1704

Ottomar Elliger (I)
Flowers and fruits, dated 1674
panel, oil paint 38,5 x 30 cm
lower center : Ottmar Elliger. Fecit Ano. 1674
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister

A small flock of agents were constantly engaged in buying and negotiating for the court. Many Netherlands paintings were acquired in Antwerp and not only Flemish works, but also very valuable Dutch works by Wouwermans, Dou and Van Mieris. Minister August Christoph von Wackerbarth (1662-1734) and Jacob Heinrich Graf von Flemming (1667-1728) almost exclusively collected Dutch paintings for the king. The paintings came also from Bohemia, among them very precious ones from the collections Czernin and Wrzowecz and not least from the Wallenstein collection in Dux. The latter includes the large painting of Johannes Vermeer [26] and two portraits by Frans Hals [27-28].19

Many things were acquired from the imperial collection in Vienna, other things were bought in Paris and even Italy. Two still-lifes by Jan Weenix [29] were considered to be among the most valuable paintings that were sent from Venice. Details about the acquisition are found in the introduction of the Dresden museum catalogue.20

Johannes Vermeer
The Procuress, dated 1656
canvas, oil paint 143 x 130 cm
lower right : ivMeer./1656
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1335

Frans Hals (I)
Portrait of a man, called a son of Jan Hendricksz. Soop (1578-1638), c. 1633
panel, oil paint 24,7 x 19,6 cm
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister (Dresden), inv./ 1358

Frans Hals (I)
Portrait of a man, called a son of Jan Hendricksz. Soop (1578-1638), c. 1633
panel, oil paint 24,5 x 20 cm
Dresden, Gemäldegalerie Neue Meister (Dresden), inv./ 1359

Jan Weenix
Still-life with a dead hare, dated 1690
canvas, oil paint 130 x 170 cm
upper right : J. Weenix f. 1690
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1667

Portrait of a man at a writing desk, dated 1631
canvas, oil paint 104,4 x 91,8 cm
lower right : RHL (in monogram) / 1631
Saint Petersburg (Russia), Hermitage, inv./ ГЭ-744

During the reign of August III Minister Heinrich von Brühl (1700-1763) was actively involved in the art acquisitions.21 He himself had a fine collection of Dutch paintings, which were sold for the larger part to Catherine the Great after his death [30] -- insofar as Frederick the Great had not confiscated them. The actual connoisseur and advisor however was Carl Heinrich von Heinecken (1707-1791), the well-known author [31].22

After Brühl’s fall in 1763 the widely-travelled Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (1712-1780) [32] was appointed as general director of the arts. He bought paintings in Frankfurt, Mainz, Vienna and other places and knew very well to recount about the practices the art trade at the time. Earlier, when he settled in Dresden in 1750, he straightaway had to cede some paintings to Brühl and to the king, while his compensation took a long time coming.23 Hagedorn’s own collection ended up in Denmark and got lost in a fire. But it was not as valuable as the one Brühl assembled.24 Also from Hagedorn are the well-known words that characterize the passion for collecting by his King August the Strong: Wouwermans was the king’s favourite taste, and the king is in love with Aert van der Neer.25

The collection of the disgraced Dresden envoy at the court in Paris, Charles Henri d’Hoym also contained many Dutch paintings: that one could acquire good paintings from the Low Countries in Paris, is not new to us.26

The rape of Ganymede, dated 1635
canvas, oil paint 177 x 129 cm
center : Rembrandt. ft / 1635
Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister, inv./ 1558

Anton Graff
Portrait of Christian Ludwig von Hagedorn (1712-1780), dated 1772
canvas, oil paint 64,3 x 52,5 cm
Leipzig, University of Leipzig


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] § 2.13.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] In 1596 Gijsbert van Veen was paid 75 livres for a full-length portrait of Albert of Austria. He was also paid for a portrait of the deceased Queen Catherine of Austria, and for Mary Tudor of England, one of them being painted by Raphael Coxie, both paid with 103 livre 10 solz. The three paintings were commissioned by the king and sent to Friedrich Wilhelm of Saxony as a gift (Kramm 1857-1864), vol. 6 [1863], p. 1679). The paintings must have been sent from Brussels, not Antwerp.

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] Most recently on Paudiss: Peltzer 1937-1938. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Sumowski 1983-1994, vol. 4, p. 2313-2360; Steiner/Hahn et al. 2007.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] The attribution of the painting in Cologne (no. 709 as I. de Jouderville) comes from Leber (a.a.O.[= at the indicated location], p. 19-23. [Van Leeuwen 2017] I could not trace Gerson’s source (Leber), but he refers to RKDimages 281935. The Wallraf-Richartz Museum attributed the painting to Jacob Backer (Cologne 1939-1941, p. 13, no. 1929, ill., p. 219) and sold it (traded against a Gothic Madonna) to the Galerie für Alte Kunst in Munich on 1 February 1943 (Van den Brink et al. 2008, p. 223, no. A55, ill.).

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] Fig. 22/68. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson 1942/1983, p. 272, 275, 277, 283. A separate (digital) publication on Austria will be the subject of a future Gerson Digital project.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] On Eckhout’s activity in Dresden: Thomsen 1938, p. 100-125. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Parker Brienen 2006, p. 41-44; DaCosta Kaufmann 2016, p. 495-501.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] [quoted from a letter of Johan Maurits to the future Johann Georg II in the State Archive in Dresden] ‘…alles was er noch von Indien unter sich hat, mitzubringen…’ (Thomsen 1938, p. 56).

8 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Parker Brienen 2006, p. 42-43, 229; Teixeira 2009. Online on and .

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Burned in February 1945; not considered anymore as by Albert Eckhout (E. Schavemaker in Saur 1992-, vol. 32 [2002], p. 104; Parker Brienen 2006, p. 43, 230). The feeble anatomy and the poor execution however seems to point to studio work or the work of a (German) follower who based himself on Eckhout’s drawing material. One of the paintings representing a fruit market is largely the same composition as a large decorative painting in the Rijksmuseum (RKDimages 3909), which must have been executed after the same design.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Parker Brienen 2006, p. 44.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Thomsen 1938, p. 61-78. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Parker Brienen 2006, p. 134-135; DaCosta Kaufmann 2016, p. 494-503.

12 [Gerson 1942/1983] In 1632 a painter Johann (Hans) Rauscher died in Dresden, who was paid there from 1623 on for work as a painter. Perhaps he was the father of our painter and identical to Hans Ruyster of Amsterdam, who was in Dordrecht in 1609.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See § 2.11.

14 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson’s opinion on this is typical for his time. He apparently agreed with Welcker (see following note), who was appalled by the trompe-l’oeil curtain and the painted frame with flowers.

15 [Gerson 1942/1983] Welcker 1936, p. 29-31, ill. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Sumowski 1983-1994, vol. 4, p. 2533-2534, ill.

16 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1935, p. 181: ‘drij stucken schilderijen, sijnde twee bloempotten en een feston’. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Janssen wrongly identifies one of these paintings the Elector Johann Georg III bought in Holland with Flowers with a sunflower in a glass vase with shells (RKDimages 281301) in Dresden (Janssen 2010, no. B8, ill.). However, this work by Maria van Oosterwijck entered the collection through Morell in 1740 for August III (Posse/Jähnig/Steinweg 1930, p. 149, no. 1334).

17 [Gerson 1942/1983] Hantzsch 1902, p. 272. [Van Leeuwen 2017] See also Syndram/Minning/Vötsch 2010-2012. Hantzsch also mentions Flemish paintings that were bought in 1588 from Hans Bol (Hantzsch 1902, p. 235-236, 241, 246. Bol sold both works painted by himself as well as by other Flemish artists, such as Gillis Coignet (Hantzsch 1902, p. 236, 247), which might indicate Hans Bol was actually in Dresden in 1588. Furthermore, paintings were bought from his stepson Frans Bol (Boels) (Hantzsch 1902, p. 236, and works from Hendrik Gijsmans (Hantzsch 1902, p. 236, 241, 246), who moved to Frankenthal in 1587. In 1660 a painting by Abraham de Haan entered the collection (Hantzsch 1902, p. 269) and in 1663 a work by the Hague painter Hans de Jode (Hantzsch 1902, p. 270).

18 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gaehtgens 2001.

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] Posse/Jähnig/Steinweg 1930, p. XX; p. 223, no. 1335, p. 99, no. 1358, 1359. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Neidhardt/Giebe 2004; Marx/Hipp 2007, p. 569, no. 1335, p. 298, no. 1358, 1359.

20 [Gerson 1942/1983] Posse/Jähnig/Steinweg 1930, p. XVIII; p. 232, no. 1666, 1667. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Lost in 1945, Marx/Hipp 2007, p. 782, no. 1666, 1667, ill. (Verluste).

21 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Koch 2016.

22 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Spenlé 2009.

23 [Gerson 1942/1983] Stübel 1912, p. 123-134.

24 [Gerson 1942/1983] Stübel 1912, p. 158-182. [Van Leeuwen 2017] This has proved to be untrue: the collection survived, at least the larger part of it. The paintings ended up in the hands of a relative, Andreas Tamdrup Rachlou, who housed them in his stately court Nygaard In Snoldelev south of Copenhagen, which indeed burned down in 1806. However, at least 54 paintings were sold before, but by way of insurance fraud Rachlou was compensated. The about 54 paintings surfaced in auctions in Denmark and other countries (Wieker 1993).

25 [Van Leeuwen 2017] We did not find the source of this remark.

26 [Gerson 1942/1983] Pichon 1880, vol. 1, p. 54-88. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Roscam Abbing 1999, p. 151-174 and 225-226; Spenlé 2001, Spenlé 2001A.

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