Gerson Digital : Germany I


2.16 Leipzig

Dresden was the city of the royal collections, and Leipzig was the centre of commerce. At the Easter and Michaelis fair even the queen bought paintings as a present for her husband.1 In the second half of the 18th century Gottfried Winckler II (1731-1795) brought together a vast collection of outstanding Dutch works here, which was visited by nobody less than the young Goethe.2 Winckler bought many things abroad; in Paris it was in particular Johann Georg Wille (1715-1808) ̶ with whom we are already familiar -- who provided him with numerous Dutch paintings and drawings over the years.3

It was not only paintings that were sold at the fairs in Leipzig. Its reputation as a trade centre of prints was apparently no less in the 17th century than in our own days. Indeed, there was not a firm like C.G. Boerner,4 but there was an engraver and publisher from Elberfeld by the name of Peter Schenk I (1660-1711), who moved to Holland as a young man and came year after year to Leipzig to ‘sell all kind of rare things’ in ‘Breunigker Hoff’ [1].5 From here he also visited other German towns before returning home, to appear again the following year.6 August the Strong appointed him as his court engraver. But let the reader not conclude from this that Schenck was the only one or one of the few Dutch engravers worked in Germany.

Pieter Schenk (I)
Breunigkes Hof during the fair, c. 1700-1710
paper, engraving, etching ? x ? mm
lower left : Inwendiger Prospect von BREUNIGKER HOFF in Leipzg. Logiert PETRUS SCHENK und anderen Holländer mit allerhande Raere Sachen zu verkauffen wass in der Welt zu bekommen ist. P. Schenk ex. Ams t: cum Privil.
Leipzig, Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig, inv./ 1906


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Posse/Jähnig/Steinweg 1930, p. XX and passim.

2 [Van Leeeuwen 2017] On Winckler: Schulz 1937; Hüttel 2009.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson refers in particular to his text on Wille in the chapter on France (Gerson 1942/1983, p. 302-304). On Wille: Décultot 2009.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2017] C.G. Boerner is not anymore active in Leipzig, but since 1950 in Düsseldorf with a branch in New York since 1984 ( ).

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017] In 1715 Jan van Huchtenburg commissioned Peter Schenk’s widow, who obviously continued her husband’s business, to sell four of his paintings in Leipzig (…….).

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] ‘Beunigker Hoff allerhande Raere sachen zu verkauffen’ (Moes 1904, p. 147).

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