Gerson Digital : Germany I


3.1 Cologne and Bonn

Since we have already treated the Cleves area before, we will pay some attention to Cologne, before discussing art at the court of Düsseldorf, the most important centre of Dutch influence in the Rhineland. Cologne had its own artistic tradition and was largely Flemish in orientation.1 The few Dutchmen that stayed there for some time, have no relevance in the total picture of the artistic production. The art of portrait and history painters of the early 17th century, such as Augustin Braun (c. 1570-after 1641), Geldorp Gortzius (1553-in or after 1619)2 from Leuven, his pupil Franz Kessler (1580-in or after 1651) [1-2], Hieronymus van Kessel (1578-after 1636) [3-5] and Gotthardt de Wedig (1583-1641) [6-7] have their roots in Antwerp.3 Augustin Braun’s drawings on the other hand are less Flemish and look rather ‘Haarlem’ realistic (for instance in London, British Museum) [8]. But when Geldorp’s portraits [9-10] sometimes seem close to the Ravesteyn-Mierevelt group, this can only be explained by the common style of the times.

Franz Kessler
Portrait of an unknown man, dated 1620
panel, oil paint 93 x 64 cm
upper left : Frantz Kessler fecit
Private collection

Hieronymus van Kessel
Portrait of a woman of the Van Breusegem familie, married to a man of the Van Isegem familiy, dated 1618
panel, oil paint 103 x 78,8 cm
: An. 1618 Hieron. A. Kessel fecit
Nyköping, Sörmlands Museum

Franz Kessler
Portrait of Christina von Virmunt, dated 1626
canvas, oil paint 104,5 x 75 cm
Cologne, Kölnisches Stadtmuseum

Hieronymus van Kessel
Portrait of an unknown man aged 41 yeras, dated 1615
panel (oak), oil paint 99,5 x 75,5 cm
upper left : An.° 1615 · / ÆTA, SVÆ. 41. / H. A. KESSEL, FECIT
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, inv./ WRM 2084

Hieronymus van Kessel
Portrait of an unknown woman aged 28 year, dated 1618
panel, oil paint 106,5 x 82 cm
upper right : AN° 1618. / ÆTA. SVÆ 28. / HIER, A KESSEL FECIT
Munich, Alte Pinakothek, inv./ 1776

Gotthardt de Wedig
Portrait of Gertrud Kiever (Kyver), wife of Peter Ostermann, dated 1627
panel, oil paint 103 x 79,5 cm
upper left : Anno 1627 / Ætatis Suæ 30 / GD W F. [GD in ligature]
Bremen (Germany), Galerie Neuse

Gotthardt de Wedig
Portrait of Pieter Ostermaan, dated 1627
panel, oil paint 102 x 79 cm
upper right : 1627 / Ætatis Suæ 32 / GD W. F. [GD in ligature]
Bremen (Germany), Galerie Neuse

Augustin Braun
St Luke painting the Virgin, dated 1610
paper, pen and brush in brown, brown and grey wash, black chalk 142 x 181 mm
lower left : Augustinius Braun in Cöllon anno 1610 Mën 7bris
London (England), British Museum, inv./ 1873,0510.3530

Geldorp Gortzius
Portrait of Eberhard Jabach III (1567-1636), dated 1600
panel, oil paint 98 x 72 cm
upper left : AN°·1600· / ·GG·F·
Bonn, LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn

Geldorp Gortzius
Portrait of Anna Reuter (1579-1637), wife to Everhard Jabach III, dated 1600
panel, oil paint 98 x 72 cm
upper right : AN°·1600· / ·GG·F·
Bonn, LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn

In 1654 Christian van Couwenbergh (1604-1667) settled in Cologne as a portrait painter [11-13].4 The Double portrait of a couple venerating the Madonna with the Christ-child (Cologne, Museum) [14] indicates however that he had completely denied his Dutch origin.5

Christiaen van Couwenbergh
Kitchen scene with a woman, two men and a cat with dead fish and poultry, dated 1659
canvas, oil paint 138 x 186 cm
lower right : C B F-1659
Lempertz (Keulen) 2017-03-15, nr. 10

Christiaen van Couwenbergh
Portrait of Catharina Lucia von Kreps (1653-1699), dated 1658
canvas, oil paint 111 x 91 cm
center right : CATHARINA LVCIA VON / KREPS / alter 5 jahes / A° 1658
Cologne, Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, inv./ 1940/132

Christiaen van Couwenbergh
Portrait of Herwin von Kreps, dated 1658
canvas, oil paint 112 x 91 cm
center right : HERWIN VON KREPS / alter. 3 . iahes / A° i658
Cologne, Kölnisches Stadtmuseum, inv./ 1940/229

Anoniem Duitsland 3de kwart 17de eeuw
Double portrait of a couple venerating the Madonna with the Christ-child, 3rd quarter 17th century
canvas, oil paint 125 x 167 cm
Auktionshaus Bergmann 2007-10-27, nr. 559

Hendrick Meerman
Portrait of Antonius Antonides van der Linden ( -1633), dated 1633
panel, oil paint 88 x 63 cm
Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, inv./ B 5790

Once we learn of a painter from Cologne, Hendrick Meerman (c. 1610-after 1650), who went to Amsterdam in 1633 [15-16] to study there (?) and later was active again in his hometown.6 When we presume that the paintings in the style of Johannes Mijtens by a Johannes Buns (active 1660-c.1670) [17] are by the same artist listed by Merlo as a painter and draughtsman in Cologne, 7 then we have mentioned all artists that are not only dead names to us.8

Hendrick Meerman
Portrait of Sara Sweerts de Weert, dated 1636
panel, oil paint 88 x 63 cm
Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, inv./ B 5791

Johannes Buns
Portrait of an unknown woman, dated 1667
canvas, oil paint 118 x 94 cm
left center : Jbuns f 1667
Sotheby Parke Bernet (London (England)) 1973-10-24, nr. 56

Johannes Hulsman
Cave overlooking a lake surrounded by mountains. On the waves Fortuna, on the waterfront Neptune, dated 1624
paper, pen and brush, light blue wash 103 x 290 mm
upper center : Johannes Hulsman 1624
F.A.C. Prestel (Frankfurt am Main) 1927-11-22 - 1927-11-26, nr. 149

Somewhat different is the activity of Johannes Hulsman (c. 1610-after 1646), who probably came from the Southern Netherlands. One generally assumes he was trained in Antwerp. In view of the altar pieces in churches in Cologne by his hand this seems likely, but his style also can be explained by a local tradition of Flemish-Dutch mannerism [18].9 His lovely Merry company in a park in Nuremberg [19] reminded Theodor von Frimmel of Dirck Hals (1591-1656), which indeed is striking.10 Another example is the representation of Isaac and Rebecca in Pommersfelden (No. 271) [20],11 which best can be compared to the works of a Netherlandic German like Jürgen Ovens.12 Although Hearing (old attribution, also Pommersfelden, no. 272) [21] is influenced by Frans Hals in its technique, its fanciful guise is worthy of a pupil of Rembrandt.13 So we see how a Flemish trained artist can assimilate Dutch models when the subject is suitable and the customers do not object.

Johannes Hulsman
Elegant company in a park, dated 1644
panel (poplar), oil paint 75 x 150 cm
lower right : JHulsman F. 1644
Nuremberg, Germanisches Nationalmuseum, inv./ Gm 365

Johannes Hulsman
Isaac helps Rebecca helps to dismount the camel
canvas, oil paint 174 x 240 cm
Pommersfelden, private collection Arthur Franz Maximilian Graf von Schönborn-Wiesentheid

Anoniem Duitsland tweede kwart 18de eeuw
Young man with a turban and flute, second quarter 18th century
panel, oil paint 47 x 35 cm
Pommersfelden, private collection Arthur Franz Maximilian Graf von Schönborn-Wiesentheid, inv./ 272

In portrait painting the Dutch nuance is more strongly emphasized towards the middle of the century. Johann Wilhelm Pottgiesser (1626-after 1680), whose history paintings are designed and treated in Flemish fashion [22], painted some plain Dutch portraits [23-24]. They look like works of Gerard ter Borch on a large scale.14 In a life-size group portrait (collection Schall Riaucour) strangely enough he follows the manner of Honthorst.15 The portraits by Johann Georg Klaphauer (active 1634-1663) are about of the same level as a Michiel van Mierevelt [25-26].16 Yet there were, apart from the aforementioned Rhine-travellers, hardly any Dutch artists that stayed here for a long time. A Jacob de Wet became a member of the painters’ guild in Cologne in 1677, but it is unclear to which Dutch artist this refers.17

Johann Wilhelm Pottgiesser
Portrait of a man, c. 1670
canvas, oil paint 133 x 110 cm
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

Johann Wilhelm Pottgiesser
The martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria, 1671
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Cologne, S. Aposteln Kirche

Johann Wilhelm Pottgiesser
Portrait of an unknown woman, c. 1670
canvas, oil paint 113 x 110 cm
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, inv./ 2253

Monogrammist GIK
Portrait of a man, dated 1651
canvas, oil paint 82 x 66,5 cm
upper right : GIK F. Collen
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, inv./ WRM 1734

attributed to Johann Georg Klaphauer
Portrait of a woman, dated 1639
panel, oil paint 118 x 88,5 cm
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, inv./ 2269

Cornelis Biltius
Trompe l'oeil with harnesses and harnesses and militairy drums
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Brühl (Cologne), Schloss Augustusburg

Cornelis Biltius
Trompe l'oeil with a stuffed bear and a fox, a hanging boar with hunting gear and a partridge
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Brühl (Cologne), Schloss Augustusburg

Apart from Flemish artists, the elector of Cologne employed only sporadically Dutch artists in Cologne and Bonn such as the still-life painter Cornelis Biltius (1653-after 1686), by whom there are hunting still-lifes with weaponry, painted in the 1670s, in Schloss Augustusburg (Brühl) [27-28].18 A Tromp-l’oeil of 1675 by Johann Michael Hambach (c. 1650-after 1686) from Cologne is certainly influenced by Biltius [29].19 Several anonymous still-lifes in Schloss Brühl look entirely Dutch as well. Deceptively painted illusionistic pictures such as we saw in Hamburg with Cornelis Norbertus Gijsbrechts and Hinrich Stravius were particularly popular, which we also will see later in several other places.20

As an addition to the hunting still-lifes, Alexander van Gaelen (1670-c. 1728) supplied the necessary paintings with hunting scenes and horsemen in the style of Philips Wouwerman, which he introduced in England shortly afterwards [30-31]. In this context we appropriately may leave out Gerard de Lairesse and his cousin Ernest (1636-1718) [32-33], who represented the school of Liege before they came to Amsterdam.21

Johann Michael Hambach
Trompe l'oeil of a wooden rifle rack, a regimental banner, two single-barrelled rifles, a Silesian tschinke, horse saddle with tack and other weaponry hanging on a white wall, dated 1675
canvas, oil paint 148 x 280 cm
below, right of the middle : Michael Hambach fecit Ao 1675
Ingolstadt, Filialgalerie der bayerischen Staatsgemäldesammlung Ingolstadt

Alexander van Gaelen
The taking and destruction of Heidelberg by the French in February 1689 (?)
canvas, oil paint 100 x 135 cm
Columbia (South Carolina), Charlton Hall Galleries, inv./ 213 (2015-12-04)

Alexander van Gaelen
The siege of the French in the city of Bonn by the allied troops under Marlborough,1703, after 1703
canvas, oil paint 108 x 177,2 cm
Brighton (East Sussex), Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, inv./ FA 000138

Ernest de Lairesse
Still life with fish, a lobster, fruit and flowers, dated 1672
panel, oil paint 43,4 x 63,2 cm
lower left : Ernest de Lairesse / anno 1672
Christie's (Amsterdam) 2005-05-11, nr. 15

Ernest de Lairesse
Fruit Still-life with a macaw, dated 1674
panel, oil paint 36,6 x 52,5 cm
lower right : Ernest de Lairesse 1674
Lempertz (Keulen) 1997-05-24, nr. 1062

Also landscape painting in Cologne was initially under Flemish influence, as we learn from the example of Johann Toussyn (1608-after 1660) (style Bril-Coninxloo) [34-36].22 Vincent Laurens van der Vinne worked in 1652 in the studio of an unknown landscape painter Abraham Cuyper in Cologne.23

Johann Toussyn
Jacob wrestles with the angel
canvas, oil paint 122 x 155 cm
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud

Johann Toussyn
Landscape with the adoration of the Kings, 1632
unknown, oil paint ? x ? mm
Cologne, St. Mariä Himmelfahrt (Cologne)

Johann Toussyn
Landscape with bridge, dated 2 October 1632
paper, pen in grey ink, blue wash 111 x 167 mm
lower right : Johann Toussyn fe. Colln 1632 den 2 october
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum & Fondation Corboud, inv./ 1636/16


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See Vey 1968.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Veldman 1993, p. 46-47.

3 [Ven Leeuwen 2017] See Vey 1968, Vey 1990.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1890, p. 223-226; Wichmann 1925, p. 63-65. [Van Leeuwen 2017] De Coo 1965; Maier-Preusker 1991. Meanwhile also two history paintings and a genre scene have surfaced that Couwenbergh painted in Cologne; seven portraits in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum that were attributed to Couwenbergh have been rejected.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The attribution was justly refuted by De Coo (De Coo 1965, p. 410, note 3) and sold by the museum in 1944.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] According to Thieme/Becker 1907-1953 the Amsterdam and the Cologne painter are two different persons: Hendrick and Heinrich. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson quoted 1640 instead of 1633. The misidentification of the two Meermans came from Wurzbach 1906-1911, vol. 2, p. 130. Indeed they must have been two different painters, since Heinrich became a pupil of Franz Vriendt in Cologne in 1667 and a master in 1680 (Merlo et al. 1895, col. 574). Heinrich was at least two generations younger than Hendrick, who also was born in Cologne.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Buns: Fechner 1967, Renckens 1967. Merlo et al. 1895, col. 149-151.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Such as Joes Kemp, Jan Sebastiaan Loybos, the well-traveled Gillis Schagen (1616-1668), Albert Philipp Willemaert and others.

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] Oldenbourg 1922, p. 144; K. Zoege von Manteuffel in Thieme/Becker 1907-1953, vol. 18 (1925), p. 114-115. Note the Netherlandish-mannerist drawing of 1624, no. 149. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Note the Netherlandish spelling of his name in the signature of this drawing. Vey 1964, p. 125, ill. On Hulsman: Herrmann 1998.

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] Frimmel 1892-1898, vol. 1, p. 67-68. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Actually, Frimmel only said that, if Hulsman’s paintings would have been by a forger, he certainly would have put the signature of a bigger name on them, such as Dirck Hals or Bartholomeus van der Helst. Herrmann 1998, p. 128-133, fig. 21, p. 165, no. 12.

11 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Herrmann 1998, p. 175, no. 20.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Ovens: § 2.2.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2017] This painting is not by Hulsman but, in my opinion, by an anonymous German painter from the second quarter of the 18th century.

14 [Gerson 1942/1983] Portraits in Aachen, no. 394 and Cologne, nos. 1789 and 2252, although unsigned.

15 [Gerson 1942/1983] Note Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot . [Van Leeuwen 2017] index card HdG; no image known to us.

16 [Gerson 1942/1983] Portraits in Cologne, nos. 1734 and 2269; art dealer Glaser, Cologne. [Van Leeuwen 2017] The latter could not been retrieved.

17 [Van Leeuwen 2017] It most probably concerns Jacob de Wet I (c. 1610-after 1677), who settled his affairs with the intention of going abroad in 1675 (Biesboer/Köhler et al. 2006, p. 339, note 46). The fact that the catholic painter Jacob de Wet I left Haarlem shortly after the 'Rampjaar 1672', which for Catholics was certainly a disaster due to the puritan/protestant takeover of the city government, makes his departure for catholic Cologne very plausible (communication Jan Kosten, February 2017). According to Jager 2016, p. 367 & 369, note 16, the mention of a Jacob de Wet in Cologne cannot refer to Jacob II, as he was at work in Scotland at the time; it can however concern Jacob I, as he had given somebody his power of attorney, because he was planning to be out of the country ('alsoo hij van meeninge was uytlandich te reysen').

18 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Renckens 1953, p. 240-241; Schieckel/Vey 1970.

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] In Ingolstadt. Image in Peltzer 1930, p. 259.

20 [Gerson 1942/1983] Many flower still-lifes by a certain J.C. de Bruyn occurred in Cologne auctions. He could be a painter from Cologne that painted in Dutch style. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Johannes Cornelis de Bruyn (active 1763-after 1828), who was a member of the painters’ guild in Middelburg and later active in Utrecht and Amsterdam. Several of his works can be found in RKDimages. Indeed he seems to have painted for the German market.

21 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerard worked in Cologne and Aix-la-Chapelle for Maximilian Henry of Bavaria in 1660; Ernest did the same in 1664 in Bonn.

22 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Toussyn: Vey 1964, p. 130-131, ill.; Caljé-van den Berg 1973, p. 298 (as Tosijn) and p. 308, note 106.

23 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See § 1.4.

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