Gerson Digital : Germany I


4.1 Kassel

Less attention needs to be paid to the courts in Central Germany compared to the ones in Berlin and Düsseldorf. Kassel for example only came in close contact with Dutch art at the end of the 18th century. Before that time we only need to mention Anselm van Hulle (1601-after 1674), to whom a portrait of Landgrave Wilhelm VI of 1651 is attributed [1-2].1 Before that, at the beginning of the 17th century, the Dutch (?) artist Caspar van der Borcht († 1610) [3-4] and his son are thought to have worked there.2

Theodor Matham after Anselm van Hulle
Portrait of Wilhelm VI of Hesse-Kassel (1629-1663) in an allegorical framing, dated 1652
paper, copper engraving 349 x 250 mm
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ RP-P-1883-A-7256

Anselm van Hulle
Portrait of Wilhelm VI of Hesse-Kassel (1629-1663), dated 1651
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower right :
Eichenzell (Fulda), Schloss Fasanerie, inv./ B405

attributed to Caspar van der Borcht
Portrait of Wilhelm IV 'the Wise' of Hesse-Kassel (1532-1592), dated 1577
canvas, oil paint 117 x 108 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ LM 1938/349

attributed to Caspar van der Borcht
Portrait of Sabina von Württemberg (1549-1581), dated 1577
canvas, oil paint 114 x 103 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ LM 1938/349

As a collector Landgrave Karl I von Hessen-Kassel (1654-1730) did favour the Italians, but already during his reign we encounter some Dutch court artists or Germans who were trained under Dutch influence. To this latter category belonged the painters Herman Hendrik de Quiter, father (c. 1627/8-1708) and son (active 1700-1730). Before the elder De Quiter came to Kassel, he had been active both as an architect and museum director in Bonn and Bremen for Elector Maximilian Heinrich of Cologne. In Kassel he made many portraits that are already mentioned in the earliest inventories of the collection, among others the portrait of the envoy at the Reichstag Johann Joachim d’Orville [5].3 His many reproductive prints after Sir Peter Lely [6] make it likely that he also took that artist as a model. His son travelled the Netherlands, England and other countries before he settled in Kassel as a court painter (paintings there and in Gripsholm [7-8]). In this capacity he was succeeded by his younger brother Magnus (1694-1744), who previously had been gallery inspector in the Brunswick Salzdahlum. His paintings are hardly distinguishable from those of the two others [9-10].

Herman Hendrik de Quiter (II) published by Herman Hendrik de Quiter (I)
Portrait of Jean Jacques d'Orville (1633-1688), 1678-1679
paper, mezzotint, 2nd state 325 x 247 mm
lower right : HH Quiter pinx [Svculp] & excud. [HH in ligature]
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ HHQuiter AB 3.24

Herman Hendrik de Quiter (I) after Peter Lely
Portrait of Eleanor (Nell) Gwyn (?-1687), c. 1678
blue paper, mezzotint 345 x 244 mm
Chicago (Illinois), The Art Institute of Chicago, inv./ 2015.294

Herman Hendrik de Quiter (II)
Portrait of Karl, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), (dated?) 1725
canvas, oil paint 139 x 107 cm
Stockholm, Nationalmuseum Stockholm, inv./ NMGrh 872

Herman Hendrik de Quiter (II)
Portrait of Ludwig of Hesse-Kassel (1686-1706)
canvas, oil paint 82 x 68 cm
Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott, inv./ 853

Magnus de Quiter
Allegory of Wisdom and Strength, c. 1715-1730
canvas, oil paint 220,5 x 167 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK 1196

Magnus de Quiter
The sacrifice of Iphigenia
canvas, oil paint 255 x 211 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK 1071

Also the brothers Roos, Johann Heinrich and Theodor, painted at the court in Kassel for a while. Previously they had worked in Mainz, Mannheim and Strasbourg. We will meet them again in Frankfurt.4 It was not unusual to wander from one court to the other. Adam de Clerck(c. 1645-1705), for example, travelled in 1681 from Berlin to Kassel, where he created some portraits [11]. Nicolaes van Ravesteyn II (1661-1750) found employment as the Kassel court as well. In 1702 he portrayed the landgrave, after he already had painted several German rulers, such as the Counts of Erbach and Von Sachsen-Hildburghausen as well as the Prince of Waldeck [12], in the small town of Culemborg.5

Adam de Clerck
Portrait of Carl of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730), c. 1681
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
Eichenzell (Fulda), Schloss Fasanerie, inv./ B38

attributed to Nicolaes van Ravesteyn (II)
Portrait of a man, possibly a postumus portrait of Georg Friedrich von Waldeck (1620-1692), c. 1690-1700
canvas, oil paint 112 x 85 cm
Culemborg, Museum Elisabeth Weeshuis

However, the most successful portraitist was Philip van Dijk (1683-1753).6 In 1725 and in 1736 he stayed in Kassel, where he immortalized the landgrave, surrounded by his family and complete princely household, in a large painting [13].7 Besides this, he made several other portraits and genre pieces [14-15]: he was the ‘Jan Frans van Douven of Kassel’ and, like him, supportive in the expansion of the art gallery of Landgrave Wilhelm VIII (1682-1760). His pupil Louis de Moni (1698-1771) accompanied him to Germany. As less independent artist than his master, he clung to the sublime prototypes by Gerard Dou and Frans van Mieris [16-17].8

Philip van Dijk
Family portrait of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel (1654-1730) and his family with a self-portrait of the artist, dated 1725
canvas, oil paint 95 x 134 cm
lower right : P: van Dijk, Inv:et Fe., / 1725
Kassel (Hessen), Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, inv./ GK 327

Philip van Dijk
Portrait of Wilhelm VIII of Hesse-Kassel (1682-1760), dated 1736
canvas, oil paint 79,2 x 63 cm
verso : P:van Dÿk. ft.1736
Kassel (Hessen), Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, inv./ GK 328

Philip van Dijk
Portrait of Wilhelm VIII of Hesse-Kassel (1682-1760), dated 1725
canvas, oil paint 134 x 100 cm
location unknown : P. van Dyck fecit 1725
Mariefred, Gripsholm Slott, inv./ NMGrh 1906

Louis de Moni
Woman selling fish
panel (oak), oil paint 37 x 30,5 cm
bottom, in the middle : L: De Moni ft
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, inv./ 287

Louis de Moni
Rescue of the birds for the kat
panel (oak), oil paint 36 x 30 cm
lower right : L: De Moni inv:
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, inv./ 286

Besides these late portrait and fine painters, the last offshoots of Holland's great art, we also find here some landscape and prospect painters such as Willem van Bemmel (1630-1708), who settled in 1652 in Kassel for six years, or Jan van Nickelen, who moved here after the death of Johann Wilhelm von der Pfalz in 1716.9 The former set himself the task of introducing Italianate landscape painting in the taste of Jan Both and Herman van Swanevelt into Germany, while the latter was a ‘court painter for all seasons’: he created eight ideal views of the pleasure palace Weissenstein and the Hercules systems [18-19],10 but also portraits of the deceased princely children and immortalized rare animals that his patron had shot during the hunt [20]. The landgrave sent him on a trip to Italy at his expense.

Jan van Nickelen
The white roebuck, c. 1716-1721
canvas, oil paint 149 x 197 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK 1130

Jan van Nickelen
View on the residence of Landgraf Karl of Kassel, from the water cave until the octagon, after 1716
canvas, oil paint 169 x 149 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK1099

Jan van Nickelen
View on the residence of Landgraf Karl of Kassel, the lower water theater, after 1716
canvas, oil paint 169 x 149 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK1103

The future court painter and gallery inspector Johann Georg Freesen (1701-1777) [21] was Van Nickelen’s pupil. He also taught his daughter Jacoba Maria (c. 1690-1749),11 who married the painter Willem Troost I. She was taught flower painting [22] by her second teacher Herman van der Mijn. Also in Kassel there was no lack of paintings by Jan van Huijsum [23], who was greatly admired by Landgrave Wilhelm VIII. We know how delighted he was when he saw several works by this artist during a visit to the collection of Jan van Gool in Holland.12

Johann Heinrich Tischbein (I)
Portrait of Johann Georg Freesen (1701-1777), dated 1772
canvas, oil paint 58,5 x 51 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ 1875/1337

Jacoba Maria van Nickelen
Flowers in a garden vase in a niche, with fruit at the foot of the vase
canvas, oil paint 100 x 78 cm
lower center : J MARIA TROOST
Bonhams (London (England)) 2015-10-28, nr. 224

Jan van Huijsum
Flower still-life in a terra cotta vase on a bannister, a landscape in the background, dated 1726
panel (mahogany), oil paint 79,4 x 59,4 cm
lower right : Jan Van Húijsúm / fecit. 1726
London, Wallace Collection, inv./ P 149

The Kassel gallery postdates those of the Düsseldorf and Dresden. Until the middle of the century it was merely a portrait gallery. Naturally the Dutch relatives were represented here as well, and the portraits that were not available as originals, were borrowed to be copied by local artists. It was to Landgrave Karl’s credit that he enlarged and improved the collection with works of art, rather than curiosities or works that were only of concern to the family. Around the turn of the century he commissioned the building of a museum, which he filled with paintings. Besides Italian works, this gallery and his castle included – according to an inventory of 1731 – Rembrandt’s beautiful Bust of a man wearing a golden chain with a cross [24], two paintings by Anthony van Dyck, a Cornelis van Poelenburch, Adriaen van der Werff and naturally paintings by his court painters Philip van Dijk [25] and Jan van Nickelen.13

Within a few years his younger son, and successor, Wilhelm VIII managed to expand the collection in an undreamt-of way. Among many other acquisitions he succeeded in purchasing the cabinet of Mrs. de Röver in Delft in 1750: 64 paintings for 40.000 guilders. It was a choice collection with eight Rembrandts, Rubens, Philips Wouwerman, Jacob van Ruisdael, Paulus Potter, Jan van der Heyden, Godefridus Schalcken and other fine painters. The art dealer Gerard Hoet II (1698-1760), who in 1752 described each work in his ‘Name list of paintings’, had mediated the deal for a commission of 5%. Gallery director Johann Georg Freesen also had an active share in the whole affair. We will not go into detail about the other acquisitions of the landgrave, although such superb paintings as Jacob’s blessing by Rembrandt [26] were among them. At the death of Wilhelm VIII, Kassel possessed one of the finest collections of Dutch painting, one that could compete very well with the ones in Dresden and Düsseldorf. Kassel has always retained the reputation of being a noteworthy gallery of Dutch painting. However, through theft and confiscations, many things were lost during the war years of 1806-1813; far from everything was recovered afterwards.14

follower of Rembrandt
Bust of a man wearing a golden chain with a cross, before 1731
panel (oak), oil paint 67,4 x 55,9 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK 231

Philip van Dijk
The penitent Mary Magdalene, dated 1722
canvas, oil paint 99 x 83 cm
lower left : P: van Dyk.Ft : 1722
Kassel (Hessen), Museum Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, inv./ GK 326

Jacob blessing Manasseh and Ephraim, dated 1656
canvas, oil paint 175 x 210,5 cm
Kassel (Hessen), Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister (Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel), inv./ GK 249


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The portrait mentioned by Gerson (Kassel, no. 184a) is no longer believed to be by Van Hulle, nor to have been painted in 1651. It has been identified as a portrait not of Wilhelm VI but of Wilhelm V and is probably painted by Johann Christoph Jobst (1599 - 1675) in the 1630s: (communication Justus Lange, April 2017). There must have been some confusion with an equestrian portrait by Anselm van Hulle, indeed dated 1651, in Schloss Fasanerie, Eichenzell (Fulda), B405 (illustrated here).

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Caspar van der Borcht is thought to have been born in Den Bosch, but an artist of the same name was documented in Antwerp in 1572 (Rombouts/Van Lerius 1872/1961, vol. 1, p. 188, 247). He worked for the portrait gallery in the ‘golden room’ in the residence of Landgrave Wilhelm IV von Hessen-Kassel. Recently several wall and ceiling decorations by his hand have been published online in the Farbdiaarchiv zur Wand- und Deckenmalerei, Zentral Institut für Kunstgeschichte (,%20Caspar%20van%20der).

3 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Herman de Quiter I made a series of 40 sheets with mezzotint portraits of envoys to the peace conference in Nijmegen in 1678-179. The whole series is kept in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum in Braunschweig and can be consulted online at the Virtuelles Kupferstichkabinett.

4 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See § 5.2.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson based the information on Van Gool 1750-1751, vol. 2, p. 447-448.

6 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Van Dijk: Korthals Altes 2003A.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Van Dijk was court painter of Wilhelm VIII of Hessen-Kassel from 1726 onwards, but indeed only two visits to Kassel are documented: in 1725 (for the family portrait) and 1736 (Korthals Altes 2003, p. 142).

8 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On De Moni: Sluijter et al. 1988 , p. 174-181.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See also § 3.3.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Tieze/Eissenhauer 2004.

11 [Van Leeuwen 2017] See also § 3.3. On Jacoba Maria van Nickelen: Van der Hut 2014.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Van Gool 1750-1751, vol. 2, p. 16-17.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On the inventory of 1730: Herzog/Gronau 1969, p. 14. Also St. Cecilia playing the organ by Gerard van Horsthorst (RKDimages 265443) is probably acquired by Landgrave Karl, possibly during his trip to Italy in 1699-1700 (MHK online).

14 [Gerson 1942/1983] A. von Drach in Eisenmann 1988; Von Drach 1890; Bredius  1908, p. 7 (Mierevelt); Moes 1913; Van Schelven 1934, p. 143; Hoet 1752, vol. 2, p. 393.

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