Gerson Digital : Germany I


6.1 Strasbourg and Württemberg

In general the Dutch influence is smaller in the catholic south than in other parts of Germany. Italy and even Flanders are more important for Bavarian and Frankish decorative painting than the minor masters from Holland. In a church regulation of Munich in 1720 we read: ‘one has to stick to the style of the great Italian masters, who truly praise God in their paintings und do not fall into coarse and mean forms in the strive for too much imitation of nature like the German and Dutch masters’.1

Therefore, when we cross Southern Germany from west to east, we can only point to isolated manifestations of Dutch orientated art, without gaining a coherent picture. In Strasbourg it was Johann Wilhelm Baur (1607-1642), to whom attention has been paid by Cornelis de Bie and Arnold Houbraken already.2 He was a pupil of Friedrich Brentel (1580-1651) [1], whose landscape paintings are connected to the work of Paul Bril and Adam Elsheimer. Baur himself was also indebted to the Flemish-German landscape tradition [2-4].3

Friedrich Brentel
Forest landscape with the flight to Egypt, dated 1638
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) 95 x 135 mm
lower left : Frid. Brentel
Straatsburg, Musées de Strasbourg

Johann Wilhelm Baur
Cavalry skirmish in a hilly landscape, dated 1637
vellum on panel, gouache (material/technique) 132 x 184 mm
lower right : Io: Wilhe: Baüer. Fecit. / 1637.
Christie's (New York City) 2000-01-28, nr. 122

Johann Wilhelm Baur
Nobles on a stairway at a seaside villa, c. 1640
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) 125 x 173 mm
lower center : Wi:Baür:fe.
Private collection

attributed to Johann Wilhelm Baur
Castle with stairway at a lake
panel, oil paint 46,9 x 60,3 cm
lower left : Batista / Wenix. / 1647.
Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum, inv./ 1428

The still-life painter Sébastien Stoskopff (1597-1657) also found his inspiration in the Flemish circle. At the expense of the city of Strasbourg he became a pupil of Daniel Soreau in Hanau between 1615 and 1619. Later on he moved to Paris, England and Italy and from 1641 on he was back in his hometown.4 For quite a long time he held on to a simple and side by side array in his still-lifes [5]. Then he reached, via Dutch-looking vanitas still-lifes, a type of realistic and surprisingly successful trompe l’oeils [6]. When his patron, Johann van Nassau-Idstein showed them at the court in Vienna, they were greatly admired [7-8].5

Sébastien Stoskopff
Still life of books and a candle, dated 1625
panel, oil paint 20,5 x 35,1 cm
lower left : StosKopf 1625
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv./ 2528

Sébastien Stoskopff
Vanitas still life with musical instruments, play cards, prints, musical notation, sweets, a vase with flowers, a globe and books, dated 1657?
canvas, oil paint 95,5 x 112 cm
: Stoskopff 1657 (?)
Dobiaschofsky Auktionen (Bern (Switzerland)) 2015-05-06 - 2015-05-09, nr. 432

Sébastien Stoskopff
Still life with glasses and silver goblets, c. 1645
canvas, oil paint 65 x 54 cm
Karlsruhe, Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe, inv./ 2232

Sébastien Stoskopff
Trompe-l'oeil with triumph of Galatea, c. 1650-1651
canvas, oil paint 65 x 54 cm
lower center : Stoskopff fecit
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 3553

Christian Wehrlin
Game piece with hare, poultry and fruit
panel, oil paint 41 x 65,5 cm
lower left : Christian Wehrlin F
Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg (Palais Rohan), inv./ 1554

The apparently younger Christian Wehrlin (active 1750-1774) also tends to a Dutch treatment of still-life, this time more in the decorative manner of Abraham van Beyeren [9].6 The draughtsman Joan Walter (1610-1679), who died in Strasbourg in 1677, was of Dutch descent, but was not a great artist [10]. He specialized in drawing plants and topographically correct depictions of castles in the surroundings of Idstein [11-12]. His patron was the same Johann van Nassau-Idstein [13] who also employed Stosskopf.7 Walther also owned works of this painter.

Joan Walter
Bouquet of flowers in Delft blue vase, dated 16[.]1
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) 280 x 340 mm
lower right : Joan Walter:f. i6[?]i
Christie's (London (England)) 2002-12-13, nr. 305

Joan Walter
Garden of Idstein, allegory of spring, dated 1663
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) 27 x 29,7 x cm
lower right : J.W.f.1663
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

Joan Walter
Three tulips, dated 1661
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) ? x ? cm
lower right : Joan.Walter.f.1661.
Frankfurt am Main, Städel Museum, inv./ 1596 (Bibliothek)

Joan Walter
Portrait of Count Johann of Nassau-Idstein (1603-1677), dated 1664
parchment (animal material), gouache (material/technique) 463 x 313 mm
lower left : Joan.Walter.fecit.Argentin / 1664
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), inv./ L.408, fol. 6

Bartholomäus Hopfer (II)
Old man with a Vanitas stillife, c. 1656-1660
canvas, oil paint 115 x 95 cm
Strasbourg, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg (Palais Rohan), inv./ 2042

Dutch portraiture in Strasbourg was represented by Bartholomäus Hopfer II (1628-1699), who was born in Augsburg.8 He received his training in Amsterdam from Govert Flinck and the few works that are known by him, prove that he used his apprenticeship well. He was active in Strasbourg from 1656 until his death in 1699 [14-17].9

Bartholomäus Hopfer (II)
Portrait of Johann Steudner (1620-1666), Minister in Augsburg, dated 1655
paper, black chalk, pen in grey ink, brush in grey, brush in white 233 x 197 mm
upper right : B Hopffer f, 1655,
Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett der Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin, inv./ 9392

Bartholomäus Hopfer (II)
Portrait of an unknown man with an orange twig in his hand
paper, chalk, brush in grey, heightened in white 270 x 184 mm
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, inv./ 3355

Bartholomäus Hopfer (II)
Portrait of a Strasbourg family, c. 1656-1699
canvas, oil paint 204 x 255 cm
Strasbourg, Musée Historique de la Ville de Strasbourg

Johann Christophorus Storer
Self portrait of Johann Christophorus Storer (1620-1671), before 1653
canvas, oil paint 55 x 44 cm
Florence, Galleria degli Uffizi, inv./ 1626

attributed to Johann Christophorus Storer
Portrait of Georg Schweiger
canvas, oil paint 74 x 59 cm
Dorotheum 1919-12-19, nr. 32

Württemberg is not very fruitful to us. Not much can be made of Jacob Weyerman’s comment that Constantijn Netöer had portrayed all local princes there.10 The portrait painter Johann Christophorus Storer (1620-1671) from Konstanz assimilated elements of the style of Anthony van Dyck [18]. Theodor Frimmel, however, attributes a portrait in the style of Nicolaes Maes to him [19].11 Johann Heinrich and Theodor Roos worked in Württemberg and Strasbourg as well.

For the rest we can only mention two still-life painters. One is Pieter Steenwijck (c. 1615-after 1656), who was pupil of his uncle David Bailly and painted a still-life with books with the inscription: ‘Ich Simon Heller, Bürger und Handelsmann der heyligen Reichs-Stadt Heilbronn’ [I, Simon Heller, citizen and merchant in the city of Heilbronn in the Holy Roman Empire] [20].12 Did Steenwijck, like his brother Harmen, travel to Germany or did he paint this work in his homeland for a German client? Johann Friedrich Grüber (c. 1620-1681), a Württemberg court painter in Stuttgart, painted at least one sumptuous still-life of which the Dutch character is particularly striking [21].13 It comes so close to works by Cornelis de Heem [22] that it is safe to assume he was trained in the Netherlands.14

Anoniem Noordelijke Nederlanden (historische regio) tweede helft 17de eeuw
Vanitas still life with nautilus shell, second half 17th century
canvas, oil paint 75 x 95 cm
lower center : Ich Simon Heller, Bürger und Handelsmann zu der heyligen Reichs-Statt Heilbronn [...]
Anton Creutzer 1930-05-22 - 1930-05-23, nr. 114

Johann Friedrich Grüber
Still life of fruit, with porcelain vessels and sumptuous silver vessels, dated 1659
canvas, oil paint 88,7 x 119,5 cm
left : 1659
Ludwigsburg, Schloss Ludwigsburg, inv./ 3352

Johann Friedrich Grüber and Alexander Coosemans
Rich still life with musical instruments and fruit, after c. 1650
canvas, oil paint 153 x 166,5 cm
lower left : C.DE HEEM ƒ
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, inv./ SK-A-2564


1 [Gerson 1942/1983] Feulner 1929, p. 157.

2 [Gerson 1942/1983] De Bie 1662, p. 113-114 and p. 251 (under Carolus Creten); Houbraken 1718-1721, vol. 2, p. 332-333 (as Jean Guilliam Bouwer).

3 [Van Leeuwen 2017]  On Baur: Roethlisberger 1988 and Bonnefoit 1997. The painting in the Städel Museum was attributed to Baur by Marijke de Kinkelder, former employee of the RKD and accepted by Roethlisberger; Sander/Brinkmann 1995 considered it to be by an imitator of Jan Baptist Weenix; the attribution to Baur also is not accepted by Bonnefoit (Bonnefoit 1997, p. 20, ill.)

4 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Stosskopff: Heck/Böhmer 1997.

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] Paintings in Strasbourg, Vienna and Prague. Brauner 1933. [Van Leeuwen 2017] The painting in Prague was exchanged by the Bohemian-Moravian Gallery in 1944 with the Staatliche Kunsthalle in Karlsruhe.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Strasbourg no. 383. [Van Leeuwen 2017] In Thieme/Becker 1907-1950, vol. 34 (1940), p. 259-260, the artists is identified with Cristiano Matteo Verlin, who was active in Turin from 1756 on and left for England in 1774. The painting in Strasbourg is fully signed Christian Wehrlin, another (RKDimages 286087) is monogrammed CW.

7 [Gerson 1942/1983] Lugt/Vallary-Radot 1936, no. 55-109. See also Gerson 1942/1983, p. 354. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Graser/Sonnabend 2017.

8 [Van Leeuwen 2017] According to Ekkart, he was born in Amsterdam and went to Augsburg after his training in Amsterdam: Ekkart 1973; Ekkart 1974.

9 [Gerson 1942/1983] Painting in Strasbourg [fig. 78, ed. 1983], drawings in Vienna and Berlin. [Van Leeuwen 2017] More examples in RKDimages.

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] Weyerman 1729-1769, vol. 4, p. 149. [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Storer and Van Dyck: Apphuhn-Radtke 2000, p. 73, 78, 81, 216, 286.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Auction Vienna 1919-12-16, no. 32. About his drawings that are influenced by Italian models: Thöne 1938-1939.

12 [Gerson 1942/1983] Auction Cologne 1930-05-27, no. 114. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Auction Aachen, 1930-05-22/23, not Cologne, 1930-05-27 (communication Paul van Kooij, July 2017).

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] Ludwigsburg; Thöne 1935, no. 37 (signed and dated 1659).

14 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The still-life in the Rijksmuseum bears a false signature of Cornelis de Heem and was catalogued as such until recently. Now it is attributed to Johann Friedrich Grüber on the basis of comparison to signed works that surfaced on the art market (more examples in RKDimages).

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