Gerson Digital : Germany I


7.6 The Austrian Painting Collections

The Dutch paintings that we admire today in the Viennese Picture Gallery stem for the larger part from the property of archduke Leopold Wilhelm [1], who resided in the Southern Netherlands as stadholder from 1647 till 1655. Although he was not a clever politician, he certainly was a very artistic Governor; it has been calculated, that he employed 65 Netherlandish artists and that he was portrayed 34 times! Naturally, such consignments were awarded to the Flemish. As a collector he was very versatile but was not, as many of his contemporaries, keen on curiosities.1 Although the Dutch paintings do not constitute the main focus of the collection, they are therefore no less exquisite. We can only highlight a few.

Two late portraits of Rembrandt (the Self-portrait of 1652 [2] and the Singing youth [Titus reading] [3]) he must have been acquired shortly after their creation; the Peasant wedding by Jan Steen and the Woman peeling apples by Gerard ter Borch [4] already were sent to Vienna before 1651. From the fine painters he owned works by Gerard Dou [5] and Frans van Mieris I [6].2

Justus van Egmont
Portrait of Leopold Wilhelm van Habsburg (1614-1662), dated 1649
canvas, oil paint 150 x 121 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 802

Titus reading, c. 1656-58
canvas, oil paint 71,5 x 64,5 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 410

Self portrait, dated 1652
canvas, oil paint 112,1 x 81 cm
lower left : [.......] dt.f.1652
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 411

Gerard ter Borch (II)
Interior with a Woman peeling apples and a child, c. 1660
canvas on panel, oil paint 36,3 x 30,7 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 588

Gerard Dou
Young woman with candle and lantern in a window opening, c. 1655-1660
panel (oak), oil paint 25,5 x 21 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 583

Frans van Mieris (I)
The cloth shop, dated 1660
panel, oil paint 55 x 43 cm
left center : F.van Mieris f i660
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum

Philips Wouwerman
Horses swimming and drinking in a river, c. 1650-1660
canvas, oil paint 82,5 x 127 cm
lower left : PhlsW
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 713

Furthermore pictures of the much loved Philip Wouwerman [7-8], of Jan Both, Herman Saftleven, Jan Ossenbeeck [9-10], who indeed worked for him and Pieter van Laer, who was not succesful at the Viennese court; on the other hand no landscapes in the national manner.3

Philips Wouwerman
An attaque on travelers by robbers in a mountainous landscape, c. 1650-1660
panel (oak), oil paint 39 x 56,5 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 669

Jan van Ossenbeeck
The annunciation to the shepherds, dated 1654
canvas, oil paint 97,5 x 137 cm
: J. Ossenbeck 1654
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 6801

Jan van Ossenbeeck
Landscape with Jacob and his family on the way to Canaan (Genesis 31:17-18), c. 1656-1662
canvas, oil paint 128 x 214 cm
lower left : J. Osse [......]
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 439

The School of Utrecht was represented by Joachim van Wtewael [11], Gerard van Honthorst, Jacob Duck [12] and Cornelis van Poelenburch [13]; the School of Haarlem only through an early Van Ostade [14], a painting in the manner of Frans Hals (van der Vinne) and Egbert van der Poel. To the School of Rembrandt belong the rare Reinier van Gherwen [15], Aert Janz. Marienhof [16], Leonaert Bramer, Christoph Paudiss [17], who we already met at the Viennese court, the Monogrammist J.S. and Jan Lievens (a.o. the painting from his Antwerp period, that he painted together with Jan van der Hecke [18]); a whole row of other paintings join them, among which the flower still-lifes of Rachel Ruysch and Jan Davidsz. de Heem [19] were not forgotten.

Jacob Duck
Interior with soldiers inspecting the booty and with a pleading woman, second half 1630s
panel, oil paint 38 x 66 cm
lower right : A Dvc f
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 610

Joachim Wtewael
Actaeon is changed into a stag and killed by his own dogs, dated 1607
panel (oak), oil paint 57,5 x 78 cm
lower left : Joachim Wte Wael fecit 1607
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 1052

Cornelis van Poelenburch
The Annunciation, c.1635
copper, oil paint 48 x 41 cm
lower left : C. P. F
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 614

Adriaen van Ostade
The village barber pulling teeth, c..1637
panel, oil paint 33,3 x 41,5 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 748

Reynier van Gherwen
Young man with a plumed cap and a gorget, c. 1645
panel, oil paint 112 x 79,5 cm
below, right of the middle : R. v. Gherw
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ 405

Aert Jansz. Marienhof
Alexander the Great visiting the grave of Achilles (C.Aelianus, Varia Historia XII,7), dated 1649
canvas, oil paint 57 x 73,5 cm
lower left : A. marienhof / 1649
The Hague, art dealer Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder

Christopher Paudiss
Saint Jerome writing
canvas, oil paint 136 x 124 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 395

Jan van den Hecke (I) and Jan Lievens
Portrait of a laughing young man in a flower garland, 1642-1644
panel (oak), oil paint 50,5 x 46 cm
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 412

Jan Davidsz. de Heem
Still life with a wafer surrounded by a wreath of fruits, dated 1648
canvas, oil paint 138 x 125 cm
center : J de heem fecit Anno i648.
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 571

When Leopold Wilhelm returned to his native country in 1656, he had his possessions transferred to Vienna, which wasn’t a small business, considering that the collection comprised (according to an inventory of 1659) no less than 517 Italian and 880 Netherlandish paintings, to which were added another 343 drawings and 542 statues!4 Everything was quickly installed in the Stallburg in Vienna [20]. It was the first important art collection of the 17th century that wasn’t a cabinet of curiosities.

At the death of the archduke, his nephew, the Emperor Leopold I, inherited his entire art collection. The emperor himself owned, as we have seen, paintings by Sandrart [21], Samuel van Hoogstraten, Paudiss and some other Dutch masters who had been active in Vienna. In the years 1728-1735 a preliminary illustrated book of the imperial collection was edited by Frans van Stampart (1675-1750) and Anton Joseph von Prenner (1683-1743/61) [22], from which we learn, that in the meantime some paintings by Philip Wouwerman, Johann Ulrich Mayr, Willem de Heusch, Palamedes Palamedesz, Jacob Ochtervelt and Frans Hals had enriched the holding with Dutch works.5 Charles VI added something in his turn, whereas Maria Theresia sold various items to the King of Poland and the Elector of Saxony from the property kept in Prague as well as in Vienna. On the other hand the inheritance from Lorraine and other legacies brought new acquisitions again. For example, there were exchanges with the Schottenstift (Scottish Abbey) in Vienna, that had a very nice little collection of Dutch masters from the 17th century. From the old Galerie Nostitz in Prague likewise came some good Dutch paintings.6

Nikolaas van Hoy
A view into the Staburg Gallery of Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, in or shorty before 1660
paper, pen in brown ink, grey wash, over graphite 271 x 408 mm
Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, inv./ 9302

Joachim von Sandrart (I)
Minerva and Saturn protect the art and science, dated 1644
canvas, oil paint 146 x 202 cm
center : Joachim v Sandrart fecit 1644
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./ GG 1136

Frans van Stampart and/or Anton Joseph von Prenner
Plan of the 'Kaiserliche Gallerie und Kunstkammers' in the Stallburg in Vienna with the portraits of Frans van Stampart en Anton Joseph von Prenner and an image of an entrance gate, c. 1735
paper, etching 340 x 240 mm
Heidelberg (Germany), Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

Prinz Eugen von Savoyen (1663-1736) had built himself two magnificent houses in Vienna, the Winter Palace in the city and the Belvedere just outside the city walls when his financial position around 1700 had stabilized itself. In those years the war hero became an avid collector. He filled his castles with paintings and antiquities, which at his death were estimated at 200.000 Gulden. C. 1708 he must have become acquainted with the battle painter Jan van Huchtenburg (1647-1733), who worked for him for many years. Thus he painted ten pictures (not counting the repetitions) of engagements, that occurred between 1697 and 1717, in other words a very up-to-date war reporting and glorification of the commander [23-32].7

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Zenta, 11 September 1697: Prince Eugene of Savoy beats the Ottoman army at while crossing the river Tisa, dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
location unknown : Huchtenburgh 1712
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 886

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Chiari 1 spetember 1703: Prince Eugene of Savoy beats the French army, that occupied Turin, under marshal Villeroy at the river Oglio near Chiari, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 887

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Luzzara, 15 August 1702: Prince Eugen of Savoy fighting the French army under marshal Louis, duc de Vendôme, at the river Po, near Luzzara, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 889

Jan van Huchtenburg
The (second) Battle of Höchstädt near Blenheim near the Danube, 30 August 1704: decisive victory of Eugen of Savoy and the Duke of Marlborough over the French and Bavarian armies under Elector Max Emanuel and marshal Tallard, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 890

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Cassano d'Adda, 16 August 1705 between Eugene of Savoy and Philippe Vendôme, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
location unknown : J. Hugtenburgh
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 896

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Siege and Relief of Turin, 7 September 1706: Eugene of Savoy chases the French troops under Louis de la Feuillade and the reliefforce under Philippe, duc d'Orléans away from Turin, dated 1712
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
location unknown : Huchtenburg 1712
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 891

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Chiari 1 spetember 1703: Prince Eugene of Savoy beats the French army, that occupied Turin, under marshal Villeroy at the river Oglio near Chiari, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 887

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Malplaquet, 11 September 1709: a Pyrrhic victory of the Habsburg, English, Dutch and Prussian troops under the Duke of Marlborough, Eugene of Savoy and Johan Willem Friso of Orange over the French under Maréchal de Boufflers, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 894

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Peterwardein/Petrovaradin, 5 August 1716: decisive victory of the Imperial troops under Eune of Savoy over the Ottoman troops under Grand Vizier Damat Ali, dated 1716
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
location unknown : Pict. Salankemen [...] J. Hugtenburgh f. 1716
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 897, cat. 612

Jan van Huchtenburg
The Battle of Belgrado, 16 August 1717: Eugene of Savoy's greatest victory over the Turkish-Ottoman troops under Grand Vizier Chalil Pasha, after 1710
canvas, oil paint 116 x 153 cm
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 898

The Prince loved such representations, as bit by bit he bought battle pieces by Philips Wouwerman [33-34],8 Jan Pieter van Bredael II [35-36],9 Joseph Parrocel and Jacques Courtois.

Philips Wouwerman
A battle at a river, 1650-1655
panel, oil paint 55 x 68 cm
lower right :
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 51

Philips Wouwerman
Cavalry skirmish near a bridge, c. 1665-1668
canvas, oil paint 82,5 x 105 cm
lower left :
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 53

Jan Pieter van Bredael (II)
The battle at Villaviciosa on 10 december 1710, after 1710
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
lower center : J.P. Van Breda
Vienna, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum

Jan Pieter van Bredael (II)
The battle at Peterwardein on 5 August 1716, after 1716
canvas, oil paint ? x ? cm
: J.P. van Bredael
Vienna, Heeresgeschichtliches Museum

Apart from these for a commander after all rather obvious acquisitions, he owned a row of pretty precious Dutch cabinet paintings by Gerard Dou [37-38], Frans van Mieris [39], Jacob Toorenvliet, Caspar Netscher [40], Adriaen van der Werff [41], and further flower paintings by the Van der Mijns, Coenraed Roepel, Jan van Huijsum and Abraham Mignon [42]; furthermore some pleasant landscapes of Herman Saftleven and Jan Griffier [43] (16 pieces!) and various others. Even a painting by Rembrandt [44] graced the collection. The Dou, especially, was a valuable piece: it was a present from the Elector Johann Wilhelm, who spent 30,000 guilders on it. Princess Victoria, Eugene’s lucky heiress, sold all the paintings after years of negotiations to Charles Emanuel III, king of Sardinia. Here in Turin in 1796, the French general Claudel took possession of the Dou (which was by no means given to him), so that Dou’s Dropsical woman ‘that passes as the masterpiece of Flemish painting’ [sic!],10 nowadays enraptures the enthusiasts of the Leiden finepainting in the Louvre, while the rest of Prince Eugene’s property remained in Turin.11

Frans van Mieris (I)
Young woman with two children, c`. 1670
panel, oil paint 16 x 12 cm
upper center : F van Mi.....
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda

Gerard Dou
Dropsical woman, dated 1663
panel, oil paint 86 x 67,8 cm
lower left : 1663 GDOV OVT 65 JAER
Paris, Musée du Louvre, inv./ 1213

Gerard Dou
Young woman with a bunch of grapes in a window, dated 1662
panel, oil paint 38 x 29 cm
upper center : GDOV / 1662
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda

Caspar Netscher
The knife grinder, dated 1662
panel, oil paint 43 x 34 cm
lower left : C. Netscher 1662
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 67

Adriaen van der Werff
Adam and Eve at the corpse of Abel, dated 1699
panel, oil paint 42 x 34 cm
: [...] 1699
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda

Abraham Mignon
Tree trunk with flowers, plants, birds and other small animals, after 1672
canvas, oil paint 66 x 80 cm
lower left : A Mignon fe.
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 548

Jan Griffier (I)
Mountainous river landscape with figures
panel, oil paint 30,3 x 39 cm
lower right : Griffier
Turijn, Galleria Sabauda, inv./ 686

That is apart from the drawings and the copper engravings (and some more things that are of no interest to us here), which the imperial court acquired as Prince Eugene had been an avid collector of graphic art. He was supported in this by excellent connoisseurs as Pierre Jean Mariette. ‘The ‘Dutchmen abroad’ have him to thank especially, as he acquired in 1732 the so-called ‘Atlas van der Hem’ [45], that now still resides undivided in the Viennese Nationalbibliothek. This Atlas van der Hem is a collection of Dutch drawings by Doomer, Savery, Schellinks, Hackaert and many others, who made particularly meticulous sketches of different countries in Europe for Van der Hem. He kept them in a copy of the eleven-volume Atlas Blaeu, that was taken apart just for this purpose. Over time it swelled to 50 volumes. We well could call this ‘Europe in pictures’.12

We can treat the other Viennese collectors somewhat shorter. Prince Karl Eusebius von Liechtenstein (1611-1684) was the founder of the famous gallery and in his last will he gave his son very precise directions for the proper maintenance of the paintings. It was assumed until now, that he only gave bigger consignments to Rubens and some other Flemings. But the industrious art dealers Forchondt of Antwerp, who had a branch office in Vienna, sold him a large number of Dutch pictures too, admittedly no expensive stuff though.13 Among them we find above all genre and peasant pictures, that are described as ‘1 Hollants stucksken Lierman’ [=a hurdy-gurdy player], ‘een troni van Livens’, ‘2 tronikens van Rynbrandt’ (the two together for 10 Thaler!), a ‘toeback smorder [= a pipe smoker] van Ostadie’ and similar paintings by Herman Saftleven, Pieter van Laer, Egbert van der Poel and others. The successor of Karl Eusebius principally employed Italians and the two Dutch still-life painters Dirk Valkenburg (hunting pieces in the manner of Jan Weenix) and Willem van Royen. In the 18th century we hear about some other purchases, but only in the 19th century the number and the quality of the Dutch paintings grew considerably.14

The Forchondts dealt with other Austrian grandees as well of course, like the counts Berckel, Prince Eckenberg, Count von Hoger and others. They did not have their clients only in Vienna, but also in ‘Lins’ [Linz], ‘Craets’ [Graz], in Moravia with the bishop of Olomouc [Olmütz] and who knows where.15 Especially peasant pictures, landscapes, marines and battle scenes were especially easy to sell, to say nothing of Flemish paintings. To the older collectors of Dutch art we can add the court quartermaster von Wenzelberg, whose belongings came to Melk, Johann Cunibert von Wenzelsberg (1614-1680), whereas Count Kaunitz-Rietberg and Baron Bruckenthal (now in Sibiu, Rumania [formerly Hermannstadt in Siebenburgen]) first became buyers of pictures in the 18th century.16

The visitation (Luke 11:39-42), dated 1640
panel, oil paint 56,6 x 47,8 cm
below, right of the middle : Rembrandt 1640.
Detroit (Michigan), Detroit Institute of Arts, inv./ 27.200

Joan Blaeu and Laurens van der Hem
Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem, 1660-1678
paper, printed ? x ? cm
Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek


1 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On the collections of Leopold Wilhelm: Vegelin van Claerbergen et al. 2006-2007, Haag et al. 2014.

2 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson erroneously also mentions Willem van Mieris: Willem van Mieris was born in 1662, the year Leopold Wilhelm died.

3 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson and his contemporaries did not consider the landscapes of the Italianate painters to be ‘in the national manner’, in contrast to landscapes by Jan van Goyen, Jacob van Ruisdael etc.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Berger 1883; Mareš 1887; Teniers 1660; Wurzbach 1906-1911, vol. 2, p. 28. [Van Leeuwen2018] Actually, in the inventory of Leopold Wilhelm by Jan Anton van der Baren it is stated that the collection contained 880 paintings from German and Netherlandish painters, not Netherlandish painting only (Berger 1883, p. CXV).

5 [Gerson 1942/1983] The original plates of the ‘Prodromus’ are reprinted in Zimmermann 1888. [Van Leeuwen 2018] Many of the reproductive prints by Van Stampart and Prenner are in the RKD collections, and partly in RKDexplore (RKDimages 268812).

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] Frimmel 1909; Frimmel 1899-1901, vol. 1, no. 1, p. 91-332 (Die kaiserliche Gemäldesammlung); Bergner 1905; Stix 1922. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Dutch and Flemish paintings from the former Nostitz collection in the National Gallery of Prague: Slavíček 1994-1995.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2018] On this series: Spantigati et al. 2012, p. 192-194, no. 3.1.a-3.1.l, ill. Also the rest of Eugen’s collection is treated in this publication.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Prince Eugene visited Coenraet Droste (1642-1734) in Leiden in 1708 and tried to buy a Wouwerman in vain (Droste/Fruin 1879, vol. 1, p. 254 -255, v. 7443, vol. 2, p. 543, v. 7443) . [Van Leeuwen 2018] Droste resided in The Hague, not Leiden. In 1686 he bought the house 'den Goudenberg' in Bezuidenhout, The Hague.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2018] Gerson stated A. van Bredael, but he obviously meant Jan Pieter van Bredael II. Nine works by Bredeal II online on the website of the Heeresgeschichtliches Museum in Vienna.

10 [Van Leeuwen 2018] ‘qui passe pour le chef d’ oeuvre de l’ecole flamande’ .

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Ilg 1889; Vesme 1886; Frimmel 1899-1901, vol.1/3, p. 13-55; Hofstede de Groot 1907-1928, vol. 1 (1907), p. 362-363, no. 66; Oettinger 1933.

12 [Gerson 1942/1983] Ausserer 1929.[Van Leeuwen 2018] Van Gelder/Van der Waals 1992; De Groot et al. 1996-; Blaeu/Van der Krogt 2016.

13 [Van Leeuwen 2018] The shop in Vienna was run in particular by Guiliam Forchondt II (1645-1677) and his brother Marcus Forchondt (1651-1706). For documents on purchases between 1669 and 1676: Haupt 1998, no. 1067, 1082, 1208, 1595, 1614, 1615, 1626.

14 [Gerson 1942/1983] Höss 1908; Frimmel 1907; Hoogewerff 1913A, p. 47 (about paintings by Helmbreker); Denucé 1931, p. 135, 172, 180, etc. [Van Leeuwen 2018] On Valkenburg and Van Royen: § 7.3. For documents on the purchases of Johann Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein: Haupt 2012.

15 [Gerson 1942/1983] Denucé 1931, p. 131, 159-160, 171, 181, 185, 197, 227, etc.

16 [Gerson 1942/1983] Frimmel 1899-1901, vol.1/3, p. 1-6, 71-117, 118-137; Frimmel 1919;; Tietze 1909, p. 297; Sigerus 1916.

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