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Among the highlights of the Bernheimer-Colnaghi stand at TEFAF, Maastricht, is Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Aristotle and Phyllis. The humiliation of the Greek philosopher Aristotle was one of the most powerful and popular pictorial examples of the theme of Weibermacht or the ‘Power of Women’. Aristotle is said to have admonished one of his students (traditionally identified as Alexander the Great) for paying too much attention to Phyllis, a woman of the court. She got her revenge by seducing the philosopher and persuading him to allow her to ride on his back in return for the promise of sexual favours. The picture can be linked to a group of paintings of similar subjects warning against the dangers of women painted by Cranach some of the earliest of which were commissioned for the bedchamber of prince Johann of Saxony in 1513. First published in 2003, the Colnaghi picture is a significant recent addition to the Cranach oeuvre.

The Guardroom with Monkeys painted a century later by David Teniers II (Antwerp 1610-1690 Brussels) exposes another aspect of human folly: warfare. Monkeys wearing soldiers’ uniforms are grouped around tables, playing cards and back-gammon, one wearing a terracotta pot on his head, another a pewter funnel in place of a helmet, while on the right a cat has been taken prisoner and is escorted through the doorway by a group of monkey soldiers brandishing halberdiers. Despite the humour, there is a serious underlying message about the folly of war at a time when for most of the seventeenth century the Netherlands were occupied by troops. Teniers, who was famous in his own day for his monkey paintings, proudly included the present Guardroom with Monkeys in a self-portrait of 1635. The Colnaghi picture, until recently on loan to the Mauristhuis, was one of the paintings restituted to the heirs of Jacques Goudstikker having been looted by the Nazis.

With the emergence of still life as an independent genre in the seventeenth-century, increasing prominence was given to still-life elements in biblical or allegorical subjects where the flowers and fruit were often painted by specialists. One particularly fine example is the recently-discovered painting by Hendrick de Clerck (Brussels before 1573 - 1625/1626 Brussels) and Denijs van Asloot (Brussels before 1573 - 1625/1626 Brussels) The Four Elements, with scenes from Genesis beyond, signed by both artists and dated 1613. Here de Clerck executed the figures and van Asloot the landscape and finely-painted still-life details. Colnaghi will also be exhibiting an important group of independent still-lifes. These include an exquisite Still Life of Flowers on copper by Jan Brueghel the Younger (Antwerp 1601 – 1678), and a magnificent Still life of a porcelain Wan Li dish with Apricots, Plums and a Butterfly on a ledge by Jacob van Hulsdonck (Antwerp 1582 – 1647 Antwerp), a pioneering still-life painter by whom less than a hundred pictures survive. French still-life painting developed partly as a result of the presence in France of immigrant artists such as Jean-Michel Picart, (Antwerp 1600 - 1682 Paris), whose exquisite Still Life with Flowers and Fruit, another highlight of the Bernheimer-Colnaghi stand, may have belonged to Louis XIV. At least seven of Picart’s paintings hung at Versailles and another eight at the Château de Marly, and he was so highly regarded in France that, in his 1666-8 treatise Félibien placed Picart's name amongst those of the greatest ancient and modern painters. In Florence a taste for still-life painting went hand-in- hand with a scientific interest in botany and this is reflected in a pair of magnificent Still-lifes of flowers in vases and fruit in park landscapes by Bartolomeo Bimbi, (Florence 1648 - 1730 Florence) who worked for the Medici. In Bergamo, by contrast, still-life painting focused more on man-made than natural objects. The proximity of Cremona, famous for its violin-making, encouraged a specialist interest in still lifes of musical instruments in the seventeenth century, and a particularly fine example of the genre is the Still life of Musical Instruments with a Globe and Tomes of classical Literature by Bartolomeo Bettera (Bergamo 1639- late 17th century Milan), which demonstrates the artist’s masterly command of foreshortening.

Colnaghi will also be exhibiting two very fine marine landscapes painted some 250 years apart. The earlier of these is The Miracle on the Beach of Gennesaret, a large oil on panel by Adam Willaerts (Antwerp 1577 – 1664/9 Utrecht), one of the most successful marine painters of his day. Here a biblical narrative is placed within a modern setting with figures wearing contemporary costumes and a seventeenth-century Dutch war ship in the background. The second is a Moonlit Scene of the Bay of Naples by Oswald Achenbach (Düsseldorf 1827 - 1905), which can be dated between 1875 and 1885, an unusually large and imposing landscape, remarkable for its atmospheric lighting and impressionistic handling.

A further highlight of the Bernheimer–Colnaghi stand this year is a painting recently attributed to Fragonard, working in collaboration with his sister-in-law Marguerite Gérard (Grasse 1761 - 1837 Paris). Le Chat Angora, was formerly attributed solely to Gerard, but Fragonard is now thought to have been responsible for many of the most important elements in the picture, such as the angora cat and the image of a lady artist at her easel (presumably Marguerite Gerard) which can be seen reflected in a mirrored ball, an idea Fragonard may have taken from Van Eyck’s famous Arnolfini Portrait.

Colnaghi’s new season’s paintings catalogue, illustrating recent acquisitions, will be available on the stand at Maastricht and from the London and Munich- based galleries.

Colnaghi Drawings

Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi will be exhibiting a wide selection of Old Master Drawings, including an exquisite Nativity by François Boucher. This drawing, a beautiful example of his masterful ability to depict the play of light and shadow in brown ink and a variety of washes, relates to his 1750 dated altarpiece of The Nativity at the Musée de Beaux-Arts, Lyon, painted for Mme. de Pompadour’s oratory at the Château de Bellevue. The scene is lit, not as in the painted version, by a heavenly light, but by a lantern held aloft by one of the shepherds. Here Boucher appears to have been influenced by Correggio’s famous Adoration of the Shepherds, better known as La Notte (Gemaeldegalerie, Dresden) and also possibly Philippe de Champaigne’s Adoration of the Shepherds (Wallace Collection, London). The drawing is similar both in style and technique to a drawing of the same subject in The Morgan Library, New York datable 1761-62, where the Christ Child is also lit by a lantern, although it hangs above the scene rather than being held up by a shepherd.

Other highlights are a brown wash drawing of Saint Luke by Abraham Bloemaert (Gorinchem 1564 1651 Utrecht), probably part of an original set of the four evangelists, whose technique suggests that they may have been preparatory to chiaroscuro woodcuts. Abraham´s youngest son, Frederick Bloemaert (c.1610 – c.1669), used the head of St. Luke´s ox on the upper left of the Colnaghi drawing as a model for the frontispiece of the second part of the Tekenboek (Drawing book), a collection of visual models for teaching young artists.

Also on display will be an important collection of German and Austrian nineteenth-century drawings, watercolours and oil sketches. These include The Class Prize by the Ferdinand Georg Waldmuller (Vienna 1793 – 1865 Vienna), a virtuoso watercolour which reveals his early training as a miniaturist and a quintessential example of Biedermeier Sittenbilder (or genre painting); a Wooded Landscape Near Rome, by Friedrich Salathé (Binningen (Basel) 1793 – 1858 Paris), dating from Salathé’s early visit to Italy around 1815; a rare Rural Landscape near Mark Brandenburg by Carl Blechen (Cottbus 1798 – 1840 Berlin); an oil sketch of a wooded landscape by Johann Georg Von Dillis (Gmain 1759 - 1841 Munich); and a sensitive pencil drawing of Erfurt Cathedral, by one of the finest nineteenth-century German draughtsmen: Adolph Von Menzel (Breslau 1815–1905 Berlin)

Katrin Bellinger will also be exhibiting at the Salon du Dessin in Paris, from 9th to 13th April.

Notes to Editors:

Colnaghi was established by Paul Colnaghi and his partner Anthony Torre in Paris in 1760. The original shop in Paris, known as the ‘Cabinet de Physique Experimental’, dealt in scientific instruments imported from England and they quickly branched out into print selling, importing English mezzotints and barometers. After managing a new shop in the Palais Royale, Paul Colnaghi took over the London branch of the business, based in Pall Mall in 1783, and as a result of the French Revolution transferred the business to London becoming print sellers to the Prince Regent (later George IV). Colnaghi established itself initially as the premier dealership for prints. By the end of the 19th century the firm had begun dealing in Old Master paintings and drawings and was instrumental in the formation of some of the most important American collections, including that of Isabella Stewart Gardener, Henry Clay Frick and Andrew Mellon. In 2002, the Old Master paintings dealer Konrad O. Bernheimer, the fourth generation of one of Europe’s major art dealing families, acquired Colnaghi. Under the Colnaghi umbrella, Bernheimer joined forces with the renowned Old Master drawings dealer Katrin Bellinger. In October 2006, Hauser & Wirth opened their third London gallery at the Colnaghi building in Bond Street – Hauser & Wirth at Colnaghi. Bernheimer and Bellinger continue to maintain a presence in Munich, Bernheimer Fine Old Masters, and Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel. Colnaghi continues to operate as one of the world’s most important dealerships, specializing in Master paintings and drawings from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century.

Founded by Lehmann Bernheimer in 1864, Bernheimer Fine Old Masters dealt initially in textiles and oriental carpets, before expanding to include Italian Renaissance furniture, French antiques, tapestries, porcelain and objets d’art. By 1900 Bernheimer had become purveyors to the Court of Bavaria and its clientele included members of the European aristocracy and American magnates, such as William Randolph Hearst. Konrad O. Bernheimer, great grandson of Lehmann, is the current owner and chairman of Bernheimer Fine Old Masters. Under his direction, the gallery now specializes in Old Master paintings, although it has recently begun to hold exhibitions of photography.

In 2002 Katrin Bellinger joined forces with Konrad Bernheimer at Colnaghi, where she runs the Old Master Drawings department, an established area of expertise at Colnaghi. Old Master Drawings exhibitions are held regularly at the Old Bond Street Galleries as well as other exhibitions of 19th century oil sketches, botanical watercolours and the work of living artists, including John Sergeant. In addition she continues to participate in the Salon du Dessin, Paris and the International Fine Arts Fair, New York. A selection of drawings is always on permanent view at the Old Bond Street premises, and she is regularly available for consultation and appraisals. Katrin Bellinger also maintains a presence in Munich assisted by Marten Grässle.

For press enquiries, further information and images:
Cassleton Elliott & Co. Ltd.
T: +44(0)20 3178 2336
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Colnaghi, 15 Old Bond Street
London W1S 4AX, United Kingdom
T: + 44 (0)20 7491 7408
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday10am – 6pm

Bernheimer Fine Old Masters
Briennerstrasse 7, D80333 Munich,
T: +49-89-226672
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm

Katrin Bellinger at Colnaghi
15 Old Bond Street,
London W1S 4AX, United Kingdom
T: + 44 (0)20 7491 7408
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm

Katrin Bellinger Kunsthandel
Briennerstrasse 7, D80333 München
T: +49-89-983465
Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 10am - 2pm

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