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Old Master Dealer Bob Haboldt’s Legacy … the first thirty years

August 7, 2012

Charles Poerson
Saint Sébastien
Huile sur toile – 137 x 56 cm
Paris, Haboldt & Co
Photo : Haboldt & Co

Old Master paintings and drawings dealer Bob Haboldt is celebrating thirty years of business in part with the publication of Singular Vision. Haboldt & Co.’s Old Master Paintings and Drawings since 1983 featuring some 500 works, according to the Art Tribune.

Born in Amsterdam, Bob Haboldt studied in the United States then trained in Holland, at Sotheby Mak van Waay, and Phillips, Son & Neale before joining Christie’s New York in 1979 as an expert on old master paintings, then became president of the Colnaghi gallery. Finally, he set up his own business in New York in 1983, following up with two shops in Paris and Amsterdam.

As for the catalogue:

About twenty authors, experts and art historians have contributed entries accompanying certain works (often in full-page reproductions), while other pieces appear with only a legend and, unfortunately, no historical background.

In the forefront of French artist’s names, we find Poussin offering a study for a Rest during the Flight into Egypt, circa 1625, sold to a private collector in 2005, while in 2010 we had admired Charles Poerson’s Saint Sebastian [left, above] at TEFAF.

The various aspects of Dutch painting are well covered here : Jan van Goyen’s landscapes can be found alongside those of Albert Cuyp, Hendrick Avercamps’ winters and Jacob van Ruisdael’s haerlempjes [below], remarkable notably for a laundering field speckled with light, and a view of Haarlem in the distance, the cloudy sky occupying two-thirds of the composition.

Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29-1682)
Haerlempje : The Bleaching fields of the De Mol Compagny
with Country House Hartlust,
and a view of Haarlem in the Distance, late 1660’s
Oil on Canvas – 52 X 66 cm
Private Collection
Photo : Haboldt

Among the Italians, of special note is also Rutilio Manetti’s Virgin with Child and Saint Michael [below], the archangel being recognizable due to his suit of armour and especially the scales used to weigh souls. Here, the artist abandoned the Florentine Mannerists, which influenced his first works, for Caravaggio’s manner with a beautiful chiaroscuro effect. The painting appears to date from the 1620’s, as pointed out by Christina J. Tripi in the entry, and compares it to other figures painted in profile by the artist at that time : Dido and Aeneas (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) ; Lot and his Daughters (Musee des Beaux-Arts of Valence), Saint Jerome Comforted by Two Angels (Banca Monte dei Paschi, Sienna).

Rutilio Manetti (1571-1639)
Virgin with Child and Saint Michael, 1620’s
Oil on Canvas – 101 x 77 cm
Private Collection
Photo : Haboldt

Adam Elsheimer, German (1578–1610)
The Flight into Egypt
c. 1605
Oil on silvered copper
3-7/8 x 3 in. (oval) (9.8 x 7.6 cm)
Kimbell Art Museum

Despite a clear Dutch predominance, France, Italy and Germany are also well represented in this publication. The painting Bob Haboldt is most proud of having discovered is thus a Flight into Egypt [above] which he attributes to Adam Elsheimer ; found at a Sotheby’s auction in Monaco, it is now at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Also, the first painting the dealer ever sold is neither Dutch nor Flemish : Domenichino’s The Way to Calvary [below] was acquired by the Getty in 1983. It belonged to the famous art historian Sir John Pope-Henessy and in the 18th century had been part of the Duke of Orleans’ collection.

Domenichino
Italian, about 1610
Oil on copper
21 1/8 x 26 5/8 in.

Attributed to Jacob Adriaensz. Backer, A Boy with a Cap and Feather and a Polish Axe [below] is not really a portrait in the strict sense of the word, but rather a “tronie”, comparable to the Boy with a Red Coat and Gold Chain from the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Another, but older, tronie, on view at Maastricht, is Jan Lievens’ Old Man. Rembrandt appears discreetly with a small black chalk drawing representing a man seated with folded hands.

Jacob Adriaensz. Backer (1608/1609-1651)
A Boy with a Cap and Feather and a polish Axe, c.1638
Oil on Panel – 66 x 50 cm
Private Collection
Photo : Haboldt

Besides the still-lifes by Sebastian Stoskopff whose work fascinates Bob Haboldt, the Master of the Hartford Still-life is attributed with Figs in a Tazza Bowl, with Grape Leaves, a Basket of Grapes, Roses and Irises in a Vase, Cherries, Pears, Plums, Peaches and other Fruit on a Table Covered with an Oriental Rug and a Tablecloth [below], plus as a bonus, two butterflies and a snail. Published in 2002 by Alberto Cottino, this painting is an important addition to the artist’s oeuvre who acquired his name from the Table Laden with Flowers and Fruits, a painting held at the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut. His identity is still open to debate – the name of Prospero Orsi (1558-1630) has been suggested as pointed out by Helene Secherre in her entry ; in any case, he obviously followed in the steps of Caravaggio and Cavaliere d’Arpino.

Master of the Hartford Still-life (active in Roma circa 1590-1610)
Still-Life with Flowers and Fruits on a Table,
Two Butterflies and a Snail
Oil on Canvas – 141 x 177 cm
Private Collection
Photo : Haboldt

The Italian 18th century is embodied by Tiepolo with an Apollo and Phaethon from 1731 sold to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1986.

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (Italy, Venice, 1696 – 1770)
Apollo and Phaëthon, circa 1731
Painting, Oil on canvas, 25 1/4 x 18 3/4 in. (64.10 x 47.60 cm)
Gift of The Ahmanson Foundation (M.86.257)
European Painting and Sculpture Department.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Singular Vision.

Collective work, Singular Vision. Haboldt & Co.’s Old Master Paintings and Drawings since 1983, 2012, Haboldt & Co., 430p., 150 euros.

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