Hendrick Ter Brugghen (Deventer 1588 - 1629 Utrecht), Bagpipe player in Profile
signed upper right HTBrugghen fecit. 1624 (HTB in monogram). oil on canvas. 39 3/4 by 32 5/8 in.; 101 by 83 cm. Estimate 4,000,000—6,000,000 USD
PROVENANCE: Probably Mr. Aernout van Lingen, Utrecht;
With Glenz, Berlin, 1915;
Possibly Gustav Klemperer Edler von Klemenau (1852 – 1926);
Dr. Herbert von Klemperer, Berlin;
Auction, Hans W. Lange, Berlin, November 18-19, 1938 lot 151 (involuntary sale by the above), there purchased by,
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, Germany, (inventory no. 2613);
Restituted to the heirs of Dr. Herbert von Klemperer, July 2008.
EXHIBITED: Philadelphia, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, 1984, cat. no. 24, reproduced plate 9;
Cremona, Museo Civico a la Ponzone; Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum at Palais Harrach, 'Dipignere la Musica.' Strumenti in posa nell'arte Quatrocento al Settecento, 2001, cat. no. I. 22, reproduced.
LITERATURE AND REFERENCES: A. von Schneider, Caravaggio und die Niederländer (1933), 2nd ed., Amsterdam 1967, p. 140;
J.W. von Moltke, 'Ein unbekkantes Bild von Hendrik Terbrugghen,' Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 11 (1939), pp. 283-285, fig. 208;
O.H. Förster, 'Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Hansestadt Köln,' Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 11 (1939) p. 308;
H. May, 'Das Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Köln,' Die Weltkunst 13 no. 24-25, June 25 1939, p. 1, reproduced;
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Hansestadt Köln. 2. Die nederländischen, französischen, italienischen und spanischen Gemälde, Cologne 1941, p. 133;
H. Wentzel, "Unbekannte Werke Terbrugghen in Dänemark und Schweden," Die Kunst und das Schöne Heim 52, no. 4 (January 1954), p. 124;
B. Nicolson, "Notable Works of Art Now on the Market," The Burlington Magazine 97, December 1955, n.p.;
B. Nicolson, "The Rijksmuseum 'Incredulity' and Terbrugghen's Chronology," The Burlington Magazine 98, 1956, p. 108 and 110;
B. Nicolson, "Ter Brugghen Repeating Himself," in Miscellanea Prof. Dr. D. Roggen, Antwerp 1957, p. 194;
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln, Führer durch die Gemälde-Galerie, Cologne 1957, p. 92;
B. Nicolson, Hendrick ter Brugghen, London 1958, pp. 10, 16, 41, 104, 108, 118, cat. no. A17, reproduced plate 48;
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Stadt Köln, Verzeichnis der Gemälde, Cologne 1959, p. 166;
E. Plietzsch, Holländische und flämische Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig 1960, p. 146, reproduced fig. 250;
J.R. Judson, "Review of Benedict Nicolson, Hendrick Terbrugghen,'" in The Art Bulletin 43, 1961, p. 346;
L.J. Slatkes, Dirck van Baburen (c. 1595-1624); A Dutch Painter in Utrecht and in Rome, Utrecht 1965, p. 158;
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum der Stadt Köln, Verzeichnis der Gemälde, Cologne 1965, p. 166;
L.J. Slatkes and W. Stechow, Hendrick Terbrugghen in America, exhibition catalogue, Dayton 1965, p. 12;
G. von der Osten, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln, Cologne 1966, p. 15, 62, reproduced fig. 237;
H. Vey and A. Kesting, Katalog der Niederlandischen Gemälde von 1550 bis 1800 in Wallraf-Richartz-Museum [...], Cologne 1967, p. 26, reproduced fig. 26;
C. Wright, Dutch Painters; 100 Seventeenth Century Masters, Woodbury New York 1978, p. 192;
B. Nicolson, The International Caravaggesque Movement: Lists of Pictures by Caravaggio and his Followers throughout Europe from 1590-1650, Oxford 1979, Vol. I, p. 100;
C. Wright, A Golden Age of Painting: Dutch, Flemish and German Paintings, Sixteenth-Seventeenth Centuries, from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, San Antonio 1981, p. 96;
P. Sutton, Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting, Philadelphia 1984, p. 168, cat. no. 24, reproduced p. 168 and plate 9;
C. Hesse and M. Schlagenhaufer, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum Köln. Vollstandiges Verzeichnis der Gemälde-sammlung, Cologne 1986, vol. I, pp. 15-16, fig. 285; vol. 2, pp. 148-149, reproduced in color;
A. Blankert et al., Niuew Licht op de Gouden Euew; Hendrick ter Brugghen en tijdgenoten, exhibition catalogue, Utrecht 1986, p. 113, reproduced fig. 79;
M.J. Bok, 'Hendrick Jansz. ter Brugghen' in Utrecht-Braunschweig 1986-1987, p. 71;
B. Nicolson, Caravaggism in Europe, vol. I, p. 192, cat. no. 129;
O. Le Bihan, L'Or et L'Ombre. La Peinture hollandaise du XVIIe et du XVIIIe siècles au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux, Bordeaux 1990, pp. 73, 74;
C. Brown, Hendrick Ter Brugghen 1588-1629, Jakob, Laban und Lea; Ein Bild in Vergleich, exhibition catalogue, Cologne 1991, p. 5, 14, reproduced fig. 9;
C. Brown, Brief Encounters: Ter Brugghen, Jacob Reproaching Laban, exhibition catalogue, London 1991, n.p. reproduced;
E. Mai, et. al, Das Kabinett des Sammlers: Gemälde vom XV. bis XVIII. Jahrhundert, exhibition catalogue, Cologne 1993, p. 250;
P. Huys Janssen, Jan van Bijlert (1597/98-1671), Proefschrift, University of Utrecht, 1994, p. 166;
L.J. Slatkes, 'Bringing Ter Brugghen and Baburen Up-to-Date,' Bulletin des Musée National de Varsovie 37 (1996), pp. 210, 212, 213, 216, reproduced fig. 8;
P. Huys Janssen, Jan van Bijlert (1597/98-1671), Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam-Philadelphia 1998, p. 139;
C. White, Ashomolean Museum Oxford; Catalogue of the Collection of Paintings: Dutch, Flemish, and German Paintings Before 1900, Oxford 1999, p. 24;
C. Harrison et al., The Ashmolean Museum: Complete Illustrated Catalogue of Paintings, Oxford 2004, p. 35;
P. Sutton, Old Master Paintings from the Hascoe Collection, exhibition catalogue, Greenwich 2005, p. 10;
L.J. Slatkes and W. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick Ter Brugghen 1588-1629 Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam 2007, pp. 50-51, 57, 118, 130n, 165-167 ,171, 185, 186, 187, 193, 194, 218, 271, 377, cat. no. A71, reproduced plate 70.
NOTE: In a letter of 15 April 1707, the Leiden painter Adriaen van de Werff wrote to Richard, the son and biographer of Hendrick ter Brugghen, a letter praising his father and his works: "...doch ik hebbe het geluk, dat ik nog dagelyx bij mijn goede vrienden van syn E(dele) beste werken kan sien en daermit hebbe geordeelt, gelijk ik nog doe, hoe grooten man UED. heer vader in onse konsten is geweest. Ja, ik estimere syne konste soo,.... syne werken doen hem kennen en deselve sullen altijd syne voorsprake sijn en de wereld sal altijd zeggen, Ter Brugghen war een groot man....[I have been in the fortunate position, of viewing his best and noblest works at my dear friend's place, and could judge therefore, and still do so, how great a man Your Lordship's father has been in our art. Yes, I so admire his art,...his works give him his reputation and the same will always be positively spoken of and the world will always say, Ter Brugghen was a great man."1 Such fulsome praise of the artist by a colleague is noteworthy, particularly in the rather competitive climate of 17th and 18th century Holland, and van der Werff's comments when seen in this context are perhaps even more impressive. Indeed, ter Brugghen's position amongst the top rank of Dutch artists of his day is nowhere better attested to than the list of the collectors of the highest rank that coveted his works.2 These included such significant figures as Pieter Six (the brother of Jan, Rembrandt and Hals' great patron), the Princes of Orange, Charles I of England, the King and Queen of Bohemia, as well as any number of other important connoisseurs.
The nature of ter Brugghen's earliest artistic training is somewhat uncertain, and it is possible that he was a late starter; what is clear is that he trained with Abraham Bloemart in Utrecht. The most important of his early experiences, however, was his sojourn in Italy, and especially Rome, where he saw firsthand the work of Caravaggio. Although the exact date of his arrival there is not known, it can be surmised that he had left Holland in late 1607. His earliest known paintings, which date to after his return North, certainly betray his full awareness of the Lombard painter's startling innovations, and include a number of religious works of this period. It is, however, his genre depictions of the 1620s that display ter Brugghen's greatest originality, often half length figures of bravos and musicians of a type that had been popularized by his Utrecht contemporaries, but at which he surpassed them all, and which is exemplified by the Bagpipe Player in Profile.
This Bagpipe Player in Profile is one of two closely related renditions of this subject by Hendrick ter Brugghen, both of which are signed and dated 1624; the other painting is in the collection of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford (Fig. 1).3 One of these works is most assuredly identifiable with "Aeen sackpijp van Ter Brugghen (a bagpipe by Ter Brugghen)," listed in the inventory of the possessions of Aernout van Lingen, a member of Utrecht's town council, which was compiled in that city in 1676. The present picture only resurfaced in 1915 when it was auctioned in Berlin. It appeared in another major auction in Berlin in 1938; the catalogue stated that the picture came from the collection of a certain "v. K." This "v. K." can be identified as Dr. Herbert von Klemperer, a prominent German industrialist who was forced to surrender the painting for public sale. We are most fortunate that a pre-war photograph survives of A Bagpipe Player in Profile hanging in Dr. von Klemperer's home in Berlin (Fig. 2). The Wallraf-Richartz-Museum in Cologne purchased the picture at the 1938 sale and it remained in their collection until July of 2008, when it was restituted to Dr. von Klemperer's heirs.
Both the present canvas and the related one in Oxford feature simply dressed, rustic types portrayed in the act of playing their instruments and placed against a neutral setting. The sheer lack of ancillary detail enables the viewer to focus on the figures themselves. Ter Brugghen possibly utilized the same model for both compositions, and they are similarly dressed. However, the bagpipes they play are different: the musician in the present painting plays an instrument with only two drones while the bagpipe in the Oxford picture has three. Both types, however, are accurate renderings of contemporary bagpipes, as is confirmed by illustrations of these instruments in such contemporary musical treatises as Michael Praetorius's Syntagma musicum of 1618.4 Ter Brugghen therefore took unusual yet characteristic care with these details.
It may also be significant for the present work that bagpipe players were a common subject of sixteenth-century Northern European art, especially in the graphic arts where they figure in engravings by Albrecht Dürer (B.91) and Lucas van Leyden (B.159). In painting, both Jan Massys and Pieter Breugel the Elder frequently depicted bagpipers in their various peasant scenes. The relationship of A Bagpipe Player in Profile to older Northern European artistic traditions is typical for ter Brugghen. Although his knowledge of paintings by Caravaggio encountered during his early sojourn in Rome always remained acute. The bagpipe player's garments in the present picture demonstrate this--it was continually tempered by his awareness of native Netherlandish and to a lesser extent, German achievements, particularly those of the sixteenth century.
All of these older works demonstrate the class status accorded to bagpipes, an instrument associated mainly with peasants, shepherds and even beggars. The subscript on a print published by Cornelis Danckerts, after a closely related painting by the venerable Utrecht painter and ter Brugghen's probable teacher, Abraham Bloemaert, makes it clear that this association continued well into the seventeenth century (Fig. 3). Indeed, the painting by Bloemaert reproduced in Dankerts's print, was strongly influenced by ter Brugghen's renditions of the subject, even if the former has changed the character of his musician's costume.
The relationship between the present picture and the bagpipe player in Oxford may in some respects be compared with ter Brugghen's versions of the Singing Lute Player in Lost Profile (Algiers, Musée National des Beaux-Arts d'Alger) and the Singing Lute Player (London, The National Gallery), executed about the same time, which also depict musicians in lost profile and nearly full face.5 It is uncertain, however, if any of these pictures were actually intended as pendants, although Benedict Nicolson proposed this for the two Lute Players.6 Given the differences in size, it is most unlikely that the Oxford painting was ever intended as a formal companion to the present Bagpipe Player in Profile. Indeed, the rediscovery, in 1986, of the artist's Pointing Lute Player (Fig. 4), likewise signed and dated 1624, a work complementing the present picture in size, date, meaning and compositional arrangement, virtually eliminates that possibility.7
Without doubt, therefore, A Bagpipe Player in Profile is the pendant to the Pointing Lute Player. The bagpipe, an instrument of the common man, acts as a perfect foil for the lute, the favored instrument of the courtly class. This point of view is supported by the contrast of costume types in the two pictures: the bagpipe player's toga-like attire can be best described as rustic antique while his lute-playing colleague dons more contemporaneous clothing, though not entirely so. The lute player laughs while pointing at his companion, who blows on the drone of his bagpipe. While the bearing of the present bagpipe player evokes a kind of nobility to the modern eye, seventeenth-century viewers would have regarded the pointing gesture of the Lute Player as one of mockery.8 Present-day beholders can very easily overlook this gesture's significance, and even more so, the significance of the musical instruments themselves. Ancient theories decisively influenced the ideologically freighted world of early modern music; consequently, instruments occupied conspicuous positions within a hierarchy heavily informed by notions of social caste and even gender. Stringed instruments, such as the one played by the mocking man, theoretically belonged to a loftier category associated with Pythagorean harmony whereas wind instruments, among them, the bagpipe, were deemed far less sophisticated.9
The present picture must have been especially appealing, judging from the two known contemporary copies of it. The first is in the collection of The Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation in Houston. The overly sharp contours and slick tonal transitions of that painting differ from ter Brugghen's usual manner of working, and especially from the more subtle execution and lively surfaces of the present work, suggesting it was executed in the master's workshop without his participation. The second copy, most interestingly, was painted under the Youth Playing a Violin in the Hascoe Collection; it was probably an autograph replica of the Cologne composition, which, for unknown reasons, was overpainted by the artist in 1626.10
Wayne Franits, Ph.D.
1. As transcribed in B. Gaetghens, Adrian van der Werff, Munich 1987, p. 96, footnote 40. Van der Werff's remarks were in response to the pejorative comments made by the artist/writer Sandrart, who- as a student of Gerrit van Honthorst— appears to have been attempting the elevation of his own master at the expense of his greatest and superior rival.
2. See L.J. Slatkes and W. Franits, The Paintings of Hendrick ter Brugghen,1588-1629, Catalogue Raisonné, Amsterdam/Philadelphia 2007, pp. 31-32, et al.
3. L.J. Slatkes and W. Franits, op. cit., no. A70.
4. See E. Winternitz, Musical Instruments and Their Symbolism in Western Art: Studies in Musical Iconology, 2nd ed., New Haven/London, 1979, p. 76, fig. 8.
5. Slatkes and Franits (as in note 1 above), nos. A63, A67.
6. B. Nicolson, Hendrick Terbrugghen, London 1958, p. 44.
7. Significantly, both canvases were in Berlin in 1938, the Pointing Lute Player was with the art dealer, Schönemann. See Slatkes and Franits op. cit, no. A72.
8. A. Blankert, "Heraclitus en Democritus; in het bijzonder in de Nederlands kunst van de zeventiende eeuw," Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 18 (1967), pp. 56-7.
9. For the bagpipe, see E. Winternitz, op. cit., pp. 66-85.
10. See Slatkes and Franits, op. cit., no. A76.
Sotheby's. Important Old Master Paintings, Including European Works of Art. 29 Jan 09. New York www.sothebys.com photo courtesy Sotheby's