quarta-feira, 22 de agosto de 2012


signed lower centre: F. POST.
oil on panel
28.2 by 41.9 cm.; 11 1/8 by 16 1/2 in.
Old Master and British Paintings Evening Sale
London | 06 Jul 2011, 07:00 PM | L11033
LOT 30
HAARLEM CIRCA 1612 - 1680
ESTIMATE 400,000-600,000 GBP
Lot Sold: 623,650 GBP
In the collection of the family (Portugal) of the present owner for at least four generations.
As far as is known, Post painted nothing other than views or capriccio views of Brazil, the country where he spent seven remarkable years between 1637 and 1644 with the Dutch colonists under Prince Maurits. While only seven paintings (and some drawings) survive from his time in Brazil, from what was a much larger body of work, during the remaining 36 years of his life back in the Netherlands he drew on his recollections from his Brazilian sojourn, evoking for his clientele a sometimes literal (from drawings) but more often partly imagined view of a distant land that must have seemed as alien to them as it did to Post on his disembarkation there in 1637.
Post continued to provide such works for an avid collecting public until the final year of his life and this painting, which came to light only at the end of 2010, has been dated by Pedro Corrêa do Lago to the beginning of the so-called 'fourth phase' of Post's production, circa 1670. It retains much of the brilliance more usually associated with Post's 'third phase' (1661-1669), such as the beautifully observed vine creeping over the rocks in the foreground and the wonderful array of well-crafted natives and Europeans making their way to the church. In terms of composition, execution and technique the work is perhaps best compared with two other views of the marshy plains (called varzea ), one dated 1664, the other 1665. (1) With the 1664 dated work in the John and Mable Ringling Museum, Florida, it shares both a composition built along remarkably similar lines and similar foreground detailing. This compositional type is one oft-repeated in Post's works of the 1660s and 1670s creating as it did a wonderful sense of depth, the eye being led down from the higher ground, dominated by the heavy shades of closely observed flora, to the lighter tones of the distant village and lower marshes.
The do Lagos see the Ringling panel as foreshadowing the painter's style in his fourth phase and compare it to the Landscape with a Sugar Mill in National Museum in Rio de Janeiro which they date to the early 1670s. (2) With the present work Post seems to have taken much greater care than with this latter however, the detailing of the foreground flora and staffage in particular harking back more obviously to the works of the mid-1660s such as the afore-mentioned 1665 dated Varzea landscape. Such discrepancies in the quality of Post's work from one year to another are not uncommon throughout his oeuvre; 1664, when he painted the Ringling work, was a fateful year in the artist's personal life and the likely cause of the artist's gradual decline, but by 1665 when he painted the other version he was clearly back to his best. The present work is amongst the more accomplished panels from circa 1670, comparing favourably with, for example, the landscapes in the London National Gallery and a private collection in Brasilia, two of the best works from the 'fourth phase'. (3) The inspiration of the chapel façade may well be the Franciscan convent of Saint Anthony in Igaraçu that Post painted on several occasions, most prominently in the painting now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, Madrid. Sousa- Leao attributed the design of the similar chapel in one of the Instituto Ricardo Brennad works (both of which portray a chapel of remarkably similar design to that in this painting) to Post's imagination and knowledge of architecture but the fact that the basic design appears in no fewer than (now) seven works, each with only minor differences in the detailing, would suggest that the inspiration is something more 'concrete', probably a since lost topographical drawing
from his time in Brazil. (4) The tonality of the sky is common to Posts from the mid-1660s onwards and it seems probable that the appearance of the sky now is close to its original intention; amongst numerous examples manifesting the seemingly afternoon hues present here are the 1664-dated Ringling view and, into the fourth phase where the effect is more common, the Ruins of Olinda cathedral (Fundaçao Maria Luisa e Oscar Americano, Sao Paolo), (5) and paintings in private collections in Brasilia and Sao Paolo; (6) however there may be some degree of smalt degradation in all of these works. The panel here is bevelled on the lower and right hand edges (as viewed from the reverse), which is typical of panels from Post's mature period. It seems likely that he commonly cut four smaller panels out of one larger.
Following first hand inspection, the attribution has been fully endorsed by Pedro Corrêa do Lago and Frits Duparc.
The painting will be included in the Corrêa do Lagos forthcoming English language edition of the addendum to their
2007 catalogue.
1. See. P. & B. Corrêa do Lago, Frans Post, Brazil 2007, pp. 238-9, nos. 75 and 76.
2. Ibid, p. 303, no. 122.
3. Ibid., pp. 306-7, nos. 125, 126.
4. The main difference between the present work and the other six is the inclusion here of a rectangular grated window beneath the apex of the roof, where all the others depict a circular window. The other six also include a crossbeam immediately below the window. For the six see Correa do Lago, pp. 226-7, no. 65 (Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Caracas); pp. 304-305, nos. 123 & 124 (two in the Instituto Ricardo Brennand, Recife); p. 306, no. 125 (National Gallery of London); p. 307, no. 126 (Private collection, Brasilia); p. 327, no. 146 (private collection, Sao
5. Ibid., no. 120.
6. Ibid., nos. 126 and 146.

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