Gerson Digital : Denmark


6.2 Morell’s Acquisitions in 1755-1759

The first surviving invoice of Morell, dating from 1755, concerns a few expensive still lifes by Melchior d‘Hondecoeter (300rd.), Joris van Son (300rd.), Dirk Valkenburg (400rd.) and Frans Snijders (200rd.), a naval battle by Ludolf Bakhuizen (800rd.) and a battle piece by Jan van Huchtenburg (300rd.), to which were added affordable landscapes by Nicolaes Molenaer (30rd.), Jacob van Ruisdael (90rd. each), Philipp Peter Roos (50rd. each).1 Of these works a Four Day Sea Battle between England and The Netherlands (1666 according to the acquisition list of 1674) [1], a Poultry at a country seat by Hondecoeter [2], a Flower and fruit wreath by Joris van Son (300rd.) [3-4] as well as a (northern) Landscape with waterfall by Ruisdael [5] can still be traced to the Copenhagen collection even today.2

Ludolf Bakhuizen
Battle of Texel, 21 August 1673, after 1673
canvas, oil paint 141,5 x 234,5 cm
lower right : L. Back.
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp543

Melchior d' Hondecoeter
A common crane, peacock, chickens and ducks in a formal garden
canvas, oil paint 154,3 x 183,5 cm
center : M.d'Hondecoeter
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp583

Joris van Son
Flowers and fruits around a niche, dated 166[.]
canvas, oil paint 166,5 x 120,3 cm
lower center : J. van. son. f166[.]
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp290

Joris van Son
Flowers and fruits around a niche, dated 1665
canvas, oil paint 170 x 121 cm
bottom left of the middle : J. van. son. f1665
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp289

Jacob van Ruisdael
Nordic mountain landscape with waterfall and cottage, first half of the 1660s
canvas, oil paint 140,2 x 118 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp570

Jacob van der Does (I)
Landscape with a shepheard and his flock, dated 1661
canvas, oil paint 72,5 x 83,5 cm
lower right :
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp518

An interesting aspect of this sale is that Morell clearly operated in the top price bracket. That was not to change until he entered Danish royal service. Accordingly, Johann Salomon Wahl had to pay an additional 1,855 rd. for the pictures purchased by Morell on 17 December 1756 (1755 3,000for 19 pictures), even though the works concerned were not spectacular ones.3 Thus, a Landscape with sheep by Simon van der Does (125rd.) [6] and a Sea Battle by Johannes Lingelbach (150rd.) [7] , as well as landscapes by Jan Wijnants (120 rd.) [8] and Herman van Swanevelt (75rd.) [9], were relatively expensive. A landscape by Alexander Keirincx (120rd.) [10] is still another case in point.

Johannes Lingelbach
Naval battle off the coast
canvas, oil paint 111 x 145,5 cm
lower right : J. LINGELBAC.
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp755

Jan Wijnants
canvas, oil paint 65,3 x 80,6 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp388

attributed to Herman van Swanevelt
Diana and her Nymphs resting near a mountain lake
canvas, oil paint 140,5 x 182,5 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS sp 488

Alexander Keirincx
A wooded landscape with a road a a drinking dear, dated 1630
panel, oil paint 89,5 x 122 cm
lower left : A. Keirincx fec A° 1630
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp375

Significantly broader and of better value are the acquisitions Morell made directly for the king in 1759.5 These purchases were connected to plans to erect a new gallery, and Morell’s comments offer a guarded indication of where he must have done his buying: namely in Amsterdam, at an auction of 17 April 1759, when, according to information supplied by a friend of his, the cabinet of the deceased Baroness van Lockhorst was to be sold. Presumably at issue here was the estate of Johanna Maria Witheijn (1686-1758), widow of Vincent Maximiliaan van Lockhorst [11], Lord of Ter Meer, Maarssen and Schonauwen (1665-1740), even though this is not mentioned in the surviving auction catalogue of the De Leth firm for that day.6

What did Morell purchase at the auction of 17 April 1759?7 He is only expressly mentioned as buyer on three occasions: in connection with a landscape by ‘Rainier van Brill’ (no.. 80 for 15fl.) as well as, in an appendix to the auction (18April 1759), with two landscapes by Albert Meijeringh (no. 14, together 16fl.) [12] and a large kitchen piece by Jordaens and Snijders (no. 2, 20fl.). The latter work crops up as number eight on the acquisition list for 1759. The other acquisitions that have been associated with Morell do not occur under his name on the list, although, as in other cases, Morell could have arrived at different attributions, so that a painting by Poussin or Salvator Rosa could go hidden behind landscape numbers six and seven of the list (see below).

Jan Maurits Quinkhard
Portrait of Vincent Maximiliaan Baron van Lockhorst (1665-1740), dated 1740
canvas, oil paint 49 x 41 cm
lower right : J M Quinkhard p[...] / 17[...]
The Hague, M.A.O.C. Gravin van Bylandt Stichting

Albert Meyering
Arcadian landscape, dated 1696
canvas, oil paint 112 x 149 cm
lower right : A. Meijeringh.fecit. Aº 1696
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp626

Upon closer examination of the auction catalogue, we notice further astonishing correspondences to Morell’s acquisitions of 1759, although either other or no buyers are mentioned in connection with the works in question. It starts with Jan Both’s Italian Landscape (no.17), which according to the notation in the auction catalogue went to art dealer De Winter for 385fl., and for which (assuming it is the same work) Morell billed the King 326rd. Morell probably bought the work after the De Winter auction. Apart from that, hand-written notes about buyers at auctions are not always correct. The Coral Manufacture purchased by Morell is almost certainly identical to no.30 (130fl.) of the auction, except that Van Loo is specified as the artist, whereas Morell presented the work to the King as a Caravaggio [13]. Other works at the auction which could correspond to items on Morell’s acquisition list on account of their subject matter, are Anthonie Beerstraten’s Winter landscape (no.107, 25fl.) [14] and Jacob van der Does’ Landscape with sheep (no.23) [6]. Astonishing, however, is the high price of 100 fl. that the latter picture fetched at the auction when compared to Morell’s specification of 20rd. However, The Storm by Bakhuizen (no.106) [15] and a landscape by Jan Hackaert (no.67) [16] may well have come from the Lockhorst auction. Much the same may be true for the pendant portraits, for which Morell identifies Michiel van Mierevelt whereas the Catalogue speaks off ‘manner of Slingeland’ [17-18]. At 20fl. 10, the price remains within the frame of Morellian norms of conversion. The ‘church interior’ Morell attributes to Hendrick van Steenwijck could correspond to the Emanuel de Witte (no. 24, 60fl.).

Jacob van Loo
The Italian glass and coral factory in Amsterdam (?)
canvas, oil paint 163 x 215 cm
lower left :
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp291

Anthonie Beerstraaten
Winter scene with the Luttekepoort of Harderwijk, dated 1664
canvas, oil paint 93 x 129 cm
lower left : ABeerstraaten 1664
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp492

Ludolf Bakhuizen
Ships at sea in a storm
canvas, oil paint 72 x 92 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp544

Jan Hackaert and Johannes Lingelbach
Italianate riverlandscape with traveling people on a road
canvas, oil paint 168 x 242 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMS sp 580

attributed to Michiel van Mierevelt or attributed to Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy
Portrait of a woman, dated 1621
panel, oil paint 122 x 87,5 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp348

attributed to Michiel van Mierevelt or attributed to Nicolaes Eliasz. Pickenoy
Portrait of a man, dated 1621
panel, oil paint 122 x 88 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp347

Given the current state of research, we are not able to identify a specific auction or collection for other important 1759 acquisitions by Morel, such as the still lifes by Frans Snijders [19] and Adriaen van Utrecht [20]. With Rubens‘ Christ on the Cross (now deemed to be a work from the artist’s workshop) [21], which at 150rtl is one of the more expensive paintings on the acquisitions list, we only know that a painting of this kind was sold on 23 May 1758 as part of the estate of the artist and collector Petrus Johannes Snijers (1696-1757).8 Morell must have bought it either at this auction or shortly thereafter. For a long time the most important acquisition of 1759 was thought to be Rembrandt’s Christ at Emmaus [22]. It is now believed to be a ‘satellite’ picture, being an independent painting by a student working in Rembrandt’s workshop – with reference to a ‘prototype’ (now in the Louvre) by the master.9 At 75 rd., it was purchased for the Danish King for a relatively modest price. Its provenance was long wrapped in obscurity. Nevertheless this picture appears as number 7 in a catalogue, preserved in Paris, of an Amsterdam auction (de Leth) of 5 July 1759. According to a handwritten entry it went for 115fl. to a merchant named De Weede, from whom Morell must have bought it.10

Frans Snijders or studio of Frans Snijders
Still life with fruit on a table, first half of the 1620s
canvas, oil paint 118,5 x 177,5 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp209

Adriaen van Utrecht
Fruit still life with birds and a squirrel, dated 1647
canvas, oil paint 114,6 x 171,5 cm
upper left : A driaen van utrecht / fe' an° 1647
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp250

attributed to Peter Paul Rubens or studio of Peter Paul Rubens and manner of Joos de Momper (II)
Christ on the Cross, 1592-1633
panel, oil paint 105,5 x 74 cm
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp186

studio of Rembrandt
The supper at Emmaus, 1648
canvas, oil paint 89,5 x 111,5 cm
lower right : Rembrandt f. 1648
Copenhagen, SMK - National Gallery of Denmark, inv./ KMSsp405


1 Ihro Königl. Majestet der König haben d. 31. Ocber 1755 von den H. Morel folgende Mahlerey auf die Königl. Kunstskammer gekauft; Ihro Königl. Majestet haben den 31. Ocber 1755 allergnädigst geliebet folgende Mahlereyen auf die Königl.  Kunstkammer zu geben (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen). The total of the individual prices had amouned to 3,570 rd. However, they agreed with Morell on the total amount of 3,000 rd.

2 On Joris van Son, see Koester 2000, pp. 238-240. The RKD sticks to the traditional title The Battle of Texel, 21 August 1673, following the auction catalogue of 16 September 1739 and later collection catalogues of the Statens Museum for Kunst (see RKDimages 33844)

3 Specification der schilderyen welge von Ihro Königl. Majestet dem Könige auf dero Kunst-kammer von Mons Morel den 20. Decbr. 1756 gekauft (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen).

4 Koester 2000, p. 150: ‘one of the most important of Keirincx’s landscapes from the years around 1630, the most characteristic period of his career’. ‘Rd.’ refers to rix-dollars, ‘fl.’ to florins’ and ‘st.’ to stuivers.

5 Verzeichniß der Mahlereyen welche an des benannte Ao 1759 vor Rechnung Ih. K. Maj. erkauft und anno 1760 Mese Febr. auf der Kunstkammer geliefert (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen).

6 I thank Marten Jan Bok (Amsterdam) for this reference.

7 Lugt no. 1046, auction Amsterdam (De Leth) 17-18 April 1759.

8 Koester 2000, pp. 204-205. Lugt no. 1008, auction Antwerp 23 May 1758: P.J. Snyers.

9 According to Van de Wetering 2006; see RKDimages 52817.

10 Lugt no. 1058, auction Amsterdam (De Leth) 5 July 1759.

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