Famous Dutch artist painting in Bragg auction
Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 16th February, 2015
A painting by famous 17th century Dutch artist Aert van der Neer entitled Frozen Landscape with Skaters is among a comprehensive collection of English silver and other collectibles assembled after World War I in Germany and brought to Australia about 15 years ago to be auctioned from 11am Sunday February 22 by Christopher Bragg Auctions at 719 Whitehorse Road, Mont Albert.
A contemporary of Albert Cuyp and Meindert Hobbema, Van der Neer (1603-1677) was a leading landscape painter of the era, specialising in small night scenes lit only by moonlight and fires and snowy winter landscapes – both often looking down a canal or river.
The painting carries a certificate of authenticity dated 1949 from Professor Max Friedlander (1867-1958), the leading expert of his day on this period of Dutch art.
Much sought after by collectors, a van der Neer painting sold on January 19 at Sotheby’s London for £2,658,000 including buyers’ premium.
The vendor provenance is interesting because it was acquired by successful German industrialist Erich Ferdinand August Lubbert (1883-1963) – who had business dealings involved with building railways and the booming diamond industry in German South West Africa (now Namibia), South Africa and Germany from 1910 to 1924 – and divided his time between the two countries.
At a time of hyperinflation in Germany following World War I, Lubbert acquired a lot of tangible assets including a large estate northeast of Berlin named Sommerswalde and paintings such as the van der Neer.
When the Russians took control of the area at the end of World War II and ransacked the estate, Lubbert and his daughter Sigrid (one of nine children) fled to a flat in Hamburg where he gave her some of his paintings.
After the war, Sigrid married a British officer and moved to London. However, the marriage did not last long and she subsequently met a South African doctor Andreis Pienaar and returned to South Africa to marry him.
With his extensive involvement in the railroad and building industry, Lubbert formed a new company to help rebuild Germany after World War II.
Sigrid (now deceased) and Andreis moved to Australia about 15 years ago and, at 95 with failing eyesight, he has reached the stage where he now needs to live in an aged care facility.
The sterling silver, which dates from the 1860s, carries the crest of Storr and Mortimer (now Hunt and Roskell).
Paul Storr was the second best silversmith in England at the time behind Paul de Lamerie) and there are 14 pieces in the collection.
These include two massive serving trays, a spirit kettle, two sizes of tea and coffee pots, two milk jugs, sugar bowl, and four small dishes. Another sterling silver item is the canteen setting for 12 by Walker & Hall.
The collection also features an antique Indian Agra pictorial hunting carpet (3.4 metres by 2.4 metres) dated 1870-1880. Features include mounted horsemen and courtiers in lively costumes in a paradise game park, the doomed lovers Leyla and the poet Majnun, an elephant with howdah and a pair of phoenixes.
Among the furniture is a 17th century walnut Flemish cupboard and an 18th century walnut chest on a stand.