Philips Wouwerman - A battle between cavalry and infantry
A battle between cavalry and infantry
Oil on canvas (relined). 102 x 145 cm.
Monogrammed lower right: PHL (conjoined) W.
Since the Netherlands experienced basically nothing but peace - except on the seas - until 1672, battle paintings like the one by Phipps Wouwerman offered here were a genre that bore absolutely no connection to the real events happening at the time. Like other genres of painting, battle paintings were primarily collector's items in which the artists could prove their talent.
Thus, Wouwerman's skirmishes and battles do not depict actual historical events or persons, but are simply meant as decorative military motifs. They are not intended to show any specific, fateful battle or even the great deeds of military leaders intended to be honoured or handed down to posterity.
Birgit Schumacher dates the present work to around 1665.
Possibly A. van Lennep;
His sale, Amsterdam, 24 July 1792, lot 1 (to Gildemeester);
Possibly Jan Jansz. Gildemeester, Amsterdam;
His sale, Amsterdam, 11 June 1800, lot 265 (to Roos);
Cardinal Fesch, Rome, 1845;
His sale, Rome, 17 March 1845, lot 255 (to Farrer);
With W.D. Farrer, London;
By whom sold to the Earl of Ellesmere in 1848;
By descent to Francis Egerton, 1st Earl of Ellesmere, Bridgewater House, London;
By descent to John Francis Egerton, 5th Earl of Ellesmere and 6th Duke of Sutherland, Bridgewater House, London in 1907;
His sale, Christie’s, London, 18 October 1946, lot 176 (to Singer);
With J. Singer, London, 1947;
Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, 8 July 1981, lot 94;
Private collection, New York;
Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 17 January 1985, lot 107;
With Heide Hübner, Würzburg and P. & D. Colnaghi, London, 1985-1986.
John Smith: A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French painters, vol. I, London 1829, p. 264, no. 223;
Bridgewater House catalogue, London 1851, p. 40, no. 241;
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot: A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, vol. II, London 1909, p. 499, no. 772 and pp. 501-502, no. 775c;
Birgit Schumacher: Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668). The Horse Painter of the Golden Age, Doornspijk 2006, vol. 1, p. 274, no. A260, reproduced vol. 2, plate 242.
Art Treasures of the United Kingdom, Manchester, Museum of Ornamental Art, 5 May - 17 October 1857, no. 989.