notes, finds & fragments of research
Sotheby’s, Old Master and British Paintings Day Sale,
London 8 December 2011,
Lot 226 (estimation: 6,000-8,000 GBP)
How awful, when you see a portrait like the one above, and the description is nothing more than ‘Portrait of a Young Man’. I post this portrait because it was painted by Hendrick Berckman, a painter known for having depicted many of the Dutch merchants, regents and other social climbers of the 17th Century. Chances are high, that I may probably count this proud young man in his twenties (or thirties?) amongst the many people in my research databases of the Dutch Elite; but … will I ever find the name that belongs to his face? It is not very likely at this point, and it pains me. There is no coat of arms, no sign hinting to his identity – merely the rich cloth of his apparel, the gloves in his right hand and the fact that he looks like most 17th Century men. He’s Dutch, it’s not written in stone unfortunately but, by means of studying the other work painted by Berckman, it is something I do dare to say at this point. The only thing that could save him from this eternity in the lingering shades of anonymity is the provenance, but even then – a family name could be an option but a full certainty it will never be.
Oh – how – awful!
And he just looks like the man who would have thoroughly hated it to end up being unknown.