Thursday, 28 September 2017

"German" trompe-l'oeil is by Dutch or Flemish artist N. P. Libberworst

Auxerre enchères, from France, sells on 1 October 2017 an "18th century German school" trompe-l'oeil, estimated at 150 to 200 Euro.

I always love this type of paintings, so I took a closer look. It is awell-painted but somewhat damaged example, with a central panel reminiscent of David Teniers (and on its own better than many "style of Teniers" works which go for 400 or 500 Euro).

The auction house kindly shows a close-up of the text in the lower right corner, which make sit possible to decipher and translate it. The text is in Dutch, not in German.

"Ich onderschreven bekent(?) ontfangen
te hebben van Sr. P. Lebberworst de somme
van dertig gulden handgeld. Dit Lever(?)
van groote partie tweedousand actien (???)
in winder(?) Bergen desen 16 janrij 176?
£30 [diagonally left bottom]
L. De Gruttere"

I, the signee, declare to have received
from Signor P. Lebberworst the sum
of 30 guilders cash money. This deliver
of large group two thousand eighteen
in windy Bergen this 16 january 176x
30 Guilders
L .De Gruttere

A grutter is a grocer, but also a small-minded person. Libberworst may mean Liverwurst.

An artist called N. P. Libberworst has produced a trompe-l'oeil sold at Sotheby's in 2001 for £1,440. The description was "Trompe l'oeil of a picture of a Dutch tavern interior, together with playing cards and a letter, pinned to a wooden wall", and the dimensions were 42 by 47. The dimensions of this one are 43 by 50, so I wonder whether this is the same work or a very similar one. 

In any case; the current estimate is very low.

UPDATE: sold for  1,950 Euro or ten times the upper estimate!

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