To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale 11-14 June 2019
Lot 815. Daniel Seghers (Flanders 1590‑1661). A Trompe l’oeil: Flowers decorating a sculpted stone niche surrounded with a cartouche with a sculpture of the Madonna and Child. Signed D. Seghers Soctis Jesu. Oil on copper, 83 x 60 cm.
Recorded in the inventories at Österby H.W. Peill II inventory from 1798 as ”Ett Blomster Stycke af Pater Segehrs” and in the Österby inventory from 1878 as ”Dan. Seghers: Stenmonument med donna, omgifven af blommor”.
500.000 – 700.000 SEK
€ 47.000 – 66.000
Henrik Wilhelm Peill (1730-1797) and Anna Johanna Grill (1745-1801) at Österby,
Österbybruks manor, Films socken, Uppland.
Pehr Adolph Tamm (1774-1856), Österbybruks manor, Films socken, Uppland.
Hugo Tamm (1840‑1907), Fånöö, Löts Socken, Uppland.
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Red. Albin Roosval, Svenska Slott och Herresäten vid 1900-talets början, Uppland, 1923, p. 106 and illustrated in photo from Fånöö p. 106.
Olof Granberg, Svenska konstsamlingarnas historia, från Gustav Vasas tid till våra dagar, vol. II, 1930, p. 130 and p. 132 with note: “I Stockholmspost. 1791 så beskr. av L. v. Breda: ‘Blomsterstycke. I ornerad stennich Maria stående med barnet på armen’; nu på Fånö”.
Claës Tamm, Österbysamlingen, 2008, cat. no. 10, p. 76 and illustrated p. 77 and p. 48.
The painting depicting flowers decorating a sculpted cartouche with a sculpture of the Madonna and Child is a beautiful example of the oeuvre of Daniel Seghers and strikes by its superb painterly quality and its mint condition. The painting has been part of the famous Österby collection since at least the late 18th century and has not been offered on the market ever since.
Painted on a beautiful large sheet of copper, the painting shows Daniel Seghers’ important pictorial invention of the sculpted cartouche decorated with flowers, for which he became famous, and of which other notable examples are in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm, inventory number NM1393, formerly in the Brahe collection (oil on copper, 86 x 60 cm; M.L Hairs, Les Peintres Flamands de Fleurs au XVIIe Siecle, 1985, p. 43, with ill.), Gemäldegalerie Dresden, inventory number 1205, formerly in the Wallenstein collection (oil on copper, 85 x 61 cm; J.P. de Bruyn, Erasmus II Quellinus (1607-1678): de schilderijen met catalogue raisonné, 1988, no. 165) and the Herzog Aton Ulrich Museum, Brauwnscheig (oil on copper, 85 x 62 cm; M.L. Hairs, op.cit. p. 42). In all these paintings Seghers cooperated with his Antwerp colleague Jan Erasmus Quellinus, who was responsible for the sculptures at the niches. After all Quellinus’ father was a sculptor.
While the garland of flowers as a pictorial motif had been the invention of Jan Brueghel I, Segher’s decorated cartouches demonstrate a less static approach to the use of flowers around a devotional image. In the present painting just four swags of flowers have been attached to the cartouche, each flower beautifully painted and lit, as if a procession had just left them after passing. Seghers has depicted a variety of flowers such as pink roses, two-coloured tulips, carnations, hyacinths and other flowers all linked together by ivy, and he manages to render the essence of each individual flower. Striking is that Seghers never renders his flowers on the top of blossoming but rather fresh and young. His focus is not on the approaching decay of the flowers but on the creation of a realistic illusion by purity of form and color, thereby revitalizing the culture of prayer at a statue of before Iconoclasm.
Daniel Seghers was born in Antwerp in 1590 and is recorded as a pupil of Jan Brueghel I in 1611. In 1614 he entered the Jesuit College in Malines and placed his final vows as a Jesuit in Antwerp in 1625. In all Jesuit records he is described as painter and was obviously allowed to make a career. Besides a trip to Rome in 1625/7, he lived and worked in Antwerp. Nobility and royalty, such as Queen Christina in 1649 who actively acquired his paintings, visited him. The paintings were often presented as gifts by the Jesuit order to dignitaries and used for adornment, as they would have symbolic and meditational elements. Next to the signature is the suffix Soctis Jesu indicating the painter’s membership to the Society of Jesus.
In the hallway on the upper floor at Fånöö castle in Uppland, Sweden, the magnificent and large oil on copper with groups of flowers surrounding a niche with the Madonna and child signed by Daniel Seghers is seen in a black and white photography from 1923. The painting by the Flemish master Seghers had been inherited by Hugo Tamm (1840-1907) when the prominent art collection at Österby was divided in 1878.
The foundation of the Österby collection was formed in the late 18th century by the merchant and ironmaster Henrik Wilhelm Peill (1730-1797) and his wife Anna Johanna Grill (1745-1801), who resided in the manor of Österbybruk in Uppland. As the protégé of Count Carl Gustaf Tessin, Henrik Wilhelm Peill came to Paris in the 1760’s during his educational tour in Europe where he met the well-known portrait painter Alexander Roslin and his wife Marie Suzanne Giroust. Peill, who on his mother’s side was related to the family of artist Martin Mijtens, became a close friend to Roslin. When he returned home he married Anna Johanna Grill, daughter of the late director of the Swedish East India Company, Claes Grill the Elder. Österbybruk was situated in an area rich in iron and the wealthy owners of the prosperous mining could build large fortunes and surround themselves with fine art.
The nephew of Anna Johanna Grill, the ironmaster Baron Pehr Adolph Tamm (1774-1856), inherited Österby including the fine art collection, which he managed and developed. The collection included works by Dutch and Flemish masters such as Hans Memling, David Teniers, Jan Cossiers, Hans Jordaens and Ruysdael as well as portraits by the ancestor Martin Mijtens. The collection also included the almost iconic portrait of Alexander Roslin’s wife called “The Lady with the Veil”, today in the collections of Nationalmuseum in Stockholm. In 1878 the collection was divided into three different parts, each designated to the three heirs of Pehr Adolph Tamm. Part number three, including the Seghers painting, was inherited by the ironmaster Hugo Tamm, the only son of Pehr Adolph Tamm’s youngest son Sebastian.
The Daniel Seghers painting is recorded in an inventory of the collection at Österby made in 1798 (inventory Peill 2) just after the decease of Henrik Wilhelm Peill. The painting was described as “Ett Blomster Stycke af Pater Segehrs” (A flower painting by Pater Seghers) and was considered one of the eight most valuable paintings in the collection at the time. The painting in this sale does not only have a wonderful provenance, but it is also a fine example of one of these flower garland paintings with decorated cartouches that Seghers is best known and recognized for today.