Once again, Mireille Mosler Ltd. participates in ‘Master Drawings New York’, a weeklong event at 30 galleries on the Upper East Side. The works on paper exhibited at Mireille Mosler Ltd., spanning more than five centuries, are by a diverse group of artists from the Netherlands, exemplifying several stylistic periods.
The earliest drawing exhibited is a ‘Study of the Gery Tulip’ by Jacob Marrel (1614-1681) from 1638. Tulip mania started around 1634, culminating in 1637 when more than 10,000 guilders was offered for one Semper Augustus and single bulbs represented a vast capital investment. Artists were commissioned to draw the flowers, either as a pictorial reference for the bulb itself or for collectors to show off their priced possessions. A tulip drawing by the established still life painter Marrel surely confirmed the importance of ones pricey ownership. In 1642, Marrel executed his Codex, a book with originally 99 drawings of tulips, now in the Oak Spring Garden Library, a collection formed by Rachel Lambert Mellon, dedicated to the memory of tulip mania. In the present, smaller drawing on vellum, Marrel added the name, weight and price of the flower. The weight was measured in ‘Asen’, a measuring unit only used before in the gold trade. It weighed 619 Asen and was valued at 2,610 florins. The Gery, like many other seventeenth century tulip varieties, is now extinct.
Another emphasis is on a group of Dutch artists active around the turn of the nineteenth century when international movements developed different styles. The double portraits in pastel of Fritz Meyer (1847-1917) and his wife Nina by Jan Toorop (1858-1928) from 1909 are a testimony to this prominent Swiss art collector’s patronage of contemporary artists. Wealth accumulated through the tobacco trade allowed Meyer to develop a prominent art collection in the 1880s. Probably because of the tobacco trade, Meyer frequently visited the Netherlands, where he commissioned the present portraits from Toorop. Meyer supported living artists, like Ferdiand Hodler, he also owned five paintings by Vincent van Gogh, among them the Madame Augustine Roulin with Baby, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cypresses in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The White House at Night in the Hermitage and Mondriaan’s Boom A from 1913, now in the Tate in London. In 1916, Meyer’s substantial financial support to Theo van Doesburg allowed the latter to publish De Stijl, the journal propograting the movement’s theories. The double portraits on view remained in the family by descent until recently when they appeared on the art market.
Like his contemporary Vincent van Gogh, pastels by Jacobus van Looy (1855-1930) evoke the work of their French predecessors Millet and Delacroix. Five pastels with subjects ranging from A Harbor in Marseille, A Watercarrier in Tangiers to A Mower with a Scythe show the international influences so prominent at the time. Leo Gestel (1881-1941) depicted the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Belgians fleeing to the Dutch border at the outbreak of the First World War in 1914 in the pastel Two bikes in Front of an Inn.
Works are on view by the following artists: Willem van den Berg, Zacharias Blijhooft, Jan Bogaerts, Johannes Bronkhorst, Leo Gestel, Hendrik Haverman, Anthony Henstenburgh, Pieter Holsteyn, Isaac Israëls, Pieter de Josselin de Jong, Willem van Konijnenburg, Jacobus van Looy, Jacob Marrel, Paul Rink, Rembrandt & Ruth Marten (intervention), Willy Sluiter, Jan Sluijters, Nicolaas Struyk, Jan Toorop, Nicolaas van der Waay and others.