Henri Goovaerts

Virgin with Child (copy after Murillo)

Virgin with Child (copy after Murillo)
Dating circa November 1893
Material / technique oil on canvas
Dimensions 67 x 70 cm
Literature Tussen Kunst en Kitsch, television broadcast October 11, 2017, 21'24" - 22'54" [https://www.avrotros.nl/tussen-kunst-en-kitsch/gemist/detail/item/tussen-kunst-en-kitsch-kasteel-groeneveld-11-10-2017/]
Exhibitions Amsteram 1894 (April 30 - May 7), Rijksacademie, exhibition of works made during the study trip in 1893 Maastricht 1894 (November 25 - December 9), 'Goovaerts', cat. no. 61
Provenance Private property Germany 2016 bequest by private owner in Germany to private owner in Limburg, the Netherlands 2016 purchase from private owner in Limburg, the Netherlands by art dealer at Marktplaats.nl 2016 purchase from art dealer at Marktplaats.nl by private owner in Utrecht, the Netherlands 2020 (December, 13) purchase from private owner in Utrecht, the Netherlands by present owner through auction at Catawiki.nl
Current residence Private property Rome, Italy
Signature b.r. in paint: H GOOVAERTS
Headings b. in paint: COPIE [..] MURILLO SEVILLA
Remarks ‘Virgin and Child’ by Bartolomé Murillo is one of the highlights of the Museum of Fine Arts in Seville. In the autumn of 1893 Henri Goovaerts stayed in Seville for a while. Three years earlier he had won the Prix de Rome, a contest organized by the Dutch State Academy of Fine Arts in Amsterdam. The prize consisted of a five year study trip through Italy and Spain. During this trip Goovaerts was distantly supervised by his teachers at the State Academy. Goovaerts had to send the work that he made way to Amsterdam, where it was viewed by his teachers after which their assessment was returned by post to Goovaerts at a general delivery address. Most correspondence took place with Professor August Allebé. An important part of the study was to copy the masterpieces of art history that can be found in the major museums including those in Rome, Florence and Madrid. The estate of Goovaerts contains a considerable number of letters from Allebé in which he offered Goovaerts advice in matters such as the choice of the paintings to copy and his visual approach of the paintings. Sometimes the tone of those letters is severe. Then Goovaerts has apparently failed to comply with certain rules or his communication wasn’t satisfying, as a result of which Allebé lacked information about the whereabouts of Goovaerts. For example, in a somewhat desperate letter of October 28, 1893 Allebé wrote to him: ‘Again the secretary of the Commission for Supervision and I wait for a message from you, even your address is unknown to us, which again is not consistent with your instruction, of which you must have brought the original with you at your journey. [...] It's really a pity that we do not know your address; I hope that disease is not the cause of it. This letter has no other purpose than to request a specification of where you are as soon as possible; I send it for luck to Seville but I think that you left that place already for a long time to go south. [...] Perhaps this letter will be forwarded; but I have little confidence in the accuracy of the post offices in Spain. Always give time and location as precisely as possible, and also read instruction Art. 3 in which there is question of a copy in Seville.’ Goovaerts received this letter when he was still in Seville. Very likely this ‘Virgin and Child’ is the copy that Henri Goovaerts made in accordance with Article 3 of the instruction mentioned by Allebé.
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