The Eighteenth-Century Gentleman Dealer Willem Lormier and the International Dispersal of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Paintings

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<ul><li><p>The Eighteenth-Century Gentleman Dealer Willem Lormier and the International Dispersal ofSeventeenth-Century Dutch PaintingsAuthor(s): Everhard Korthals AltesSource: Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, Vol. 28, No. 4 (2000 - 2001),pp. 251-311Published by: Stichting voor Nederlandse Kunsthistorische PublicatiesStable URL: .Accessed: 16/06/2014 23:19</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact</p><p> .</p><p>Stichting voor Nederlandse Kunsthistorische Publicaties is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art.</p><p> </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:19:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>251 </p><p>The eighteenth-century gentleman dealer Willem Lormier and the international dispersal of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings* </p><p>Everhard Korthals Altes </p><p>In I752, a catalogue was published describing the 376 paintings belonging to the art collector and dealer Willem Lormier (i682-I758). The 36-page booklet served as a guide for visitors to his collection. Among his treasures were works which are now in the finest muse- ums and private collections in the world, such as Gerard ter Borch's "Paternal admonition " (fig. i), A boy blowing bubbles by Frans van Mieris the Elder (fig. 2) and Rem- brandt's Holy Family with a curtain (fig. 3). </p><p>Two copies of the book are in the collection of auction catalogues in the Netherlands Institute for Art History (RKD) in The Hague.' What makes them so special is that they contain Lormier's handwritten records of the paintings he bought between roughly I737 and 1752 (figs. 4, 5). He noted down the names of his suppliers, the sales at which he bought works and the prices he had paid. In addition, the back of one of the catalogues con- tains his accounts for the period I748-58 (see Appendix A, figs. 39-43), from which it emerges that Lormier sold 6o of his best paintings in that decade, many of them to foreign buyers. He carefully recorded the names of the purchasers, the price they had paid and his profit on each transaction. </p><p>This exceptional source makes it possible not only to </p><p>I Gerard ter Borch, "The paternal admonition". Amsterdam, Rijks- museum </p><p>* An abridged version of this article was delivered as a paper at the symposium The shifting image of the Golden Age organized by the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam on 29 and 30 May 2000; see Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum 49 (2001), pp. 2-99. I am grateful to everyone who helped in the preparation of the article, and especially to Peter Hecht, adviser for my PhD research into the international dispersal of seven- teenth-century paintings from the Dutch Republic in the eighteenth century. The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research and the Research Institute for History and Culture of the University of Utrecht enabled me to make visit Germany and France. The article was translated from the Dutch by Michael Hoyle. </p><p>The following abbreviations have been used: HdG = C. Hofstede de Groot, Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis </p><p>der Werke der hervorragendsten hollandischen Maier des XVIL Jahrhun- derts, i0 vols., Esslingen &amp; Paris 1907-28. Lugt = F. Lugt, Repertoire des catalogues de ventes, 4 vols., The Hague I938-87. RKD = Netherlands Institute for Art History, The Hague. </p><p>I The annotated copy of the catalogue of Lormier's collection con- taining his accounts for I748-58 is on loan to the RKD from the Mau- ritshuis in The Hague. At the front of the book is an inscription by Hofstede de Groot stating that he bought the catalogue at the C. Telders sale in i89i and suspected that it had once belonged to Carel Vosmaer. The other annotated copy in the collection of the RKD can be consulted on microfiche (Lugt I307). </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:19:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>252 EVERHARD KORTHALS ALTES </p><p>I -I., </p><p>2 Frans van Mieris the Elder, A boy blowing bubbles. The Hague, Mauritshuis </p><p>3 Rembrandt, The Holy Family with a curtain. Kassel, Staatliche Kunstsamm- lungen, Gemaldegalerie Alte Meister, </p><p>Schloss Willemshohe </p><p>CATALOGUS VAN </p><p>SCHILDERYEN, van den Heer A G E N T </p><p>WI LL E M LO R I E R. ''- IN 'SGRAVENHA GE; </p><p>Waarop die zyn Cdehildert, D, betcekent op Doek. P. op Paneel. K.... p Koper. </p><p>2ydi alk grmiirn met de Rynlandfi miat ; . ~~~~~12 d t. USOl it </p><p>5Gefcbildert door Wiiem an 4laplJ. # lDeendc P~ wytas en ander bywik, brd 4 V. j g en drie *ietd d. , h. 2 V. I en drie viere </p><p>duim. D. Q. Haring, Brood, Ajuyn, Olver fcheakkan, glazen, O.4'... . Li- </p><p>br. av. 6d., h. iv.mtod. P. MAicbiel Angelo de la Bataille. </p><p>Ee Landfchap, op de voorgrond 8 &amp; I9 figuuren, - AL. _ en een Verkopiag van Druyven, br. 2 v. 5 d., h. </p><p>Flueele Breugel. dEen Undchap met beelden eynde de giot aa V4+ 0L * * O. </p><p>Eg pcbr. v. i eneen fd.,h aod i </p><p>4 The catalogue of Willem Lormier's paintings, with the purchase prices in pen, 752 The Hague, Netherlands Institute for Art His- </p><p>tory </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:19:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>The eighteenth-century gentleman dealer Willem Lormier 253 </p><p>ov.. i,.S Lme I~ j'.I il Mjboef e n boerhm ,b t </p><p>7.W,/.9 4fL~ gn </p><p>i. D </p><p>|~~~~~~~~~~ Fr Lil*iJ - s &gt;to 0 * | I ! S g g i l -U~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~-il, </p><p>.A Ms luAro , Ee mn me _| </p><p>1t1X|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E~a o- --1p </p><p>|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ .63 4~Af.,&gt;L __IJ </p><p>5 Page I 7 of Lormier' I 1752 catalogue, with the names of the sales and former owners on the left and the purchase prices on the right. The Hague, Netherlands Institute for Art History </p><p>form an idea of the dealings of an eighteenth-century art speculator but also tells us more about the way in which seventeenth-century paintings left the Dutch Republic. It is known that foreign collectors sent their agents and advisors to Holland to buy paintings at auction or pri- vately from collectors or dealers. However, because pri- vate sales are rarely documented, there is little specific information on how Dutch seventeenth-century paint- ings became dispersed throughout Europe. The re- markable aspect of Lormier's records, then, is that everything he bought and sold can be tracked fairly pre- cisely. The document also shows which paintings did well on the international market. Despite, or perhaps because of, the keen foreign interest in Dutch art, there </p><p>were still a considerable number of collectors in the Re- public around I750. Lormier's accounts also make it clear that paintings could be a very profitable invest- ment. </p><p>BACKGROUND AND REPUTATION Willem Lormier, whose ancestors came from the north of France, was born in The Hague in i682.2 He was the eldest son in a family of eight children, and followed in his father's profession of solliciteur militair, a not uncommon official in the eighteenth century, whose job was something like that of a banker. Solliciteurs administered the money of private individuals, which they supplied to army offi- cers to pay mercenary forces. The solliciteur's income </p><p>2 G.H.C. Breesnee, "De Haagse kunstverzamelaars Adriaan Leonard van Heeteren en Willem Lormier, en hun voorgeslacht," </p><p>Jaarboek Die Haghe I948-49, The Hague I949, pp. ii8-38, traces the genealogy of the van Heteren-Lormier family. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:19:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>254 EVERHARD KORTHALS ALTES </p><p>came from the interest the money earned.3 Lormier was particularly active in Flanders during the War of the Spanish Succession at the beginning of the eighteenth century, and may have established foreign contacts there which later stood him in good stead in his art busi- ness. In addition to his profession as solliciteur he was the Dutch agent of several foreign rulers, looking after the financial and commercial interests of those of Hesse- Darmstadt and Saxony-Meiningen.4 </p><p>Lormier married in 1707 and had a son, who died young in 1735. His wife died five years later. He remar- ried in 174i but died childless in 1758, at the age of 75, and was buried in the Kloosterkerk in The Hague.5 The Lormiers were closely related to the van Heteren family. Willem's sister Margaretha married Hendrik van Hete- ren (i627-I749), a councillor of The Hague, who was likewise a solliciteur militair as well as being the agent of the landgraves of Hesse-Kassel. Van Heteren was a great lover of paintings.6 He had 127 in his collection, most of which remained in the family after his death un- til they were bought by King Louis Napoleon in i809 for the Koninklijk Museum in Amsterdam, the forerun- ner of the Rijksmuseum. It is possible that Lormier's slightly older brother-in-law encouraged him to collect art.7 </p><p>Lormier's job must have been very lucrative, for he belonged to the higher income groups in The Hague. His wealth came from the profits he and his father made as solliciteurs and not from his later dealings in art. The surviving records of a tax levied in 1742, known as the Personele Quotisatie, make it possible to compare in- comes in the city.8 They show that Lormier earned the considerable sum of Dfl. 9,ooo a year. Other well- known local collectors were far richer. Govert van Slin- gelandt and Johan Hendrik van Wassenaer van Obdam,9 had estimated annual incomes of Dfl. 50,000 and Dfl. 30,000 respectively. Lormier's brother-in-law van He- teren earned around DMI. 8,ooo. The incomes of painter- dealers like Philip van Dijk, Jacques de Roore and Ge- rard Hoet were considerably lower at roughly DMI. 3,500, i,ooo and 700.'? </p><p>At the time of the 1742 Personele Quotisatie, Lormier owned two adjoining houses on the Lutherse Burgwal in The Hague, not far from the Grote Markt. " In order to accommodate his collection of some 400 paintings the walls must have been large and hung to the ceiling. In- terestingly, his catalogue lists the room in which each painting was to be found.'2 </p><p>Lormier inherited Dfl. 8o,ooo upon the death of his mother, Ida Blonck, in 1737, and it appears that he be- </p><p>3 For the office of solliciteur militair see 0. van Nimwegen, De sub- sistentie van het Staatse leger (diss.), Amsterdam 1995, p. 40. The I742 Personele Quotisatie for The Hague recorded 24 solliciteurs. Part of Lormier's business correspondence in this function can be found in the van Heteren family archive (Algemeen Rijksarchief, archiefnr. 3.20.24, inv. nr. I29). The Hague City Archives also has some of Lormier's business correspondence (Notarieel Archief 269I, p. 74). </p><p>4 See 0. Schutte, Repertorium der buitenlandse vertegenwoordigers, residerende in Nederland I584-i8io, The Hague i983, pp. 231-32, 239- 40. It is not known whether Lormier also bought paintings for these rulers. </p><p>5 Lormier's first wife was Cornelia van Thiel. After her death in I740 he married Henrica Cunera van Olden (I70i-85). </p><p>6 For Hendrik and his son Adriaan Leonard van Heteren see C. Bille, De tempel der kunst of bet kabinet van den beer Braamcamp, 2 vols., Amsterdam i96i, vol. I, pp. io8-i I; T.L.J. Verroen, "'Een verstandig ryk man': de achttiende-eeuwse verzamelaar Adriaan Leonard van Heteren," Leids Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 4 (i985), pp. 17-62. Adriaan Leonard van Heteren (1724-i800) married a daughter of Willem Lormier's brother. </p><p>7 See E. W. Moes and E. van Biema, De Nationale Konstgalery en het Koninklzjk Museum, Amsterdam i909, p. I92. According to them, Hendrik van Heteren bought his first painting on 6 April I729. Van Heteren's name also appears in the margin of the Schuylenburch auc- tion catalogue of 1735 (Lugt 453). He bought many of his paintings at sales where Lormier was also a successful bidder. His son Adriaan van </p><p>Heteren bought eight pictures from Lormier's collection after his death, all of which are now in the Rijksmuseum: Frans van Mieris, Tuning the lute (inv. nr. A 262), Paulus Potter, Orpheus charming the beasts (inv. nr. A 317), David Teniers, Guardroom (inv. nr. A 398), Philips Wouwerman, The stag hunt (inv. nr. A 480), Gabriel Metsu, Man and woman sharing a meal (Inv. nr. A 249), Melchior d'Honde- coeter, Two peacocks threatening a hen with chicks (inv. nr. A 174), Ge- rard ter Borch, "The paternal admonition" (inv. nr. A 404), Adriaen Brouwer, Peasant brawl (inv. nr. A 65; on loan to the Mauritshuis, The Hague). </p><p>8 See The Hague City Archives, Personele Quotisatie I742, 'S- Gravenhage. </p><p>9 For these Hague collectors see H.E. van Gelder, "Haagsche verzamelaars voor i900," Die Haghe. Jaarboek 1942, The Hague 1942, pp. 1-36; Bille, op. cit. (note 6), vol. I, pp. 107-15 and I4I; T. Wijsen- beek-Olthuis, Het Lange Voorhout: monumenten, mensen en macht, Zwolle i998, pp. 136-44. </p><p>I0 See The Hague City Archives, Personele Quotisatie I742, 's-Gravenhage. </p><p>ii See The Hague City Archives, Personele Quotisatie I742, 's-Gravenhage. </p><p>12 Cat. Lormier 1752 (Lugt 1307), with locations like "Oude Eed- saal" ("Old dining room"), "Witte Keuken" ("White kitchen"), and so on. There are also abbreviations like "O.K.W.M.", which probably stands for "Oude Kamer, West Muur" ("Old chamber, west wall"). </p><p>This content downloaded from on Mon, 16 Jun 2014 23:19:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p></p></li><li><p>The eighteenth-century gentleman dealer Willem Lormier 255 </p><p>gan collecting that year.'3 He may even have used his in- heritance to finance his collection of coins, medallions, semi-precious stones, and above all paintings.'4 In I752, the year his catalogue was published, he owned 376 of them, and he must have had even more, around 400, a few years before. It was one of the largest collections in the Republic. The Hague painter and artists' biographer Johan van Gool (i685-1763) said in his Nieuwe schouburg of I750 that it was the most famous in the whole of Holland.'5 Lormier's accounts show that he spent a total of more than Dfl. i io,ooo on his pictures, but in the last ten years of his life he also began selling. All his further purchases were of lesser quality. In 1763, five years after his death, the 362 paintings remaining in h...</p></li></ul>


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