Lot 75. André Jerzy MNISZECH (Wischnowitz 1823 -1905 Paris). Portrait of Hendrick Clootens, cutter Panels in triptych 150 x 112 cm and 150 x 57 cm for the flaps Monogrammed on the main panel and dated 1887 and on the flaps 1888 This spectacular triptych, painted by Count Andrej-Jerzy Mniszech, a painter of Polish origin who settled in Paris in 1852, depicts a tailor and bootmaker named Hendrick Clootens. Proudly camped and richly dressed in the Dutch fashion of the 17th century, he occupies the central panel, surrounded on either side by the tools and attributes of his dual profession. On the back of the side panels, the two painted signs indicating his name and trade dominate a cityscape with smoking chimneys, symbols of the industrial and commercial development to which Hendrick industrial and commercial development to which Hendrick Clootens owed his prosperity. In 1883, five years before our triptych, Mniszech had painted a Portrait of Henryk Clootens (National Museum, Warsaw). The dedication on this portrait: Henricus Clootens civis Bruxellensis, sartor atque sutor celeberrimus, natus 1584 – obiit 1662, resurrexit 1839, ad vivum pinxit 1883, tells us that the model of our triptych was a famous bootmaker living in Brussels in the seventeenth century, and that the 1883 portrait depicts a descendant (or simple homonym?) who was probably also a bootmaker and contemporary of Mniszech.
The triptych shows Mniszech’s talent for capturing the personality of a model, whether real or imagined, as is the case here. Hendrick Clootens’ respectability is emphasized by a restricted range of colors on the garment and the background, while his joviality appears on the fully lit face, which also reveals the satisfaction of the tailor-bootman who has become notable. The presence of two still lifes on the side panels gives the portrait monumentality and dynamism. The sumptuousness of the fabrics, the intensity of the colors, the beauty and finesse of the details give a strong visual presence to this portrait full of energy and panache. The work is characteristic of Andrej-Jerzy Mniszech, a great admirer of 17th century Dutch portrait painters, especially Frans Hals. An original artist with a passion for costumes, settings and staging, Mniszech did not hesitate to dress his models in 17th-century Dutch or, later, Japanese fashion and to surround his compositions with decorative motifs. He used here the triptych, a format not usual in the 19th century (except for religious subjects) which allows him to for religious subjects), which allowed him to best express Hendrick Clootens’ personality and social status. Mniszech used this format several times, notably in the portrait of a goldsmith surrounded by his tools and objects of goldsmithery, a composition very similar to ours, which earned him a bronze medal at the Lwow exhibition in 1894. The history of this painting is not known, but it is not impossible that the commissioner was the young Henryk Clootens painted by Mniszech in 1883. Satisfied with his portrait, he would have commissioned a second, much more ambitious one from Mniszech, which would be a tribute to his illustrious predecessor and namesake. Provenance: In the family of painter André Mniszech from the beginning and by descent to the present owners. Estimate 8,000 – 12,000 euro. Millon. 04/21/23. Sold 15,000 euro