Saturday, 19 June 2010

A story of a painting

Last month I came across this painting at Ebay.



The description said ( I hope the seller allows me to post this here):

ANTIQUE PORTRAIT OF A WOMAN IN HER FINEST JEWELS OIL PAINTING
THIS IS JUST AN INCREDIBLY WELL DONE PORTRAIT. THE FACE IS JUST SO OUTSTANDING. WHAT I PARTICULARLY NOTICED ABOUT THIS WORK IS WHEN YOU CHECK THE EDGES OF THE CANVAS, YOU NOTICE THAT THE ARTIST FIRST PAINTED THE CANVAS WITH THE COLOR OF THE FACE AND THEN WORKED OVER THAT AND COVERED IT AS HE WORKED OUT FROM THE CENTER. THE FACE IS REALLY A SUPERIOR JOB. IT IS ALMOST PHOTOGRAPH LIKE-- SHE ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE A PORCELAIN DOLL. SHE IS WEARING A WONDERFUL NECKLACE AND TIARA-- I DONT KNOW IF SHE IS SOME SORT OF ROYALTY OR JUST THAT WAS HOW THE ARTIST PAINTED HER. SHE IS IN A FORMAL DRESS FROM THE LATER 19TH CENTURY. OIL ON CANVAS MEASURING 19 1/4 X 15 3/4 INCHES. CONDITION IS REALLY GOOD WITH SOME MINOR CRAQUELERE TO HER HAIR AND A LITTLE BIT MORE ON OTHER SMALL PARTS. MINOR SCUFFS WITHIN THE BROWN PAINTED BORDER BUT ALL IN ALL A GREAT 19TH CENTURY PORTRAIT. UNFRAMED.
As I saw the face, I inmediately thought, this is the young queen Wilhelmina!!, the mother of queen Juliana and the grandmother of queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. She became queen in 1898 and I recognised the face from coins that were still being used when I was a child! (Juliana became queen in 1948). The painting was located in the USA and it wasn't signed. So how could I be sure it was her???

I loved that painting and would love to buy it, but the starting bid was 200 dollars, plus another 42 dollars shipping and I would have to pay 17% customs on that as well. I would have to borrow that somewhere and I wanted to be sure. So I wrote the Dutch museum Van Buren, the museum of the Royal Dutch family.

I got an email back with one sentence, "yes, it is her, a young queen Wilhelmina to be". Got that mail a day after the auction closed. It was sold to unknown for 202 dollars.


Sigh. Forever sorry I didn't buy this.

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