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Balthasar Denner
18th century portrait of the artist’s daughter, Catharina, playing the cello

c.1730

US$32,652.63

About

The sitter, seated in a yellow silk gown trimmed with a pink bow playing the cello, is believed to be the artist Balthazar Denner's eldest daughter Catharina (1715-1744), after his marriage to Esther Winter in Hamburg in 1712. She is also recognisable in another portrait of the Denner family in the Hamburg Kunsthalle, painted circa 1740 by the artist's son, Jacob Denner (1722-1765). Oil on canvas in a period giltwood frame. Provenance: Private collection, Northern Germany Professor Helmut Borsch-Supan, Berlin, confirmed the authenticity of the painting after examining it in 2013. The painting will also be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonnée of the artist, by Ute Mannhardt. Balthasar Denner was born in Hamburg which was at that time part of Denmark. He began as a painter of portrait miniatures and his eye for detail continued into his larger scale portrait paintings which were greatly admired for their meticulous accuracy and made him highly sought after. Denner is recorded as being at the Prussian Academy of Arts in Berlin in 1707 before going to work at the Copenhagen court in 1712. This began his travels around the European courts, including London, Dresden, Berlin, Kiel and Amsterdam. After four years in Amsterdam from 1736 to 1740, he settled in Rostock where he died in 1749. Denner loved music and it is said that he had his children, who were talented musicians, play for him while his sitters posed for their portraits. As well as the royals and nobles of Europe, his sitters included Georg Friedrich Handel, painted in 1726 (National Porttrait Gallery London) and in 1733 (Berlin, Deutsch Historiches) and Johann Sebastian Bach with his three sons (1733, private collection). Denner depicted his own family playing music in a painting probably painted in London in 1728 before his departure for Germany (now in the Copenhagen Museum).

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