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A pair of high-quality baroque paintings - Signed Franz Christoph Janneck (Graz 1703-1761 Vienna)

Oil on copper.

In a festive atmosphere, a gallant, courtly company amuses herself on the terrace of a magnificent palace to music, dance and conversation over a lavish feast. On large-format murals in the background of the colorful scenery, mythological depictions of the hunting goddess Diana and the sun god Apollo reflect the demanding lifestyle of the characters and tell as allegories the dream of eternal beauty and youth, of seduction and love, but also of the burden of social expectations and moral demands.

In their brilliant colors and the excellent quality of the painting, these two counterparts are typical examples of baroque art in Austria. Alongside Johann Georg Platzer (1704-1761), Janneck is rightly considered the most important artist at the Vienna Academy. In his characteristic combination of Dutch and French ideals, he succeeded in excellent implementation of the unique, baroque attitude towards life of the noble society in the 18th century. The pair of paintings was exhibited in the Residenzgalerie Salzburg in 1996 and published in the exhibition catalog (cat. no. 4 and 5).

Height 40 cm, width 52 cm.

Juffinger, “Reich mir die Hand, mein Leben. Einladung zu einem barocken Fest“ with pictures by Johann Georg Platzer and Franz Christoph Janneck, Salzburg 1996, p. 100-104.

Pucher, Franz Christoph Janneck 1703-1761, dissertation, Graz 1996, p. 196-197, cat. no. 109 and 110.

The Adoration of the Magi

The Adoration of the Magi



Panel painting, oil on wood, cradling on the reverse

Height: 109 cm, width: 70.5 cm


Provenance: private collection, Southern Germany

Literature: Max J. Friedländer: Die Antwerpener Manieristen von 1520. In:  Jahrbuch der königlich preußischen Kunstsammlungen 36 (1915), pp. 65–91.

See the publications of the exhibition ExtravagAnt! A forgotten Chapter of Antwerp Painting 1500-1530, Koninklijk Museum vor Schone Kunsten Antwerp, 15 October – 31 December 2005, Antwerp 2005. URL:



The painting of the Adoration of the Magi was created around 1520 by a painter from the group of the so-called Antwerp Mannerists.

The scene is set in the ruins of a richly decorated temple, which offers a view of a city with a surrounding mountainous landscape in the background. In the centre sits Mary, with brown hair and a dark blue cloak. The Infant Jesus on her lap seems touchingly small and delicate. Joseph, with grey hair and beard, is standing behind the two of them, obviously absorbed in conversation with one of the companions of the Wise Men. The holy kings, who present their gifts in filigree decorated gold vessels, symbolize both the three continents known at that time and the three ages of men. The king kneeling to the right in front of mother and child stands for Europe and the old age, the king placed on the left, with turban and an orientally dressed servant in the background, represents Asia and the middle age, while the black king at the right side embodies Africa and youth.

The term Antwerp Mannerists, introduced by the art historian Max J. Friedländer, covers a number of artists from the first third of the 16th century who practiced an extremely decorative and detailed style, which was not, however, influenced by the Italian Mannerism of the time, but had developed from the late Gothic traditions of early Netherlandish painting, which is characterised by its attention to detail, up to the quasi-photorealistic reproduction of surface structures and landscapes.

The great success of Antwerp Mannerism was closely linked to the rise of Antwerp to one of the most flourishing commercial centres in Europe. Around 1500, the city was a central hub of international trade. This also fuelled the art market and offered ideal conditions for painters who created their altars and panel paintings specifically for export.

The theme of the Adoration of the Kings was particularly suitable for this, as it was very popular and in demand throughout Europe. The depiction of the three wise men opened up a multitude of creative possibilities, starting with the imaginative design of exotic garments, which wrapped the figures in extravagant drapery, to the splendid gifts, to the fantastic architecture, which combined Gothic and Renaissance motifs in eclectic splendour.

The style of these compositions is ornate and extravagant, naturalistic reproduction or even realism took a back seat in favour of the decorative effect. Antwerp Mannerism created representative and highly modern showpieces of the period between 1500 and 1530 - a "fashion statement", so to speak, of this turbulent epoch of transition from late Gothic to Renaissance.

The painterly execution is technically virtuoso. The Antwerp Mannerists paid more attention to the meticulous depiction of a variety of details, some of them densely packed, than to the monumental overall effect of their pictorial compositions. This was and is the secret of the paintings' success: they offer the viewer the opportunity to immerse him or herself in an abundance of interesting supporting scenes and to discover numerous surprising subtleties.

The painting presented here is an excellent example of the artistic skill, precision and inventiveness of the Antwerp Mannerists, who did not sign their paintings and therefore, with few exceptions, are to this day not known by name.



Classicist pair of chests of drawers - Leipzig - Friedrich Gottlob Hoffmann - around 1780

Mahogany, bog oak, maple veneer, key plates in bone and original, gold-plated fittings with elaborately enamelled badges.

That the Leipzig workshop of Friedrich Gottlob Hoffmann was rightly regarded as an important center of furniture production in his time is shown by this pair of chests of drawers, which is simple only at first glance. Elaborate and unusual details complete the selected veneer pattern of the three-drawer chests of drawers: the corner legs that merge into pilaster strips with veneered fluting, the finely inlaid bands on the edges of the furniture and the elegant fittings corresponded to the exquisite taste of court clients towards the end of the 18th century. Century.

Hoffmann (1741-1806) was the first cabinet maker to have an illustrated directory of the pieces of furniture that could be ordered at his workshop printed and distributed at the Leipzig trade fair in 1789. Depending on the client’s taste, the designs could be varied in terms of veneer and finish, and despite ordering from the catalog, representative individual pieces were created for the nobility and the wealthy middle class. Wonderful furniture by Hoffmann has been preserved in the castles in Wörtlitz and Weimar, among other places.

Height 77 cm, width 68 cm, depth 45 cm.

M. Sulzbacher et al., Friedrich Gottlob Hoffmann (on the occasion of the exhibition “Most Noble Carpentry Work from Leipzig. FG Hoffmann - Court Carpenters and Entrepreneurs”), Dresden 2014, pp. 281 and 282.

Museum Spindler chest of drawers - Johann Friedrich and Heinrich Wilhelm Spindler - Berlin around 1765

Walnut, king wood and maple as well as other colored, partly engraved and black contoured woods.

The top and front of the high-quality, two-drawer chest of drawers show the division into each three cartouches framed by rocailles, which is so characteristic of the Spindler workshop. The precisely crafted cube parquet is complemented by large bouquets of flowers tied with bows, on the front by a lush bouquet in a wicker basket and on the middle cartridge of the plate by a fountain with nereid and putto in front of a burl wood background. Original, fire-gilded and silver-plated bronze fittings with the coat of arms of the Barons of Plotho complement the masterful veneer.

Erich Christoph Edler Lord and Baron of Plotho (1707-1788) was appointed Prussian Minister of State by Frederick the Great in 1754 and was seconded to Regensburg as the Brandenburg envoy during the Seven Years War. From there he made numerous diplomatic trips to southern German and Austrian royal courts. These contacts not only influenced his political career but also led to a cultivated taste for luxurious furnishings and art objects, as this representative chest of drawers attests to. His wife Charlotte Wilhelmine Eleonore Baroness of Bodenhausen brought several properties located in the Margraviate of Ansbach and Bayreuth into their marriage in 1743, to which he withdrew from the service of the king after he left.

The chest of drawers is published and illustrated by Kreisel / Himmelheber.

Height 80.5 cm, width 140 cm, depth 64 cm.

Pictured at Kreisel, “Die Kunst des Deutschen Möbels”, Munich 1973, vol. 2, fig. 790.

Sangl, “Spindler?”, in: “Journal of the Furniture History Society”, Leeds 1992, vol. XXVII, p. 22-66.

Artfully inlaid Rococo chest of drawers from the workshop of David Roentgen - Neuwied - around 1775

Veneered in walnut, rosewood, cherry, plum and maple, Rouge Royal marble top. Adhesive label signed on the back.

The two-drawer body “sans traverse” with lambrequin-like hanging frame on elegantly curved legs, the front and sides are lavishly cambered and inlaid with extremely fine and high-quality flower arrangements tied with bows. The original handle with a wreath of flowers shows a female portrait bust in the medallion.

The fine, light flower inlays, which were developed in the Neuwied workshop under the direction of David Roentgen, corresponded more to the taste of luxury-spoiled buyers in the last third of the 18th century than the splendid decors of the Baroque and Rococo, for which his father Abraham was appreciated by courtly clients. The mostly floral motifs are based on models by Jean Bérains the Elder. (1640-1711), Jean Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) or Jean Pillement (1728-1808).

The impressive effects of color, three-dimensionality as well as bright and dark contrasts are only created through the use of differently colored woods and only the carpenters of the Roentgen Manufactory have mastered these elaborate veneering techniques to such perfection. A very similar but slightly larger chest of drawers from an order by Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel is kept in the Kassel State Museum.

Height 80 cm, width 78 cm, depth 41 cm.

See Huth, “Abraham und David Roentgen und ihre Neuwieder Möbelwerkstatt”, Munich 1974, fig. 238.

Pair of Munich chests of drawers - Munich court workshop around 1735

Pair of Munich chests of drawers
Munich court workshop around 1735

A pair of courtly, baroque chests of drawers, walnut and grained walnut veneered with maple veins and ebonized ribbon inlays, the extraordinarily fine key plates and pull handles made of engraved bronze with remnants of the original gilding. One of the chests of drawers has a veneered, pull-out shelf under the top. The design of the sides with strongly fluted cassettes is particularly unusual. The design for this beautifully preserved pair of chests of drawers with the fine fittings is attributable to Wilhelm de Grof (also: Guillielmus de Groff).

Grof (born around 1676 in Antwerp) worked as a sculptor, caster, plasterer and cabinet maker in the service of Louis XIV, before he was appointed court sculptor to Munich by Elector Max Emanuel in 1715 and was involved in the interior design of numerous palace buildings and the design of several gardens. Grof not only brought an exquisite French taste with him to Munich, but also trained numerous journeymen to become respected artisans in his large workshop in the Herzog-Max-Burg. The plasterers and sculptors Egidius Verhelst and Charles Claude Dubut are worth mentioning. Grof is rightly considered to be a pioneer of elegant Rococo art in Munich.

Height 84 cm, width 100 cm, depth 57 cm.

Kreisel, “Die Kunst des Deutschen Möbels”, Munich 1973, vol. 2, fig. 375.

Thieme / Becker, “Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler”, Vol. 15, p. 72-74.