Carle L. F. Rumpf (German, c.1821)
Pencil and watercolour heightened with white
Signed, inscribed and dated Zur Erinnering an den Weihnachtsabend/1821 (In memory of Christmas Eve) to the mount
30.5 x 43.2cm (12 x 17 in.)
Charles Plante Fine Arts, London
Purchased from the above by the present owner in 2002
Praz, M., An Illustrated History of Furnishing , London, 1964, p.211, fig. 181
Plante, C., Inside Out, Historic Watercolour Drawings, Oil sketches and Paintings of Interiors and Exteriors, 1770-1870 , London, 2000. no.31
London, Stair and Company, Inside Out, Historic Watercolour Drawings, Oil sketches and Paintings of Interiors and Exteriors, 1770-1870 , 2000. no.31
This charming depiction of a happy and bountiful Christmas Eve was most probably painted in Frankfurt-am-Main in 1821 and shows the custom, held in many northern European countries, of celebrating Christmas Eve with presents. The scene has the air of a children's party and the setting, which is neat and well-kept, has the slightly spartan feel of a school room, boarding house or orphanage. It has been suggested that the children may be choristers in a cathedral school awaiting the midnight mass and services on Christmas day. The city of Frankfurt-am-Main had several artists named Rumpf in the 19 th Century so this picture may offer a window onto their extended family. Either way the air is alive with the chatter, music and laughter of a party in full swing. The table is laden with presents and the scene is a visual feast with children enjoying a variety of games, while the split view on the right edge of the picture shows more guests climbing the steps to join the party.
The figures appear well dressed and modestly prosperous. In many ways it is a quintessential Biedermeier image, the period from the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 to the middle of the century which brought economic stability to northern Europe and stimulated Industrialisation and a growing urban middle class. Their interest in the arts sits between the Neoclassical and the Romantic and often focussed on the humble elegance of domestic interiors.
The Pinkers Collection of British, American and European Folk Art
This charming collection of folk art takes its name from a diminutive 17th Century cottage on the Kent coast where it has hung and grown in size over the last twenty years. It includes watercolours and oil paintings from the 17th to the early 20th Century. Many are in their original frames and in remarkably fresh condition. Despite its rural location and the provincial subject matter of the works it is a truly international collection and many of the lots have come from some of the most important collectors and dealers in folk art on both sides of the Atlantic including Robert Young, Denzil Grant and Charles Plante in England and David Wheatcroft, Joan Brownstein and Austin Miller in America.
Folk Art has been described as 'the unselfconscious creativity of academically untrained artists' (Robert Young, Folk Art, 1999) and it is this quality that gives many of the works an immediacy and playfulness that has chimed with generations of collectors. Some of the pictures, by journeymen artists, artisans or amateurs are provincial reinterpretations of more sophisticated works, such as the early 18th Century Yate family portraits (lot 122). Others have a joyful disregard of accepted ideas of scale, perspective and colouring, giving them a timeless quality which draws parallels with 20th Century artists including Alfred Wallis and John Nash, such as View from La Moinerie (lot 120) and the American School Portrait of a girl (lot 103) has an Outsider Art quality reminiscent of the Art Brut movement founded by Jean Dubuffet. Regardless of their origins this unique and varied collection is the manifestation of the vision and passion of a true collector.