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Cornelius Hoyer (1741-1804) "Gustav IV Adolph of Sweden", outstanding published miniature!!! 1783
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Gold pendant inlaid with highest quality brilliants, housing a miniature portrait of 5-year-old Swedish Crown Prince Gustav Adolph, future King Gustav IV Adolph of Sweden.
This outstanding miniature is extremely important work of the best 18th-century Danish portrait miniaturist Cornelius Hoyer. Moreover, it is illustrated (and fully described) under catalogue No 285 in the artist's catalogue raisonné completed by Torben Holck Colding (see our additional image nr.9). The author of this monograph dates the miniature with the year 1783 and mentions another identically sized replica of the same work (catalogue No 284). Additionally, the same catalogue entry states that our miniature (in 1961, i.e. the year when the monograph was put in print) was housed in the famed collection of Stockholm banker Ragnar Aschberg.
Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden was born on 1st of November 1778 in Stockholm as son of King Gustav III of Sweden and his queen consort Sophia Magdalena. In 1792 he became the King of Sweden and ruled this country up until his abdication in 1809. For his extensive biography from Wikipedia, see our images nr.10-11.
In this portrait, he is depicted with the blue sash and breast star of the Swedish Royal Order of the Seraphim (see also our image nr.12).
Cornelius Hoyer portrayed him in his childhood age repeatedly; one of the most known portraits from this period is the one dating ca. 1784-1785, where the young Prince Gustav Adolph (by then already 1-2 years older) is depicted with his parents (see our images nr.13-14; our image nr.15 offers Hoyer's other miniatures from this group).
For extensive biography of Cornelius Hoyer, see our images nr.16-19 with clips from the aforementioned catalogue raisonné written by Torben Holck Colding.
Cornerlius Hoyer (1741 Hammermollen by Kronborg - 1804 Copenhagen) was Denmark's most distinguished miniature painter. He was also one of the two most outstanding Danish-born portrait painters of the 18th century, the other being Jens Juel. On his long travels, during which he worked for foreign courts, he made his name well known not only for Danish portraiture, but also for a number of the best known foreign miniature painters (e.g. Fueger and Ritt).
Presumably, he began his training (as one of the primary students) at the Royal Academy of Copenhagen in 1755 and studied there until summer 1764. He was awarded with prizes in the years 1758, 1759 and 1763. Around the same time, presumably about or immediately before 1758, Hoyer earned his living by painting miniatures in a family of painters named Thornborg, who in craftsmanlike way produced portraits in series, amongst others portraits of Royalty.
Hoyer's first trip abroad in 1764 led him to Paris, where he sojourned two years, and where, while visiting the French Academy, he became a pupil of the best known French miniature painter of the time - J. B. Masse. In the end of 1766 he went via Genoa and Florence to Rome, where he arrived in February of 1767. In autumn of 1767 the artist left Rome for Naples, returning home via Florence where he was admitted as a member of the local Academy of Fine Arts. Along his journey, he also briefly stayed in Bologna, where in April of 1768 he was admitted as a member of the Accademia Clementina.
At that time, he had already for some time lived in Dresden, where he became acquainted with the leading artists (amongst them Anton Graff), and where he worked for the Electoral family. In 1771 he was appointed Couincillor of the Dresdener Academy.
From October 1768 to July 1781 Hoyer lived in Copenhagen, where he was made an agréé of the Danish Academy of Fine Arts, receiving admittance as its full member in April of 1770. In July of 1781 Hoyer left Copenhagen and went via Stockholm (where he was introduced to the Swedish King and Queen) to St. Petersburg, where he arrived on August 5th, 1781. Immediately upon his arrival, he was commissioned to paint portraits of the Grand Duke Paul (later - Tsar Paul I) and the Grand Duchess Maria Fedorovna, as well as those of their two young sons, Alexander (later - Alexander I) and Constantin. Besides portraits executed for the Court, the artist painted several portraits of distinguished personalities of St. Petersburg, amongst others, the Empress Catherina's lady-in-waiting, Countess Branitskaia (now in the collection of Hermitage, St. Petersburg), Count Panin (now in the collection of Russian Museum, St. Petersburg), Countesses Osterman and Nolcken.
Hoyer left St. Petersburg in April 1783 and traveled to Stockholm, where he stayed until December 1783, and again, from October 1784 to early summer of 1785. There, he executed at least a score of miniatures for the Swedish Court and was appointed a member of the Swedish Academy of Fine Arts.
Around October 1787 Hoyer went to Berlin, where he stayed until April 1788, then to Dresden, Meissen, Leipzig, Weimar, Erfurt, Gotha, Darmstadt, Mannheim, Strasburg. From May 1789 he lived in Paris, then again returned to Germany. In August 1797 he returned to St. Petersburg, where he presumably remained until spring of 1798. On December 19th, 1797, he was admitted as a member of the Russian Academy of Fine Arts, around the same date as another excellent miniaturist Augustin Ritt. Besides Ritt Hoyer met in Russia Madame Vigee Lebrun, whom he mentioned as schemer and charlatan. Around August of 1798 he returned to Copenhagen. He died there in his official residence at Charlottenborg on June 2nd, 1804.
Schidlof maintains that, Hoyer was the best Danish miniaturist. The National Museum in Copenhagen owns some thirty works by him. His miniatures also belong to collections of the National Museum in Stockholm, the Viennese Albertina, etc.
P.S. 25th July 2011:
We just received from our friend, world's best specialist in portrait miniatures Dr. Bodo Hofstetter (Montreaux, Switzerland) photocopy with a clipping from German art magazine "Weltkunst" where this miniature was published in 1972 (see our image nr.24).
11th October 2011:
We just received from Dr. Hofstetter a letter with one more mention of this miniature in refference literature. He provided us with photocopies (see image nr.23) of auction catalogue of Sotheby's London (sale on 23rd November 1959, Lot 35) where this miniature for sold for then very high price of GBP 300. And the buyer was the famous Axel Ceasar Springer, media tycoon from Berlin!
We are very gratefull to Dr. Hofstetter for this generous help!
1.) Art dealer Sigrid Sundborg, Stockholm (turn of 20th century)
2.) Collection of banker Ragnar Aschberg, Stockholm
3.) Sotheby & Co's/London, 23rd November 1959, Lot 35 (sold to Axel Springer for GBP 300)
4.) Axel Cesaer Springer (1912-1985), Berlin
5.) Gallery "Heide Hübner", Würzburg
6.) Auction house "Neumeister", Munich, 6th July 2011, lot 143 (as "Deutsch, um 1800")
1. "Kunstmuseets Aarskrift 1946-47", Kopenhagen 1947 (illustrated on p.11)
2. Ragnar Aschberg "Barn i bilder", Stockholm 1955, p.36f (illustrated)
3. Auction catalogue of Sotheby & Co's/London, 23rd November 1959, Lot 35 (illustrated)
4. Torben Holck Colding "Cornelius Hoyer /1741 - 1804", Kopenhagen 1961, Catalogue No.285 (illustrated)
Exhibitions: "Exposition d'art ancien", Rijksmuseum Amsterdam 1936, No.900
Creation Year: 1783
Measurements: UNFRAMED:2,5x2,0cm/1,0x0,8in FRAMED: 3,4x2,8cm/1,3x1,1in
Object Type: Framed miniature
Style: Portrait Miniatures
Technique: pendant: gold and brilliants; miniature: watercolor on ivory
Creator: Cornerlius Hoyer
To see other works by this artist click on the name above!
Creator Dates: 1741 Hammermollen-1804 Copenhagen
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