12.2 Copy Drawings by the Mysterious Albrecht
The second reason to believe Gillis van Coninxloo was artistically active in Frankenthal is the main scope of this article. During the last decade of the 16th century, a certain A(e)lbrecht drew and collected many copy drawings after the work of several landscape artists such as Hendrick van Cleve I (c. 1525–c. 1590), Tobias Verhaecht (1561–1631), Hans Bol (1534–1593) and Gillis van Coninxloo. A large share of these drawings were assembled in an album which is preserved in the collection of the Národní Galerie in Prague.1 Yet, the ones after the work of Van Coninxloo, and one other after Joachim Patinir (1475/80–1524) dated 1597, became dispersed over the centuries. These lesser known sheets are extremely interesting as they all bear an inscription on the verso specifying the original artwork they portray, the artist of this original, and sometimes also stating the city and the year in which the copy was drawn. As the drawing after Joachim Patinir is dated 1597, we can be sure the date refers to the making of the copy drawing and not to the original as this artist died in 1524. It seems that this Albrecht also made other types of copy drawings on which he placed the inscription on the recto, but in a completely different handwriting. Without doubt, the purpose of these copies, and the identity of the mysterious copyist Albrecht requires further research. As it seems that he only worked after the Antwerp originating landscape artists from the 16th century, this album might shed light on the evolution of their visual language while abroad. Unfortunately, this study is beyond the scope of this article.
For now, we are familiar with eleven of such copy drawings after unknown works by Van Coninxloo, of which six specifically mention Frankenthal as their place of origin. These eleven drawings can be divided into two groups, five with the inscription on the verso and six with the inscription on the recto in a different handwriting. Eight of these sheets had already been published briefly by Wolfgang Wegner.2 I will discuss these here to add new information, and also to introduce three previously unknown copy drawings to the literature.
1 Inv. K22.434-K22.500/K28.989-K29.014. I am grateful to Stefaan Hautekeete of the KMSKB who informed me of the existence of this album which he introduced to the literature in 2012 (Hautekeete 2012, p. 346-347, notes 55-56). The album contains several anonymous drawings in Italian style, one after Quinten Massijs (1465/66-1530), and many drawings in a similar style with similar inscriptions on the verso dated 1597 or 1598. They are most likely all made by the same A(e)lbrecht as he writes his own name followed by a ‘tot Vaedes/ Vaeder/Vadder?’. This might refer to a city or, as suggested by Stefaan van der Auwera (in Hautekeete 2012, note 55) it is possible that he made these copies in the workshop of his father. The album includes one copy after Jacques de Gheyn (1537-1581), several after Hendrick van Cleve and Tobias Verhaecht and 56 after Hans Bol. Several German drawings have been removed from the album for exhibition (see Valrábová 2003, cat. no. 5, 6, 18, 20, 22).
2 Wegner 1967; Wegner 1973; Wegner 1975. See also Ketelsen et al. 2011, p. 237-238; Boutsen 2017, p. 61, note 18.