(Taken from “Belle Vista,” by E.M. GRAF,
The Passaic County Historical Society
on its 10th Anniversary Meeting
at Lambert Castle, May 16, 1936).
The art collection of Catholina Lambert, one of the finest private collections in this country up to that time, was placed on sale in February 1916. The entire collection assembled for a public exhibition, before the sale, was displayed in the Galleries of the American Art Association in New York, opening on the 14th; and the four-day auction sale opened at the Hotel Plaza, Monday night, February 21st. The cataloging of the pictures being made by William Roberts, expert authority of London, who stated that Mr. Lambert formed his collection for the most part on his own judgment.
During the sale, 365 pictures and 27 pieces of statuary brought a total of $592,050, for a collection which had been estimated by experts to be worth about a million and a half dollars.
The picture of The Madonna Enthroned, by Luini brought $33,500 and was said to be worth $100,000. Boticelli’s Madonna and Child, sold for $22,00 for which Catholina Lambert paid $70,000. One Rembrandt sold for $3,000; it was said Mr. Lambert refused $30,000 for this picture when it hung in Belle Vista Castle. Of the artists most prominently represented there were eleven pictures by Ralph Albert Blakelock, bringing $46,840; three by Pierre Auguste Renoir for $23,300; six pictures by Claude Monet sold for $17,400; twenty-nine pictures by Adolphe Monticelli for $37,870; five by Camillo Pissarro for $5,575; and eighteen by George Michel brought $16,625. Many of the old and new masters are represented in the long list of pictures. To have had the opportunity of seeing this collection when it was still at Belle Vista Castle was a tread, and many interested availed themselves of the kind permission of Catholina Lambert to see his treasures. We regret the loss of this fine collection which even Mr. Lambert, at one time, expected would remain in Paterson for all times.
To appreciate this great collection, a description of some of the pictures may prove to us that Catholina Lambert was well informed in the merits of the pictures and the artists.
The following list gives twenty-four pictures that brought the highest prices, four thousand dollars and over for each picture.
The Madonna Enthroned, by Bernardino Luini, Italian 1460-1530; whole length figures of the Virgin enthroned on a carved wood and red plush chair, holding the infant, who stands on elbow of seat; on either side a youthful angel; at foot three angles playing flutes and fifes; two angles above. Panel 94 X 54 inches. Purchased by Brooklyn Institute of the Arts. $33,500.
The Holy Family, by Andrea Del Sarto, Italian 1487-1531. A group of five figures. The Virgin seated, in yellowish and scarlet robes, holding on her lap the nude Infant Christ, who is leaning forward and embracing the child. St. John; to right St Elizabeth in scarlet and white robes smiling at the two children. Panel 49-1/2 x 38-1/2. Purchased by W.W. Seeman. $27,000.
Madonna and Child, by Sandro Botticelli (Allessandro Filippi), Italian 1447-1510. Small three-quarter length figure of the Virgin, seated to the right; she hold the Infant on her lap with both hands. His arms are around her neck and his face is pressed close to hers; on her left is a youthful saint, holding towards the Virgin and Child an open volume. Panel circle 37 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet. $22,000.
Moonlight, by Ralph Albert Blakelock, A.N.A. American 1847-1919. The horizon in this fine composition is placed low. A pond or stream is seen in the immediate foreground with steep banks on either side, while on the far shore , where a brook tumbles into the main body of water, are several trees and beyond, a hill country occupies the distance. From the high bank on the right rise two great trees and on the left is a smaller tree. The sky light and pearly in tone in the lower portion, fades into blue and still darker blue as the eye looks upward. High on the right, the full moon is seen, partly obscured by the foliage, and its disc is reflected in the water at the bottom of the picture. This celebrated picture was hung in the place of honor in the Vanderbilt gallery at one of the exhibitions. Signed at lower left. Canvas 72 x 47-1/2 inches. Purchased by Toledo Museum. $20,000.
The Meeting of Saint Germain and Genevieve in her Childhood at Nanterre, by Puvis De Chavannes, French 1825-1898. In 429, St. Germain d’Auxerre and Saint Loup de Troyes, traveling to England to combat the heresies of Pelagins, arrive in the suburbs of Nanterre. In the crowd which has assembled at their approach, Saint Germain noticed a child who, to his perception, bears the divine seal, and he predicts to her parents the lofty destiny to which she will be called. This child was Saint Genevieve, the patron Saint of Paris. The subject is depicted in three sections forming one composition. The first show, in the foreground, fishing boats with oarsmen and sailors drawing up at a landing place, and people carrying the body of a man out of a rustic dwelling. The second shows the holy men in the centre of a group of people, with Saint Germaine in the act of remarking the child, on whose head he places his right hand. The third depicts, as a balance to the first section, other people of country side engaged in the various domestic occupations. The entire composition is enclosed in a border of Bay leaves. Signed on the third section and dated 1879. Canvas 52 x 102 inches. Purchased by Q. Johns. $18,000.
Girl Knitting, by Pierre Auguste Renoir, French 1841-1919. The two nude figures in this composition, one holding up a basket of fruits, the other, in the centre, her arms reaching upward to a branch of the fruit tree and the more mature figure in pale violet seated on the left, are all drawn with fine simplicity. The color scheme is subdued, but impressive. Signed at lower left. Canvas 40 x 32 inches. Purchased by Charles A. Platt. $10,000.
William Herschel, Esq. by George Romney, English 1734-1802. Half length figure of an elderly man, seated in red chair, black coat, yellow waistcoat, gray hair. Canvas 30 x 25 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet. $8,100.
Marchioness of Rockingham, by Francis Coates, R.A. English 1726-1770. Three-quarter length figure seated, in green low neck dress edges with brown fur and white shawl, a red rose at centre of corsage; dark hair pillar and curtain background. Canvas 44-1/2 x 39-1/2 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet. $8,100.
The River, by Claude Monet, French 1840- ?. The wide expense of a river fill the entire foreground and it is seen flowing away in the middle distance near the centre of the canvas. The shores are covered with bushes and low masses of shrubbery. Poplars and other trees rise above this undergrowth with fine effect against a sky of clouds which receive a strong light from the left. The reflections in the water denote a careful observation of the facts of nature. Canvas 23-1/2 by 31-1/2 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet $7,700.
Autumn, by Adolphe Monticelli, French 1824-1886. A view in the grounds of a Chateau which is seen amid the trees on the right. A roadway through the park leads into the middle distance, on the left is a wall with a statue on a stone pedestal. In the foreground two children with a go-cart are seen at play. Dark masses of pine trees form the background. Sighed at the lower right, Monticelli. Panel 19-1/2 x 39 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet. $7,100.
A Woodland Fete, by Adolphe Monticelli, French 1824-1886. On the right a group of ladies around a fountain in a forest park. On the left a stream with a passenger punt filled with other merrymakers. The general tone of the picture is of rich reddish brown. Signed at lower right, Monticelli. Canvas 20-1/2 x 40 inches. Purchased by R.C. and N.M. Vose. $6,700.
Floral Festival, by Adolphe Monticelli. French 1824-1886. This picture show a brilliantly costumed lady, effectively placed in a composition including the high arches of a viaduct and a forest as background, is a notable example of the work of this renown artist. Canvas 20-1/2 x 40 inches. Purchased by Arthur Ryle. $6,500.
Evening, by Jean Baptiste. Camille Carot, French, 1796-1875. The wide expanse of placid stream fills the right foreground of the picture while on the left are meadows with two cows and a peasant woman at the edge of the water. Tall trees, growing on the bank of the stream, rise to the top of the composition. Through the mists in the distance vaguely appears a glint of light made by the setting sun. Signed at the lower left. Canvas 21-1/2 x 17-1/2 inches. Purchased by John D. Levy. $6,300.
Landscape, by Ralph Albert Blakelock. A.N.A. American 1847-1919. The composition shows a lake under light of the moon which is seen through the boughs of the trees on the right. The surface of the lake comes close to the foreground with an inlet on the right. The sky is composed of broken clouds and there is a space of somber blue. Signed at lower left R.A. Blakelock. Canvas 16 x 23-1/2 inches. Purchased by William MacBeth. $6,300.
Classical Scene, by Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. English, 1775-1851. Italian Lake scene with sailing boats, classical temples, and buildings on either side; to right a man in red robe receiving visitors who have landed from a gondola; to left three female figures, in the middle distance, a round tower in mid-river and in the distance a small island. Canvas 39-1/2 x 59-/12 inches. Purchased by Hallen Galleries. $6,000.
Sunset, by Ralph Albert Blakelock, A.N.A. American 1847-1919. In the foreground is a plain and in the middle distance are trees, while the whole landscape is bathed in the rosy light of an evening sky of atmospheric depth. Signed lower left. 16 x 24 inches. Purchased by Scott & Fowles. $5,600.
In the Park, by Marcisse Virgile Diaz De La Pena, French, 1807-1876. The centre of interest is the seated figure of a young woman, of the French type of the eighteenth century, in costume of pink bodice and cream white skirt. Behind her, leaning forward is a young man with a dark hued beret. On her right are two girls in blue with a spaniel. The background is formed by foliage and there is a sky of subdued blue. signed at lower left, Diaz. Canvas 25 x 45 inches. Purchased by Stephenbirch. $5,250.
Lion Feeding, by Victor Eugene Delacroix, French 1798-1863. A lion devouring a gazelle and crouching flat on the ground. Beyond are dunes and blue mountains. The sky of broken blue and gray is a happy contrast to the tawny yellow browns in the coat of the lion and the sandy foreground. Signed at lower right, Eug. Delacroix. 17 x 27-1/2 inches. Purchased by Durrand-Ruel. $5,100.
Portrait of a Gentleman, by Bartolomew Van der Helst, Dutch 1611-1670. Three-quarter length of a stout middle aged man, seated on a red chair; in dark dress with large white sleeves; brown hair; slight mustache. Canvas 44-1/2 x 32-1/2 inches. Purchased by George D. Dery. $4,900.
Landscape, by Jules Dupre, French 1811-1889. The composition show a mass of trees on the right. In the left foreground is a pond with a peasant woman in a punt. The sky is composed of white and gray clouds with intervening spaces of somber blue. Signed at lower left, James Dupre. Canvas 23-1/2 x 28-1/2 inches. Purchased by S.R. Guggenheim. $4,500.
Portrait of the Daughter of Velasques, by Francisco Pachecho, Spanish 1571-1654. Nearly whole length of a young lady in pink dress embroidered with white; right hand on back of chair on which a toy dog is seated; to right pillar and silver flowered urn. Canvas. 60 x 44-1/2 inches. Purchased by O. Burnet. $4,400.
Holy Family, by Mariotto Albertinelli, Italian 1474-1515. Group of four figures, fair haired youthful figures of the Virgin in centre in pink and green draperies and green headdress, holding the Infant, who carries a cross and embraces St. John; St. Joseph to right; background conventional mountains. Panel 24-1/2 by 21 inches. Purchased by George D. Dery. $4,000.
The Marriage of St. Catherine, by Il Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti), Italian 1519-1594. Whole length figure of the Virgin, in blue and red draperies and light transparent headdress; she is holding the nearly nude infant with her left hand; his open right hand with the ring is extended towards the young St. Catherine. Panel 57 x 45-1/2 inches. Purchased by M. Meinhard. $4,000.
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