CHRISTOFFEL LUBIENIECKI (1659-1729)
Pair of portraits of a gentleman and a lady, both in silk kimono, before a country house (circa 1680)
Indistinctly signed “C.......” on a box under the man’s left hand
Oil on canvas, 79.5 x 67 cm
Both sitters are portrayed wearing a silk “Japanese” coat. During the second half of the seventeenth the Japanese silk coat, an adapted Japanese kimono, became a real vogue in the Dutch elite. The exclusive Dutch trade contacts with Japan can explain the popularity of the kimono-style silk coats in the Netherlands. Everybody who could afford one, dressed in such a fashionable and comfortable coat and, like the present sitters, some proud owners had themselves portrayed in a “Japanese” coat often together with an oriental carpet to underline their standing and international connections. These portraits are the work of the Polish-born portraitist Christoffel Lubienitski.
Lubieniecki was first trained in Hamburg under Julian Stuhr and after 1675 in Amsterdam under Adriaen Backer and Gerard de Lairesse. He specialized in landscapes, generally of an Italianate character, and in portraits. The loving execution of these contented burghers, enjoying the garden vistas of their country house, places him alongside Amsterdam portraitists such as Constantijn Netscher and Michiel van Musscher, especially in the fastidious detailing of the silk coats and oriental carpets. In the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, there are several portraits by Lubieniecki, among them portraits of Rear Admiral Arent van Buren and his wife in a more French-oriented baroque style, dated 1721. Provenance: Rashleigh-Belcher family, by descent to Dr, Rashleigh-Belcher.
Lewicka-Morawska, A. Slownik malarzy polskich, Warszawa 1998, p. 107