Overview

Hans Mielich was the leading painter in Bavaria in the mid-sixteenth century. His art was greatly influenced by Albrecht Altdorfer with whom he worked in Regensburg from about 1536 to 1538. After a trip to Rome in 1542, Mielich settled in his native Munich, becoming court painter to Albrecht V, the Duke of Bavaria.

This sitter's identification with the Fröchl family derives from the presence of their coat-of-arms painted on the reverse of the panel. The man might Jakob Fröschl of Wasserburg. A grain merchant and city councilor in Wasserburg, he married in 1539, and thus this may be his wedding portrait.

The sitter's large scale, dignified bearing, and richly decorated padded black jacket all suggest someone of great power and importance. In the background, visible through the wood-trimmed window, is a landscape with trees, a house, and a man and a horse plowing. Clearly, the man was a substantial landowner as well.

Beyond its representational fascination, the portrait is a wonderful study in the abstract interplay of pattern, form, and outline. The massive, simple expanse of the black jacket contrasts with the intricately marbleized decor of the wall which, in turn, mimics the irregular configurations of the trees.

Inscription

center reverse coat-of-arms: (gules, a powert sejant-erect); lower center reverse: E.G.V.[?]Z.

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

John Rushout, 2nd baron Northwick [1769-1859], Thirlestane House, Cheltenham, possibly by the early nineteenth century;[1] (Thirlestane House sale conducted by Phillips, 26 July - 30 August 1859, no. 134, as by Amberger). Alfred Morrison [1821- 1897], London and Fonthill House, Tisbury, Wiltshire, by 1887;[2] by inheritance to his son, Hugh Morrison [d. 1931], Fonthill House, Tisbury, Wiltshire and Islay House, Argyll; by inheritance to his son, John Granville Morrison, 1st baron Margadale, Fonthill House and Islay House; (sale, Christie's, London, 18 April 1980, no. 87). (P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., Ltd., New York, owned jointly with Artemis/David Carritt Limited, London), by 1983; purchased November 1984 by NGA.

Exhibition History

1937
Art Treasures of the West Country, British Museum Art Gallery, Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, 1937, no. 195, as by Christopher Amberger.
1961
German Art 1400-1800 from Collections in Great Britain, City of Manchester Art Gallery, 1961, no. 101, as by Christopher Amberger.
1983
The Northern Renaissance, 15th and 16th Century Netherlandish Paintings, Colnaghi, New York, no. 10.

Bibliography

1937
Constable, W.G. "Art Treasures of the West Country at Bristol. I. The Pictures." The Burlington Magazine 71 (1937): 42.
1967
Löcher, Kurt. "Studien zur oberdeutschen Bildnismalerei des 16. Jahrhunderts." Jahrbuch der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen in Baden-Württemberg 4 (1967): 74-75, fig. 52.
1985
_European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 289, repro.
1992
_National Gallery of Art, Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 69, repro.
1993
Hand, John Oliver, with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1993: 146-151, color repro. 147.
1995
Löcher, Kurt. Review of German Paintings of the Fifteenth through Seventeenth Centuries, by John Oliver Hand with the assistance of Sally E. Mansfield. Kunstchronik 43 no. 1 (January 1995): 18.
2002
Löcher, Kurt. Hans Mielich (1516-1573). Bildnismaler in München. Munich, 2002: no. 9, pls. 12, 85.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 141, no. 109, color repro.
2004
Kranz, Annette. Christoph Amberger - Bildnismaler zu Augsburg. Regenburg, 2004: X. 76, repro.

Technical Summary

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[1] The wood was identified by Peter Klein, examination report, 29 September 1987, in NGA curatorial files, and by the National Gallery's scientific research department.

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