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All That Glistens

Franz Christoph Janneck
Graz 1703 – 1761 Vienna
A Pair of Palace Interiors with Elegant Figures Dancing and Merrymaking
oil on copper
27 ⅞ x 31 ⅞ inches each
65.8 x 81 cm
Lent by a private collection, New York

The celebrated Austrian painter Franz Christoph Janneck was born in Graz, where he initially trained under Matthias Vangus. In the 1730s, Janneck moved to Vienna, but would spend most of the decade traveling throughout Austria and southern Germany. In 1740, he enrolled at the Viennese Academy and eventually held the post of Assessor from 1752 to 1758, supervising the administration of the Academy alongside his fellow artists Paul Troger and Michelangelo Unterberger.

While he painted a wide range of subjects, Janneck is best known for highly finished, jewel-like cabinet pictures of merrymaking aristocrats, typically executed on copper. These works were prized for their sparkling tonality, refined details, and a multitude of seemingly innocuous anecdotes – a nod to the hidden symbolism in Dutch and Flemish genre paintings a century earlier. Taking cues from Antoine Watteau, who championed the so-called fête galantes, Janneck frequently depicted graceful companies making music, dancing and conversing in the park. Typically dressed in fancy costumes, these figures reveal the artist’s interest in opera and theatre through a refined expression of the Commedia dell’arte spirit.

Fig. 1 Franz Christoph Janneck, Company in the Park, 1744 © National Gallery Prague, Inv. O 10539

In 1996, the Residenzgalerie in Salzburg organized an exhibition entitled Reich mir die Hand, mein Leben – a line from Mozart’s Don Giovanni – honoring Janneck and Johann Georg Platzer, highlighting the two leading Viennese artists’ distinctive contribution to visualizing music in the composer’s lifetime. While many of Janneck’s elegant soirées take place in pastoral settings (National Gallery Prague, Inv. O 10539; fig. 1), the present pair is a notable take on the genre of gallery interior pictures, which we illustrate with two other examples in All That Glistens. Both Janneck (Niederösterreichische Landesmuseum, inv.A 284/86) and Platzer (National Museum in Warsaw, M.Ob.1005 MNW; fig. 2) are known to have painted other works, on a smaller scale, of such scenes. The present two paintings are surely among the finest and most ambitious examples of this type. ❖

Fig. 2 Johann Georg Platzer, Interior with a Concert and Card Players © National Museum in Warsaw, M.Ob.1005 MNW

Right: signed and dated ‘F.C. Janneck. fec 1752’, lower left

Left: signed with monogram ‘FCJ’, lower left, on the stool

 

PROVENANCE

W.P. Nicholson, Tootal Broadhurst

By descent to his wife, Mrs. Puckle

London, Sotheby’s, 3 July 1991, lot 12 (sold for £75,000)

with Richard Green, London

The Cunningham Collection, acquired directly from the above

New York, Christie’s, 2 June 2015, lot 29

Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

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