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"petite fille du Val d'Hérens" by Francois de Ribaupierre, lithograph on card

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Fine Art1158 of 5707"Alert" by Jon de Roncourt, 1930-33Abstract Painting
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    Posted 3 years ago

    (958 items)

    This little watercolor is 3.5" x 3.5". It is signed, but the signature (F de ?) is partially under the mat by her left shoulder. It is so well framed and backed and I love this little painting so much, that I just never had the heart to tear it apart to investigate. I found it at a thrift shop for a dollar or two a few blocks from my home. This shop received a lot of donations from the estates of elderly folks, especially WWII aged folks. I found a lot of nice art glass in that shop. I've always suspected this little watercolor was brought back by a soldier from WWII, but can't prove that.

    In 2009 I was contacted by an elderly man in Europe who saw this on my art collection web site. He said he remembered seeing this painting in Europe in the 1930s, but could not remember where. I do not show the frame on my web site but he was able to describe it. We corresponded for some time and then I heard no more from him. I entered it in the international database for looted art in 2009 but never got a hit. It has also been on my art collection web site for over ten years. It hangs on the wall of my office. I call her "Amsterdam Girl" since that is where she was framed. At one time, I did a considerable amount of research and found who I think was the artist, but I have since forgotten who that was. He was a well known Dutch artist. I really don't care who the artist was or if this is valuable. I love "Amsterdam Girl"!

    Here is some information on the gallery owners/framers:

    Kunsthandel Gebroeders Koch was specialized paintings of the romantic period and the Hague School (Het Vaderland, 16-12-1972). They were also active as a frame and mirror maker (Algemeen Handelsblad, 28-10-1904). Gebroeders Koch art dealership was founded in 1850 by Isaac and Alexander Koch. The two daughters of Isaac Koch, Sophia and Dina, married to the Hartmann brothers. Mauritz Hartmann took over the company of his father-in-law. Through this part of the family the company became Anthony Hartmann's property. He managed the company since the seventies; see Rotterdams Nieuwsblad 23-10-1975

    Working period
    1850 - 2003
    Founded in 1850 by Isaac and Alexander Koch Amsterdam (Collection of Press Documentation). In 1869 they founded an office in Rotterdam, where the orders were managed. Around 1900 the company expanded and owned three shops in Amsterdam and in Rotterdam, The Hague, Haarlem, Arnhem and Leiden. Later this was reduced to three shops, one in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague (Rotterdams Nieuwsblad, 23-10-1975). In 1975 Kunsthandel Gebroeders Koch was managed by Anthony Hartmann and they celebrated the 125th birthday of the company (Collection of Press Documentation)

    Amsterdam 1850 - 1939 Kalverstraat 158 ??(De Telegraaf, 12-03-1939)

    This painting is not for sale! I am a collector and do not sell from my collection. When the time comes, I will donate this painting to a museum, if I can find one that wants it.

    Update: I finally decided to go ahead and open the frame to see if it would solve the mystery. It turned to be a very fine lithograph on a post card, perhaps done in a limited edition to commemorate a gallery show or some other event. There was enough identifying information to identify the artist, title of the work and to locate one other example. The original that this lithograph was copied form probably hangs in a museum somewhere.

    Francois de Ribaupierre
    petite fille du Val d'Hérens
    Kind aus dem Val d'Hérens
    Bambina della Valle d'Hérens (Vallese)

    It is a very nice small lithograph and looks much better now that I was able to clean it up.

    Mystery Solved
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    1. truthordare truthordare, 3 years ago
      Love this small piece of fine art. What a haunting look from the eyes of a child. Thanks for sharing. Great story too.
    2. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @truthordare - Thanks for your comment! She is expressionless. It makes me wonder where the artist was going with piece. I think he was letting the viewer insert their own emotional state.

      Thanks for loving Amsterdam Girl Mrstyndall, Vynil33rpm and truthordare!
    3. Mrstyndall Mrstyndall, 3 years ago
      There are a couple other art pieces on the web with that label on back, maybe you could track some info down that way??
    4. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @Mrstyndall - Thanks! I tried that when I was doing my research about ten years ago. It is probably time to revisit my research on this piece. When I downsize or die, I would like for it to go to a museum, if there is an interest in the artist. Unattributed, there would probably not be any interest. Museums get bombarded with collectors trying to donate to them, so it has to be something that fits with their mission or that they can sell to generate revenue to support their mission.
    5. finders9, 3 years ago
      Agree it is a charming piece and the history you have assembled is fascinating (and thorough). Just a thought - you might contact the framer (if you haven't already tried). They almost certainly won't have the institutional memory to recall your painting but might recognize the artist and estimate the date of the framing? In the meantime, enjoy!
    6. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @finders9 - Good thought! Unfortunately, they went out of business in 2003...

      Thanks for loving my little painting finders9 and Jenni!
    7. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thank you vetraio50!
    8. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thank you Broochman, Thomas, Watchsearcher and aura!
    9. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks for loving my little painting TreasureTex, Karen, Ms.CrystalShip, Gaga_galore and fortapache!
    10. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 3 years ago
      I wish I could help you with this one Kevin, but it looks like you've done the research, and it definitely looks to be done by a Master. All I could suggest is to take it to a Museum, or send a photo of Amsterdam Girl to a Museum in the Netherlands, but I think any Museum would have an Expert that could tell you who the Artist is or lead you in the right direction, to find out who it is! :^D Good luck with this, and if you get anymore information on this beautiful little Watercolor, please let us know! Thanks so much for showing! :^)
    11. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @billretirecoll - Thanks for your comment! That is a good suggestion. I want to find a "forever home" for this painting, anyway. I sent an email and images to the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. I will post their response to CW.

      Thanks for clicking the button for Amsterdam Girl yougottahavestuff, Radegunder, blunderbuss2, billretirecoll, Manikin and officialfuel!
    12. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thank you Nicefice!
    13. inky inky, 3 years ago
      This is such a beautiful painting of a little girl whom you say is expressionless, I don’t think she is, I think her eyes say it all, certainly not! haunting but looking with just a bit of if looking at someone she doesn’t know! children so innocently do... hopefully your years of searching will come to fruition and do keep us posted!..
    14. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @inky - Thanks for your comment! The folks at CW will be the first to hear of any news about this painting. I haven't heard back from the Rijksmuseum, yet. If I don't hear something in the next couple of weeks, I will try another museum.

      Thanks for clicking the button for my little painting Nathaniel.J and inky!
    15. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @renedijkstra - Thanks for your comments and efforts. It is a mystery... I could pretty easily solve it by taking the frame apart and it may yet come to that. I probably should do so, anyway, as there may be acidic materials touching the back of the painting. It is just so well put together, masterly framing, that I hate to disrupt it. Thanks for clicking the button for my little painting!
    16. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @renedijkstra - I know. Really frustrating isn't it? Thanks much for trying to run it down...
    17. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thank you for clicking the button for my little painting Designer!
    18. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      This painting is already in the UNESCO database and has been for over ten years. Any claim needs to go through them. Who is "we"?
    19. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thank you LOUMANAL!
    20. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks vintagegirl66!
    21. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      I have no emails in my email back up for 2009 which contain the name Birnbaum. I don't find any information on a "Birnbaum Group". That could well have been the name of the man who contacted me in 2009. I don't remember his name and I must have filed his emails in a separate folder. I will take a look for them. As I recall we exchanged only two or three emails. As noted in the CW description and on my art collection web site, the man who contacted me only remembered the frame and image. He did not know the artist, title, origin, where he had seen it or any provenance.
    22. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks for clicking the button for my artwork mp.kunst!
    23. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Well, there is nothing at all to suggest that this work was ever stolen or that it was part of some soldier's booty. I found it between 2000 and 2009 in a thrift shop. It could have been picked up on someone's vacation trip to Europe or purchased in any number of ways. I entered it in the UNESCO database, just in case.

      I decided to go ahead and open it and found out it is actually a very well done lithograph on a post card. Not the first time that I have been fooled by a lithograph of this quality. Posting images of the back of the card above. I googled the information from the post card and found one other example. It was probably a very limited edition, as it is uncommon, perhaps done to commemorate a gallery show, or some similar event. The Koch brothers could have framed a dozen of these, so no telling if the old gentleman I corresponded with saw the one I have or a different one.

      Francois de Ribaupierre
      petite fille du Val d'Hérens
      Kind aus dem Val d'Hérens
      Bambina della Valle d'Hérens (Vallese)

      Portraits of young girls was apparently a common subject by this artist. Opening it gave me a good chance to clean the glass and it looks much clearer. It is still going to a be favorite of mine.

      No more drama needed.
    24. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      You are welcome.
    25. NL_man, 3 years ago
      I have no idea what I just read about this topic. To speak in art terms, the messages were rather surreal. At the end however I expected an excuse , but that didn't come. As a Dutchman I feel embarrassed and I can assure you that we are not all like that.

      Misschien moet u eens iets doen aan uw korte lotje.
    26. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks Nursekent!
    27. Ginger101, 3 years ago
      such a pretty face ...
    28. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks Ginger101 and Vintageviews! This artist specialized in painting angelic faces of little girls.
    29. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      First of all, there has never been any information to suggest that this item had any illicit past. None. Zero. I paid $1 for it at a thrift shop in the US, origins unknown. Several years after purchasing it, I heard in a casual email from an elderly man in Europe, who saw my piece on my web site, and who had seen what we now know was probably another copy of this framed print. There was no suggestion on his part that it was looted, stolen, etc., just that he could not recall where he had seen it. After checking and not finding it the various databases for looted art, I took it upon myself to enter it into the UNESCO database, just in case. Obviously there would never have been a hit on this piece as it is probably one of a number of these prints similarly framed and sold by the Koch Brothers, and the original is in a museum or private collection (I hope).

      Secondly, any item made before 1945 without adequate written provenance could possibly have an illicit past based on actions which took place during WWII. I have many items in my collection which were made in Europe and elsewhere before 1945. I would not suggest that anyone pass on collecting and preserving a pre-1945 item because there exists no written provenance to prove its origins. I'm sure that many fine items would meet ignominious ends if that was the case.

      I encourage anyone who has something or sees something they suspect to have an illicit past, during any period of time, to exercise due diligence and search the on line databases which exist for this purpose and, if you cannot find it but still have doubts, enter it in the databases here:

      If you do identify an item which you suspect may have an illicit past, it should be reported via the web site above.
    30. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Ms.CrystalShip, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to look at my little print!
    31. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Provenance is the process of verifying of the authenticity of an item in order to establish its value. That is different than determining the legal chain of custody (or ownership) of an item.

      If I suspected something was stolen, I would report it, not buy it. If I discovered something in my possession was stolen, I would report it and turn it in. I am not a dealer. I don't traffic in items. The chance that I would encounter a valuable work of art which has been trafficked is almost non-existent.

      I generally collect things because I like them, not as an investment or for profit. I don't purchase items which are so potentially valuable that provenance is an issue.
    32. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Brother, you are the one who keeps posting to my item. If you ever feel the need to, you can go to my profile and follow the link to my art collection web site. At the bottom of each page is a link to my generic email address. If you send me an email at that address, I will be happy to send you a link to my public web site which contains my curriculum vitae in case there are any future questions about my knowledge of basic art terms. No pressure at all. Do what ever feels good to you.
    33. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @Ms.CrystalShip - No worries! Children are starving in (fill in the blank), the National Debt is out of control, sea levels are rising.....! ;o)
    34. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Thanks for loving my little lithograph Elisabethan!
    35. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Well, you have me at a disadvantage because I have no idea what explanation is required.....
    36. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      Sorry, I'm not quite sure what you are saying. Translation issue. Are you saying you want me to travel to Holland to discuss this??

      I get that (I think I do, anyway) there is some level of emotional distress on your part based on crimes committed against certain segments of the European population in the past. I understand and accept that and really can't say or do anything to resolve it. Everyone has a button that when pushed can lead to some fireworks. People feel what they feel and every country has some sort of cross to bear. Is that what you are referring to?

      Or is it provenance versus chain of custody?

      I don't think you were called a barbarian, per se, just that some comments may have been seen as barbaric. There is a big difference between those two things.
    37. Cloggie, 3 years ago
      Dear kwqd. I am not an art collector or anybody in the know on pictures. I am a Dutchman living in the UK who has recently lost both his parents. We have cleared my parents house recently and on the wall I found a little picture of what looks like the same girl. But in profile. Same clothes, also, 3.5 x 3.5. It has always been on the wall at my mums house and as such could not bring myself to throwing it away. Back in the UK I decided to do some googling and via the sticker of "kunsthandel Koch" came about your thread. I wonder I there is any way of contacting you direct and send a photo? As I have no desire to get involved in this whole messaging back and forth with other people. It seems to get quite heated from time to time. Our print is stuck to board, but other than that it seems to be similar to what you described.
    38. kwqd kwqd, 3 years ago
      @Cloggie - If you go to my profile page on this site (click on my user name, "Read more"), there is a link to my art collection web site. At the bottom of each page of my art collection web site, is the email address associated with the web site. I respond to your email and will happy to look at any images you send.
    39. kwqd kwqd, 22 days ago
      Thanks Jenni!

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