“For the Fall Winter 2017 Collection, I started looking at a lot of portrait painting, especially Northern European Renaissance painting. It was an interesting time because it was when artists started moving away from stylized depictions of the human form and the human face, and started rendering their subjects as they looked, with all their flaws and all of their imperfections. It really started an interesting dialogue for me in the collection about identity. I also think it allowed me to start having a conversation about the past versus the present, and creating a tension in the collection and in the look.” – J.A.
LadyLee by the Workshop of Hans Holbein the Younger, early 1540s, Oil on gold on oak.
LadyLee, born Margaret Wyatt, grew up in a family closely connected to the court of Henry VIII. Her father, Henry Wyatt, served as treasurer of the king’s chamber, and her brother, Thomas, was the foremost Tudor poet and an ambassador. She is shown here at the age of thirty-four, sumptuously dressed in the courtly fashion of the early 1540s. The painting is close to the manner of Holbein, but the attention paid to decorative effects and linear details at the expense of life-like portrayal of the sitter is indicative of workshop production. The portrait was likely based on a Holbein drawing.
JA: “I love the contrast between the sumptuous texture and decoration of her dress and jewelry, and the simplicity and restraint in her expression and composure. The color palette is so rich and yet so sober.”
Sebastian Andorfer (1469–1537) by Hans Maler, 1517, Oil on Swiss stone pine.
Hans Maler worked as a portrait painter in the mining town of Schwaz, just east of Innsbruck. The Schwaz silver works belonged to the most prosperous in Europe, and Sebastian Andorfer, who is shown in this portrait at the age of forty-eight, was one of its leading officials. As Silberbrenner (refiner of silver) he was responsible for guaranteeing the purity of Schwaz silver, a major source of income for the Habsburg Archduke Ferdinand and the Fugger family of Augsburg, whose likenesses Hans Maler also painted.
JA: ” I was immediately drawn to the composition and color of this painting: the off-center text, the stark browns and blacks contrasting with the blue ombré background. I love his serenity, and the quietness of this painting.”
Portrait of a Woman by Bernhard Strigel, 1510-15, Oil on linden.
Bernhard Strigel belonged to a family of artists that flourished after the middle of the fifteenth century in the town of Memmingen, near the Swiss border. In the first two decades of the sixteenth century he produced a number of portraits of ladies in extravagant dress positioned before a decorative brocade hanging with an open window view out to a landscape. The young woman in this (probably independent) portrait has not been identified, but her elaborate costume, with its imported fabrics and embroideries and ostentatious jewelry, places her among the elite echelons of society.
JA: “Part of what I love about renaissance painting is the interest in faces, and I was really drawn to the humanity in this portrait. “