Get to know our specialists: Dolf Heyselbergs
We have asked a few questions to our in-house specialists to get to know them better. Today, Dolf Heyselbergs, our European Fine Art Expert answers a few of them.
From an early age I have been passionate about fine art. As a child I was always drawing or painting, but soon I discovered that I was more interested in the works of the great masters such as Rubens or Delacroix than in my own scribbling. This fascination resulted in a study of art history in Leuven. Later, the fire for the auction industry was fuelled by an internship at the Antwerp auction house Bernaerts. The dynamics and unpredictability of an auction house made a huge impression on me. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to also gain experience at Christie's in Amsterdam in the Nineteenth Century Art department, after which I started working at the Venduehuis in The Hague. I have been active here for three years now and due to my long stay in the Netherlands, as a Belgian, I am mainly trained in the Dutch auction market.
A favourite work that you have sold at auction?
Last year we auctioned off a painting by Joachim Patinier, one of my favourite artists and a pioneer in painting worldly landscapes. This rare painting had a fantastic appearance and fetched a wonderful hammer prize. Hopefully a similar painting by him will cross my path again.
The best part of your job?
The most interesting part of my work is the appraisal of paintings. During that part of the process, there are all kinds of factors that play a role in the auction value of a work, such as the artist, representation, dimensions, provenance, period in the artist's oeuvre, condition, etc. These are not all boxes that need to be ticked for a work, in part to assess in a targeted manner, you must also let your feelings speak. Why is one work of the artist worth 3,000-4,000 euros and the other at least 10,000 euros? This all depends on the quality of the artwork and the interest from the clientele. Knowledge about the market is therefore related to knowledge of the oeuvre of the artist in question.
A favourite item in the current auction?
The landscape of Spa in Belgium by Vilmos Huszár (lot 161) is undoubtedly one of my favourites. This Hungarian-Dutch painter is best known for his participation in the art movement De Stijl and the typical geometric layout is also visible in this work. The painting has an incredibly beautiful "blonde" appearance and will shine even more after a superficial cleaning.