Johann Edler Goll van Franckenstein (Frankfurt am Main 1722-1785 Velsen-Zuid) Elegant company after a hunting party

Johann Goll van Franckenstein was born as the eldest son of Johann Goll (1700-1747), banker and merchant in mercury and Amalia Lang (?-1773). By origin a German banker, Johann Goll (1722-1785) came to The Netherlands around 1742 and founded a bank in Amsterdam where he made fortune. He married Maria Wilkens on 23 february 1747 who gave birth to three daughters and one son, Johan Goll van Franckenstein Jr. (1756-1821). The couple moved to Herengracht 174 in 1765 and this address in the Kleine Gouden Bocht (Small golden bight) would become a famous meeting point for art lovers and Goll van Franckenstein's collection of drawings would become utmost famous.[1][2]

In 1766 he was ennobled to the peerage by the empress Maria Theresia of Austria (1717-1780) for his services after which the addition von Franckenstein was added to the family name and he would call himself Duke Goll van Franckenstein.

The ownership of a countryhouse was a confirmation of status and Johann acquired the countryhouse Velserbeek in Velsen. Here he would find time and place for both his passions; gardening and drawing. Landscape gardens became fashionably in the second half of the 18th century and Goll van Franckenstein was a passionate admirer. Collecting landscape drawings was regarded very favourable for develloping the right taste to design landscape gardens. Goll van Franckenstein was a passionate and very active collector of mainly 17th century Dutch Old Master drawings and his collection counted between five and six thousands sheets.

Velserbeek was sold to his son Johan Goll van Franckenstein Jr. (1756-1821) in 1781 who would pay even more attention to the landscape garden style with natural rivers, bridges, castles, ruins and even a hermitage, the latter which still exists.

Between 1793 and 1795 Hermanus Numan (1744-1820) was commissioned to make a series of fifteen drawings of the gardens of Velserbeek which he would depict in Vierentwintig printtekeningen met couleuren, verbeeldende Hollandsche buitenplaatzen, met derzelver beschrijvingen. Na het leven getekent en in plaat gebracht door H. Numan. Amsterdam, 1797. In his final years (1779-1785) Johann Goll Sr. lost sight and became blind.

Though exact information remains unknown, Goll van Franckenstein Sr. was taught the beginnings of drawing by a wallpaper painter in Amsterdam. This remains visible in his drawings with much attention for spatial effects and low horizons. Goll made exclusively topographical drawings depicting the places where he lived and visited during travels (Amsterdam, Velsen, Gooi- en Vechtstreek, Rozendaal, Dordrecht and Germany).

In the present and recently discovered drawing and new addition to the oeuvre of Goll van Franckenstein an elegant company has returned from the hunt with several members already traveling home with horse and carriage on the far left (a very idiosyncratic subject which returns frequently in drawings by Goll van Franckenstein). A hunter and his sight hounds watch the company who seem to be playing games within a fenced piece of land in the forest. The location of our drawing remains unknown although the landscape looks very much like the slightly sloping dune landscapes in the vicinity of Bloemendaal. The composition and massive dimensions of our drawing reminds of the drawing recently sold in the rooms of Christie’s, London, with massive trees on the left and right and a low horizon which is characteristic for the influence of wallpaper paintings. The elegant company and notably the gentleman with walking cane on the right are closely related to the staffage in The Muiderpoort of Amsterdam drawing we sold to Fondation Custodia in 2018.[3][4]

A warm thanks to Charles Dumas for confirming the authorship for Johann Edler Goll van Franckenstein.[5]



[1] Jannie J.H. Polak, Jan Peeters, Is getekend, J. Goll van Franckenstein, tekeningen van een 18de-eeuwse heer. Museum Beeckestijn, 1997.

[2] Clara Bille, Johan Goll van Franckenstein, een gelukkig verzamelaar.
In I.Q. van Regteren Altena, Miscellanea. Scheltema & Holkeme, 1969. p. 195-197.

[3] Johann Goll van Franckenstein, Travellers in a wood.
Black chalk, point of the brush and grey ink, grey wash, 354 x 448 mm.
Christie’s, London, 3 July 2018, lot. #71.

[4] Johann Edler Goll van Franckenstein, View over the Singelgracht in Amsterdam towards the first Muiderpoort.
Pen and brown and grey ink, pencil, brush and brown and grey ink, brown wash, 254 x 312 mm.
Fondation Custodia/Collection Frits Lugt, Paris, inv./ 2018-T.10

[5] Correspondence by e-mail, 13 November 2023.


Copyright © 2022 • Onno van Seggelen Fine Arts • All rights reserved • Webdesign and development by Vier Hoog and Swiped