AMSTERDAM.- The sale of important 19th Century European Paintings at Sothebys Amsterdam on Tuesday 24 April 2007 offers impressive examples of Dutch Romantic School and Impressionism. The summer landscapes, beach scenes, ice views, consigned from a number of European collections, can be regarded as the finest examples of 19th century Dutch art.
The sale offers another highlight from the oeuvre of the famous Dutch Romantic School painter Cornelis Springer (1817-1891) who set a new auction record of 1.1 million Euros in our October 2006 sale. On offer now is a wonderful View of Bolsward with the town Hall from 1872 (estimate 380,000 - 450,000). Springer came from a family of building contractors and had a solid knowledge of architecture. At the age of eighteen, he became a student of Kaspar Karsen, one of the finest townscape painters of his time. In the beginning of his career Springer painted mainly capriccio town views but after 1857, topographical verisimilitude became more important to him. He made studies of Dutch towns, which turned into finished paintings in his Amsterdam studio. His townscapes usually depict the town centre or characteristic buildings, rendered with a keen eye for historical detail. The richly decorated facades of the 17th century patrician houses, churches and town halls offered him the opportunity to display his unique painterly skills. Springer populated his town views with numerous figures to add liveliness to his paintings. He makes maximum use of the play of light and dark and his picturesque scenes usually bath in a bright sunlight. Already in his lifetime his paintings were very much in demand and today still, collectors are extremely keen on his work.
A Candle-lit market scene, The Hague by Petrus van Schendel (1806-1870) is a wonderful example of his refined style. Van Schendel, known as the Master of Candlelight, was educated at the Academy of Art in Antwerp. Not only did he develop his painterly skills here, he mastered the science of mechanics, an interest that he shared with Leonardo da Vinci. At this he was at least as successful as with his painterly profession: he patented, among others, an important improvement in the propelling of locomotives. After his academy period he lived and worked in Amsterdam for two years, in Rotterdam for six years and then moved to The Hague where he remained until he finally settled in Brussels in 1845. Although he also painted biblical scenes, portraits, genre pieces, it was the candlelight pictures in which he truly excelled and which earned him his greatest fame. He painted intimate scenes which slowly seem to reveal themselves from dusky backgrounds; they are not for the quick viewer; the many details often take time to unfold. The warm glow of the lamp is at the heart of the present composition and illuminates the young fishseller and her wares. Her customers are exquisitely depicted, from the plump arms of the matron leaning on the stall to the typical Dutch knickerbockers and clogs of her admirer. Two other candlelight stalls in the background lend the scene a harmonious symmetrical effect that is once more repeated in the moonlight on the gabled facades of the houses on the left. Van Schendels superb craftsmanship emanates from this wonderfully well-balanced composition. Van Schendels signed oil on panel of 85 by 79 cm is estimated 100.000-150.000.
A fine Dutch town view, with Figures on a frozen canal by Willem Koekkoek (1839-1895) is a wonderful example of Dutch Romantic School. Willem was a member of the famous Koekkoek family and a pupil of his father, the famous marine painter Hermanus Koekkoek senior (1815-1882). Raised in Amsterdam, Koekkoek was to become one of the most distinguished painters of townscapes. In 1888 Willem Koekkoek spend some time in London with his brother Hermanus junior who was an art dealer there. No wonder many of his townscapes ended up in British collections, where Koekkoek´s work was admired for the mood of nostalgia and refined, detailed style of painting. Although Koekkoek´s paintings were based on existing cities like Amsterdam, Hoorn and Enkhuizen, he never aimed to be topographically exact. Famous Dutch contemporaries like Cornelis Springer, Adrianus Eversen and Charles Leickert equally took the liberty to adjust reality to their own vision, adding things or leaving something out just for artistic reasons. Their paintings appeal all the more because of this, for they created images in which the nostalgic mood of Holland´s Golden Age still lives on. The signed town view is estimated 80,000 - 120,000
Adrianus Eversen (Amsterdam, 1818-1897 Delft) scene of Villagers in the streets of a Dutch Town, a signed oil on panel, is estimated 25.000-35.000). Eversen was trained by Cornelis Springer and, like him, specialised in historic Dutch town views. Unlike Springer, who especially in the later part of his career based his paintings on reality, Eversen painted imaginary town scenes, based mainly on fantasy, with a few realistic details. And where Springer focussed on richly ornamented churches and town halls or imposing facades, Eversens architecture was usually more modest. Human figures and the sunlight play an important role in his work. Eversen was appreciated by his contemporaries because of the typically Dutch atmosphere that his paintings evoked. His works were in demand by Dutch collectors but also found their way abroad.