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Rare and important Dutch Romantic painting by Bakhuyzen wows dealer
Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen (1795 - 1860), Skaters on a Frozen River.

NEW YORK, NY.- Rehs Galleries Inc., the New York gallery specializing in 19th and 20th-century works of art, discovers Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen’s (1795 - 1860) Skaters on a Frozen River, a rare and important 19th century Dutch Romantic painting.

Hendrik van de Sande Bakhuyzen, who was born and lived in The Hague, obtained his early training with Jan Willem Pieneman and then went on to study at the Hague Academy with Simon Andreas Krausz. His artistic talents were recognized early on, and in 1818 the Rijksmuseum (founded in 1800) acquired his painting Gelder Landscape. During the 1820s and 30s, he won numerous awards and traveled through Belgium and Germany in search of additional subject matter.

Hendrik became an influential artist of the period and several of his students went on to help establish the Hague School – a group of artists, including Willem Roelofs, Hubertus van Hove, Francois Pieter ter Meulen and Julius van de Sande Bakhuyzen (Hendrik’s son), looking to transition from classic Dutch Romantic Realism to a more impressionistic style.

Another interesting aspect of the artist’s life is his connection with the van Gogh family. Hendrik (whose grandfather married Jannetje van Gogh) taught Anna van Gogh (Vincent’s mother) how to paint. In 1889, Vincent sent a letter to his mother in which he noted that “…you knew the old Van de Sande Bakhuyzen and Jules Bakhuyzen. I thought of their work only recently, that with all the apparent difference there’s still so little change in people’s ideas. Anyway, I believe that Jules Bakhuyzen, say, would understand perfectly what I paint these days…”

Most of Hendrik’s works are pastoral landscapes which continue the traditions of the Golden Age artist Paulus Potter (a contemporary of Vermeer, Hals, and Rembrandt). Occasionally, he would paint what have now become his most highly sought-after subjects – figures and skaters in a cold winter landscape near a Dutch town (scenes favored by his schoolmate Andreas Schelfhout). Skaters on a Frozen River ranks among the finest of these works and features about twenty figures skating or grouped along the edge of a frozen river.

In 2018, the collectors who had owned the work for more than 30 years, contacted Rehs Galleries about a possible sale. Howard Rehs, the gallery's owner, went to see the work at their home and stated “I was truly amazed when I walked into the room. I expected to see a landscape painting with some cows. What I got was one of the rare classic Dutch Romantic winter townscapes. Throughout my career, I have only seen one or two similar works, and this was not only an amazing example but in outstanding condition.” The painting was sent to the gallery’s conservator for a light cleaning and then sold to an American collector.

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