The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Thursday, January 29, 2015


Dutch and Flemish Old Master Drawings at Sotheby´s
AMSTERDAM.- Sotheby’s Amsterdam annual sale of Dutch and Flemish Old Master Drawings is a regular major event in the drawings world. The tradition will be continued this year with the sale on Tuesday 2 November. A fine range of landscape and figure drawings from private collections and dating from the early 16th to the mid-19th century is fresh to the market. 

Of special interest in this sale is a previously unpublished landscape drawing by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn (Leiden 1606 - 1669 Amsterdam), with an Inn on a Dyke. The drawing in pen and brown ink and wash, measuring 104 by 201mm, is estimated to fetch € 80,000-120,00. Rembrandt’s drawings of the farms, roads and dykes that he saw on his various walks around the outskirts of Amsterdam have long been the subject of both fascination and research. This previously unpublished drawing shows a rural building that combines the function of an inn with the form of a typical farm of the period. The roofline of the main building appears to rise behind the chimney, suggesting a traditional ’langhuisstolp’ construction. From the lie of the land it becomes clear that the Inn must have been located on one of the main sea dykes on the outskirts of Amsterdam, possibly the Spaarndammerdijk, which ran along the IJ to the west of Amsterdam, protecting the polders on that side of the city from flooding. Though relatively modest in scale, this drawing nonetheless captures with great delicacy the presence and atmosphere of this wayside inn, nestling on the side of a dyke. Its emergence is therefore a significant addition to the very important group of drawings by Rembrandt, depicting the buildings to be found along the routes of the various walks that he seems so often to have made during the 1650s, from Amsterdam to the surrounding villages and towns.

Beautiful and rare is a delicate river landscape by Cornelis Vroom, executed in pen and brown ink and wash (estimate € 80,000-100,000). Vroom’s landscape drawings are among the most original works of their type to have been produced in 17th century Holland. They are also extremely scarce: only four major drawings by Vroom are still in private hands, and hardly more than twenty others in museums. 

An intriguing watercolour and gouache by Herman Henstenburgh depicts a Monkey with a basket of flowers on a stone ledge. Henstenburgh (Hoorn 1667-1726) is best known for his purely decorative still-life and natural history compositions. He also made a small number of works with overt symbolic content. The present work is one of the artist’s finest and liveliest compositions of this type, along with the Vanitas in the Unicorno Collection (sold, Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 19 May 2004, lot 199). The significant non-floral element of the composition is the monkey, an animal with a variety of symbolic associations. The early Middle Ages saw the monkey as representative of the devil, and therefore heresy and paganism. Later in the period it developed other connotations which are clearly more pertinent to this composition. As an artist’s skill was seen as essentially imitative, the monkey, an animal known for its imitativeness, became symbolic of the art of painting and sculpture. The saying ’Ars simia Naturae’ (’Art is the ape of nature’) was a popular source of inspiration for 17th Century Flemish painters, who would depict the artist as a monkey either painting or sculpting a portrait, usually of a human, female subject. Apes would also be depicted in other roles, such as drinking and dancing, or playing musical instruments. Despite the monkey in this drawing being portrayed in a less active role, it seems that Henstenburgh still intended it to be expressive of the vanity, folly and pretentiousness of man. Henstenburgh’s watercolour and gouache on vellum is estimated € 60,000-80,000

The Crucifixion, a drawing by Hans Bol (Mechelen 1534 - c.1593 Amsterdam), is signed and dated in brown ink, lower left: HA.S BOL/1573. Bol has based his image on the version of the story provided by St. John (19: 31-34), who includes several episodes and details not described in the other Gospels. The drawing appears to have been made as a preparatory study for the central panel of a small painted triptych which would have been used as a domestic devotional altar. It appears that Bol must have been particularly satisfied with this composition, as he produced several other versions of it during the course of his career: in addition to the painting of 1593 there survive two gouaches, dated 1587 and 1590, now in the Rhode Island School of Design, and Budapest Museum of Fine Arts (estimate: € 40,000-60,000).

Furthermore, the sale offers fine drawings by Dutch and Flemish artists from the 16th to the 18th century, including several works by Josephus Augustus Knip, marine drawings by Willem van de Velde the Younger and works by Cornelis Dusart. A drawing by Peter Paul Rubens of a Mother and child is estimated € 30,000-40,000.

On view: 29 October to 1 November 2004, 10am to 5pm daily, Sotheby’s Amsterdam

Sale: Tuesday 2 November at 7pm 






Today's News

January 29, 2015

2,200 pillaged artefacts, many from ancient Egypt, seized in European crackdown

Britain's National Gallery set for 5-day strike; walkout will cause "serious disruption"

The Museo del Prado announces the recent acquisition of the Juan Bordes Library

Los Angeles collectors Jane and Marc Nathanson give major artworks to LACMA

Exhibition of two painted bronze sculptures by Georg Baselitz and Mark Grotjahn opens at Gagosian Athens

Property from an important Swedish collection to be offered at Sotheby's London

Snakes 70 million years older than thought: Study in the journal Nature Communications

Bart van der Heide announced as new Chief Curator of Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Restored Detective Comics #27, Batman's 1939 debut, may bring $100,000+ in New York Comics Auction

High Museum of Art names Katherine Jentleson new Curator of Folk and Self-taught Art

New takes on modern design, William Wegman's art are highlights at Krannert Art Museum

World-leading project saves Robert Falcon Scott's and Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic legacy

Exhibition of Nordic digital, moving image, and light-based art opens at Scandinavia House

London based artist Ruth Ewan brings to life the French Republican Calendar

Pangolin London's first exhibition devoted to Breon O'Casey opens in London

Exhibition of handcrafted slide projections by Luther Price opens at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

Street artists spruce up Spanish port

Joanna Mackiewicz-Gemes opens new gallery space with first UK solo presentation of Marek Szczesny

'Tony Oursler: template / variant / friend / stranger' opens at Lisson Gallery

Past meets present on February 12 at Saffronart's Live Auctions

De Bijenkorf starts Artist in Residence project at the Rijksmuseum: Room On The Roof

Solo exhibition of Iraqi artist Faisel Laibi Sahi's recent paintings opens at Meem Gallery

Carlton Rochell Asian Art announces Asia Week exhibition: Indian, Himalayan and Southeast Asian Art

Sarasota Sculpture Center announces 'Rubber, Metal & Stone, Small Works, Sculptures & Drawings'

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Egypt conservationists to sue over 'botched' Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun mask repair

2.- Scrolls scorched by Vesuvius may be read again thanks to 21st century technology

3.- Italian government seizes more than 5,000 looted antiquities in record 45-million-euro haul

4.- Remains of at least five people found in Alexander the Great-era tomb in Amphipolis

5.- Munich poised to lift ban on Holocaust memorial project known as Stolpersteine

6.- Rare coin records smashed by Heritage Auctions at Florida United Numismatists Convention

7.- Bonhams to offer Alan Turing's hidden manuscript on the foundations of mathematics and computer science

8.- Jane Wilson, painter of luminous landscapes, dies at the age of 90 in New York

9.- First exhibition in the UK to examine Rubens’ influence on art history opens in London

10.- Paul Simonon presents a series of new paintings at London's Institute of Contemporary Arts

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