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Aelbert Jacobsz. Cuyp (1620 - 1691)

Lot 563: Ludolf Bakhuizen (Emden, East Frisia 1630-1708 Amsterdam)


April 11, 2002
London, United Kingdom

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The IJ, Amsterdam, with a ferryboat under full sail before a fluyt, Dutch men-o'-war at anchor beyond signed 'Lud: Bac' (on the flag, centre left) oil on canvas 171/2 x 23 1/8 in. (44.5 x 58.8 cm.) PROVENANCE H.R.H. Charles Ferdinand de Bourbon, duc de Berry (1778-1820), Palais de l'Elys‚e, Paris, by whom bequeathed to his wife H.R.H. Marie Caroline de Bourbon, duchesse de Berry (1798-1870), chƒteau of Rosny-sur-Seine, exhibited for private sale at Christie's, London, April 1834, 'In the Port of Amsterdam, Men-of-War and Merchant Vessels are moored; a Market-boat is approaching the shore full of passengers -- the sea is agitated by a slight breeze. This delightful picture, admirable for its extreme truth and delicacy, may be compared to the finest works of W. Van de Velde. On canvas. 18" h x 23 1/4' (unsold at œ280); Bataillard and Paillet, Paris, 4-6 April 1837, lot 44 (sold 3,948 francs). Edmund Higginson, Saltmarsh Castle, by 1842; Christie's, London, 6 June [=3rd day] 1846, lot 209 (190 gns. to Emery). Sir Francis Cook, 1st Bt. (1817-1901), Doughty House, Richmond, by whom acquired in 1872 for 70 gns. (recorded in the Doughty House catalogue, loc. cit.), and by descent at Doughty House to Sir Francis Cook, 4th Bt. (b. 1907). With Thos. Agnew & Sons, London, 1946. Anonymous Sale; Christie's, New York, 12 January 1996, lot 183 (to Dreesmann). Dr Anton C.R. Dreesmann (inventory no. A-83). LITERATURE J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonn‚, etc., VI, London, 1835, p. 450, no. 147, 'A View on the River Y, embracing a portion of the dock yards at Amsterdam, represented under the appearance of a light breeze. Among the several objects, the nearest one to the spectator, is a small market boat, containing ten persons, passing towards the left [i.e. the viewer's right] under a white fore and a red main sail, of a triangular form: beyond this may be observed a red house, and some clusters of trees near a jetty, alongside of which lies a fishing boat. On the opposite side is a small boat containing baskets, and managed by a single sailor: extending the view on this side, several ships of war and merchantmen are riding at anchor, or otherwise disposed near the dock yard. A carefully-finished work of the master.' Ibid., IX, Supplement, London, 1842, p. 780, no. 15. C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonn‚, etc., VII, London, 1923, p. 230, no. 15, incorrectly confusing the picture with that in the Morrison Collection, Basildon Park (see below). NOTES We are very grateful to Dr. Gerlinde de Beer for confirming the attribution to Bakhuizen, on the basis of a transparency, and for her assistance in cataloguing this lot. Dr. de Beer, whose forthcoming monograph on the artist, Leben und Werk des Ludolf Backhuysen. 1630-1708, is to be published in March 2002 (Waanders, Zwolle), and whose catalogue raisonn‚ of the artist's works is in preparation, dates the work to the 1680s. According to Houbraken, Bakhuizen learnt to paint in oils from the marine painters Hendrick Dubbels and Allaert van Everdingen. He was a recognized marine painter by 1658, the year in which he painted the background with ships for Bartholomeus van der Helst's Portrait of a Lady (Brussels, Mus‚e des Arts Anciens), although he did not join the Amsterdam guild of painters until 1663. Thereafter, however, his fame as a marine specialist was rapidly established, winning him, for example, the commission in 1665 from the burgomaster of Amsterdam of a View of Amsterdam and the IJ (Paris, Louvre), intended as a diplomatic gift for Hugues de Lionne, King Louis XIV's Foreign Minister. With the resumption of hostilities between the Netherlands and England in 1672, the Willems van de Velde moved to England, and Bakhuizen became the leading marine painter in the Netherlands. His success brought him to the attention of many of the leading patrons of Europe including, according to Houbraken, Grand Duke Cosimo III de' Medici, King Frederick I of Prussia, the Elector of Saxony, and Tsar Peter the Great, who all visited his studio, indeed Peter the Great was reputed to have taken drawing lessons from him. Unlike the Van de Veldes, who were more concerned with representing the technical aspects of sailing vessels and naval battles, Bakhuizen depicted the perpetually changing climate and the magnificent skies of the Netherlands. Much of his work, moreover, and including the present picture, glorifies Amsterdam and the mercantile trade that had made it great. With that aim in mind, he made his first etchings in 1701 at the age of 71, as he proudly stated on the title page of D'Y stroom en zeegezichten ('Views of the River IJ and the sea'): a series of harbour scenes preceded by a representation of the Maid of Amsterdam in a triumphal chariot. The present picture is a mature work, characterised by the lighter palette, brighter than in his earlier works which are typically of a silvery-grey tonality (for example the Ships in a Gathering Storm of 1658 in the Museum der bildenden Knste, Leipzig). In addition, Bakhuizen has employed a more developed composition, demonstrating his increasingly sophisticated use of patches of light on the sea, between the strips of land on either side, to increase the sense of depth within the composition. This is enhanced by the strong receding diagonal running from the foreground rowing-boat to the end of the Blauwhoofd bastion. The view depicted shows the river IJ before Amsterdam (seen in the left distance), at the confluence at the Volewijk; Bakhuizen would have been standing on the northern bank of the IJ. In the far centre is the windmill on the so-called 'Blauwhoofd', close to the Dutch East India Company's complex. The building on the right is the Tolhuis (customs house), built in 1662, beside which are the gallows that provided (they were dismantled in 1795) the sobriquet 'The Gallows at Volewijk', by which this view is also known. The view was a popular one, painted one more than one occasion by Bakhuizen and other artists, for example Hendrik Dubbels and Abraham Storck (for example the latter's View of the IJ in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede). There are drawings by Bakhuizen in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem (fig. a), and the Kunsthalle, Hamburg, showing the same view, with a different arrangements of the boats. The Volewijk was originally a region of reed-land that ended with one half in the IJ. The area was known for its quantity of wildfowl, which are believed to have given its name (it possibly derives from Vogelwijk - vogel=bird). The 'Blauwhoofd', one of the 26 bolwerken that surrounded the city until circa 1850, was on the north-west side of the IJ, on the site today of the Willem Barentszplein; its official name was 'Het bolwerk Leeuwenburg', but it was was generally known by the nickname given to it for the blue freestone of which it was constructed. The coat-of-arms on the tafferel of the centre ship are those of the city of Amsterdam. This may simply refer to the town that Backhuysen is painting, or be an actual ship's name: 'Amsterdam' or 'Het Wapen van Amsterdam' (the Arms of Amsterdam). Both were common names, but the only ship of the right size that appears at the time is the Amsterdam, a 64-gun ship of the line built in Amsterdam in 1688 and serving until 1712, of which there is a drawing by Van de Velde in the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam. The fluyt appears to have a crab on its tafferel; a fluyt of that name belonged to the Dutch East India Company (see J.R. Bruin, Dutch-Asiatic Shipping in the 17th and 18th centuries ). A large ship (644 tons), it was built in 1688 at Hoorn and sailed to Batavia in 1689 for the Company, returning in 1691 with cargo for the Amsterdam chamber; it made at least two other voyages before being sold in 1704. The provenance of the picture has been slightly confused in the past. Listed (and described in great detail) by Smith as the picture from the de Berry and Higginson collections, Hofstede ( loc. cit.) erroneously connected it with another de Berry picture described by Waagen as being in the collection of James Morrison at Basildon Park ( Galleries and Cabinets of Art, etc., London, 1857, p. 309: 'A slightly agitated sea with several boats in the foreground; a man-of-war in the middle distance. 1 ft. 5 in. high, 1 ft. 9 in. wide'). That painting (which is shorter by 2 in. than that listed by Smith), remains in the possession of Morrison's descendants and is of an entirely different composition. Charles-Ferdinand de Bourbon, duc de Berry, the son of King Charles X of France, was a keen patron of the arts and assembled an important collection of pictures at his residence, the Elys‚e Palace (now the residence of the President of France). In 1816, he married Princess Marie-Caroline de Bourbon, daughter of King Francis II of Naples. After the duc's assassination in 1820, Marie-Caroline, who was painted by Fran‡ois Pascal Simeon, baron G‚rard (1820) and Sir Thomas Lawrence (1825; both Chƒteau de Versailles), found the arts a consolation, buying primarily contemporary French art. Much of the collection was moved to her principal residence, the chƒteau of Rosny-sur-Seine, which her husband had bought for her in 1818, and which was filled with the finest furniture of the age. The picture collection, of which the majority of the Old Masters had been acquired by her late husband, included works such as Isaack van Ostade's Halt at the Inn, Jan van der Heyden's Architectural capriccio (both National Gallery, Washington, D.C.), Aelbert Cuyp's Avenue at Meerdevoort, Potter's Cattle in stormy weather (both Wallace Collection, London), Frans van Mieris' Pictura (J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu) and Willem van de Velde's Dutch vessels close inshore at low tide, men bathing (National Gallery, London). Other remnants of the de Berrys' incomparable collections of pictures, jewellery, furniture and porcelain can be seen at Rosny and in the Mus‚e des Arts D‚coratifs, Bordeaux. The July Revolution of 1830 drove her into exile, and much of what she owned was dispersed in sales or among her Austrian and Italian descendants. Sir Francis Cook became the head of his father's textile, manufacturing and wholesaling firm in 1869, establishing through it a fortune that enabled him to become one of the principal collectors of antique Greek and Roman sculpture in the Victorian era, as well as a major buyer of paintings, acquiring his collection mostly at auction between 1855 and 1870. Cook's wide ranging collection of paintings at Doughty House was one of the finest of his time, including works such as Titian's celebrated Portrait of Ranuccio Farnese, Fra Angelico and Fra Filippo Lippi's Adoration of the Magi, Bellini's Episode from the life of Publius Cornelius Scipio, Fran‡ois Clouet's A Lady in her Bath, Mantegna's Christ Child blessing (all Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art), Van Eyck's Three Maries at the Sepulchre (Rotterdam, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum) and Titian's Portrait of a Lady (London, National Gallery).

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