• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2801

    19th CenturyEuropean Art

    14 October 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 246

    Andreas Schelfhout (Dutch, 1787-1870)

    Skaters near a koek-en-zopie with windmills beyond

    Price Realised  


    Andreas Schelfhout (Dutch, 1787-1870)
    Skaters near a koek-en-zopie with windmills beyond
    signed and dated 'A Schelfhout 1851' (lower left)
    oil on panel
    43 x 58.5 cm.

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    Andreas Schelfhout was one of the foremost Dutch romantic painters of the 19th Century. Excelling in a detailed depiction of translucent ice and powdery snow, his winter landscapes are his most sought-after subjects. He began his career at his father's workshop in the framing business, painting various summer landscapes at the same time. In 1815 Schelfhout founded his own workshop and soon received acclaim for his beautifully detailed winter-scenes with frozen rivers populated by skaters and the koek-en-zopie, a stall usually on the ice where passers by could warm up with hot soup. The koek means 'cake' and zopie stems from the word 'soopje' which means 'sip'. Because of the cold of winter, numerous alcoholic sips could also be consumed.

    His paintings from before 1830 show a certain rigidity, but after 1840 the artist's technique came to full maturity. The present painting from 1851 is a salient example of this with fine detailing in the loose blocks of ice, the cracks in the ice and skater's tracks which are created using very fine brushes. Here, Andreas Schelfhout combines technical excellence with a mature sense of composition and use of natural colours. Looking across the frozen waterway he portrayed a large number of figures in motion. Some are resting by the koek-en-zopie whilst others are gliding by. A faggot-gatherer in the foreground seems to observe the entire scene from a vantage point similar to that of the spectator. His excellent lighting plan allows for long shadows to be cast across the ice in streaks and lead the eye over a long distance to a picturesque village in the distance. Lovely colour accents are provided by, for example, the fresh green of the sledge and the red dress of a female skater beyond.

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    Kunsthandel Pieter A. Scheen, The Hague, 1976.
    Richard Green, London, 1995, where acquired by the present owner.


    Pieter A. Scheen, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1950, The Hague 1970, ill.no. 370.
    Willem Laanstra, Andreas Schelfhout 1787-1870, Amsterdam 1995, cat.no. 1851-5, p. 101, ill., as: Skaters on a river near a saw-mill.


    The Hague, Pieter A. Scheen, Zomertentoonstelling, Romantische en Haagse School, August-September 1976, cat.no. 26, as: IJsgezicht.