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    Sale 2801

    19th CenturyEuropean Art

    14 October 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 189

    Bernardus Johannes Blommers (Dutch, 1845-1914)

    The first born

    Price Realised  

    Bernardus Johannes Blommers (Dutch, 1845-1914)
    The first born
    signed 'Blommers' (lower right)
    oil on canvas
    67.5 x 46.5 cm.


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    The present painting by Blommers is a fine and characteristic work which displays all the specific qualities of his art: his ability to create distinctive compositions, masterful brushwork, a refined sense of colour and foremost his preference for intimate scenes with an anecdotal character. These qualities were to make him one of the most admired and successful representatives of Dutch painting during his lifetime.

    The painting shows a group of women from Scheveningen on a tree-lined path. One is obviously a young mother as she holds a baby in her arms. The others, who she has just encountered, bend forward to see the new born child. The women wear the traditional Scheveningen bonnets with two flaps on the sides and the two gold decorations attached to the rim on the forehead. One of the women also carries a typical Scheveningen flat straw hat in her right hand. The composition is bold in the grouping of the figures since two are standing with their backs towards the viewer while the third on the left is only half visible. She in fact serves as the key visual pin for the viewer, as through her right eye which is just visible over the shoulder of her companion, one witnesses the intimate scene which takes place before us.

    The airy atmosphere of the Blommers' paintings seem to reflect his personal life which was one of happiness, success and many social contacts. As visitors to the Blommers household confirmed, the key role in the life of the painter was played by his wife Anna Blommers- van der Toorn, herself the daughter of a fisherfamily from Scheveningen. Blommers married her in 1871 and had ten children with her. Anna is known to have frequently posed for her husband. It is therefore possible, although we can not see her features very well, that the present lot depicts Anna with one of her eldest children, perhaps on the path next to the Scheveningseweg, close to the family villa on the Van Stolkweg. Because of it's roof of grey green leaves, the path was also known as the 'Corotlaantje' (path of Corot).

    Blommers' important contribution to the Hague School was not limited to his paintings. As governor of societies such as Pulchri Studio and the Hollandsche Teeken Maatschappij, he was instrumental in establishing a large number of foreign contacts. He was vital in the commercial success of the The Hague School abroad, foremost among industrialists in Great Britain, America and Canada. The present lot confirms the popularity of Hague School paintings abroad at the time, as it was at the Watson Art Galleries in Toronto more than a century ago.

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    Provenance

    Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, June 1924.
    Watson Art Galleries, Montreal.
    Anonymous sale, Christie's, Amsterdam, 24 October 2000, lot 100, where acquired by the present owner.