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    Sale 11936

    Old Masters: Part II

    14 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 274

    Emanuel de Witte (Alkmaar c. 1617-1691/2 Amsterdam)

    The choir of the New Church, Amsterdam, with figures

    Price Realised  


    Emanuel de Witte (Alkmaar c. 1617-1691/2 Amsterdam)
    The choir of the New Church, Amsterdam, with figures
    signed and dated 'E DE. WittE. / 165...' (center left, at the base of the screen)
    oil on panel
    20 ¾ x 15 ½ in. (52.8 x 39.4 cm.)

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    Acknowledged as one of the greatest architectural painters of the seventeenth century, Emanuel de Witte joined the Guild of Saint Luke in Delft in 1642, moving to Amsterdam in 1652. Sometime after 1650 he abandoned the depiction of historical themes and began painting lofty church interiors. Once he adopted the theme of architectural perspectives, his stylistic development became a "steady refinement of visual effects" rather than a search for new compositional challenges. Moreover, as Dr. Liedtke wrote, "De Witte worked in a more intuitive than analytical way" (Architectural Painting in Delft, Doornspijk,1982, p. 76). Following Manke, he elaborated: "Just as a contemporary landscape painter might use the same general arrangement of trees, hills and a river as an earlier artist but paint the view in a different style, De Witte transformed the Delft-type church interior into an image of space and light (rather than of forms that define a space and respond to light on their own tactile terms), and at the same time into an interior newly evocative of mood" (ibid., p. 77). De Witte's fascination with the subtle effects of light is on full display in this lovely panel, in which sunbeams cascade down into the church, illuminating the white columns and creating a startling contrast to the single flourish of red from the standing figure's garments.


    Sir Richard Sutton, Sutton Park.
    Arthur Tate.
    with David Koetser, New York, 1953-1954.
    Private collection.
    with Christophe Janet, New York, 1984, where acquired by
    Walter and Nancy Liedtke.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Collection of Walter and Nancy Liedtke

    The art world lost one of its brightest and most passionate scholars when Dr. Walter Liedtke died last year. Lietdke was not only one of the world’s preeminent authorities on Dutch and Flemish painting, but also a trusted advisor to many collectors and a cherished friend, always eager to engage in enlightening and often heated discussions about topics spanning the history of art. After earning his master’s degree at Brown and his doctorate at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, Dr. Liedtke taught for four years at Ohio State University. He was a prolific scholar, but perhaps his most significant publications appeared toward the beginning and end of his truncated career: Architectural Paintings in Delft in 1982 and Vermeer. The Complete Paintings in 2008. In 1979, he began his career at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as a Mellon Fellow. The following year he became curator of Dutch and Flemish paintings in the European Paintings department, where he organized many acclaimed and ground-breaking exhibitions, including Rembrandt/Not Rembrandt in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995-1996), Vermeer and the Delft School (2001), and The Age of Rembrandt (2007). Despite this flurry of activity, Dr. Liedtke did not neglect his duty as a custodian of the museum’s collections. His 1984 catalogue of the Metropolitan Museum’s Flemish paintings and his comprehensive 2007 catalogue of the museum’s Dutch paintings are outstanding testaments of their kind. Dr. Liedtke rarely proposed acquisitions at the Metropolitan Museum, but when he did, the museum acquired outstanding examples of Dutch and Flemish paintings that filled significant gaps in an already strong collection. In just over a decade, because of Liedtke’s encouragement and support, the Met acquired Peter Paul Rubens’ Forest at Dawn with a Deer Hunt (1990), Bartholomeus Breenberg’s Preaching of St. John the Baptist (1991), Joaquim Wtewael’s Golden Age (1993) and Emanuel de Witte’s Interor of the Oude Kerk, Delf (2001). Liedtke’s discerning eye and profound intellectual curiosity are reflected in the paintings, prints and Chinese export porcelain that he and his wife, Nancy, lovingly acquired over the years.

    Property from the Collection of Walter and Nancy Liedtke


    I. Manke, Emanuel de Witte, Amsterdam, 1963, no. 92, fig. 20.


    New York, Christophe Janet, The Intimate Vision, as seen through a selection of 17th century Dutch paintings, 19 March-21 April 1984.