• Lot 61

    Pyke Koch (1901-1991)

    Rustende schoorsteenveger

    Price Realised  


    Pyke Koch (1901-1991)
    Rustende schoorsteenveger
    signed and dated 'Pyke Koch. 36' (lower right); signed and titled 'Pyke Koch rustende schoorsteenveger, resting chimney sweep' (on the reverse)
    oil on panel
    30 x 52 cm.
    Painted in 1936

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    Pyke Koch was one of the most important Dutch artists of the interbellum, famous for his technique and known for his ambiguous subjects. Together with artists like Carel Willink and Wim Schuhmacher he gave shape to realism between the wars, called Magisch realisme, clearly connected to Neue Sachlichkeit in Germany.

    Koch depicted the chimney sweep three times in total of which the present lot is the earliest. The other two are Staande Schoorsteenveger I from 1943 (Blotkamp no.36, on loan to museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam) and Staande Schoorsteenveger II, from 1944 (Blotkamp no.38, Haags Gemeentemuseum, The Hague). The two later paintings show a standing chimney sweep next to a chimney, comparable to the Saint Sebastian of Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna. The subject of the chimney sweep refers to sexuality, which can be concluded from ribald songs of that period.

    The present lot shows a reclining chimney sweep in a closed garden with vegetation. The chimney sweep is dreaming between the nettles and has a mysterious smile on his face. He holds a little blue flower in his hand, which could indicate lamour blue, a reference to homosexuality or represents a forget-me-not, a symbol of hope and love. Bram Kempers suggests (Blotkamp/Kempers 1995) that this flower was painted by Koch and then removed because of a too explicit reference to homosexuality. Koch has painted it back again at the request of the family of the present owners in the 1970’s. The fence around the garden is closed with an obvious lock, a possible reference to an unattainable secret love. Bram Kempers wrote about the resting chimney sweep: ‘The chimney sweep is a synthesis of high art and folk art, Renaissance art and life on the street. ‘Rustende schoorsteenveger’ has a mysterious smile on his face, the same smile which made Leonardo da Vinci famous.’ (Bram Kempers, 1995, p. 78).

    Besides the symbolism, Koch was very interested in another aspect of the artistic profession; the technique. The way he paints layer upon layer, the attention and patience he spent on material expression and details, the beautiful folds of the chimney sweep’s suit and the meticulous detailing of the plants and flowers in the garden, show Koch's great appreciation for the Old Masters.

    Rustende Schoorsteenveger’ was last shown at an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in 1972 and is now being offered for sale by the family of the first known owner.

    Special Notice

    Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.


    Mrs. G. Bingham-Ten Cate, Lawrenceville.
    By descent from the above to the present owner.


    S.P. Abas, 'Schilders van een andere werkelijkheid. Raoul Hynckes, Pyke Koch, Carel Willink', in: De Vrije Bladen, vol. 14, no. 10, 1937, pp. 15, 22 (illustrated).
    J. Engelman, 'Droomen tusschen brandnetels', in: De Groene Amsterdammer, vol. 12, 13 March 1937 (illustrated).
    A. Plasschaert, 'Pyke Koch', in: Verf en kunst, 1937, p. 8 (illustrated).
    A. Bosman, 'Pyke Koch', in: Op de hoogte, vol. 35, no. 11, November 1938, p. 330 (illustrated).
    A. Bosman, 'Pyke Koch', in: Morks-Magazijn, vol. 42, no. 10, 1940, p. 479 (illustrated).
    C. Debrot, 'De vrouw in de tuin', in: Criterium, vol. 2, no. 2, 1941, pp. 118 - 119 (illustrated).
    J. Engelman, Pyke Koch, Amsterdam, 1941 (illustrated).
    D. Hannema, ' Een nieuwe schepping van Pyke Koch', in: De Schouw, vol. 1, 1942, p. 4.
    K. Niehaus, Levende Nederlandsche kunst, Amsterdam, 1942, p. 89.
    J. Engelman, 'Het literaire element bij de Nieuwe Realisten', in: Pen en Penseel, special edition of Critisch Bulletin, The Hague, 1947, pp. 127 - 128 (illustrated).
    J.H.M. van der Marck, Neo-realisme in de Nederlandse schilderkunst, Amsterdam, 1960, p. 9 (illustrated).
    C. Blotkamp, Pyke Koch, Amsterdam, 1972, pp. 91 - 92, 98, 163 (illustrated).
    L. van Tilborgh, 'Freudian motifs in the oeuvre of Pyke Koch', in: Simiolus, vol. 15, 1985, p. 143 (illustrated).
    C. Blotkamp, 'De heilsoldate moet eruit. Over Koch en Nijhoff', in: Jong Holland, vol. 2, no. 2, May 1986, p. 23.
    C. Blotkamp, B. Kempers (a.o.), Pyke Koch: paintings and drawings, Rotterdam, 1995, no. 27, p. 213 (illustrated).
    J. Zutter, Pyke Koch Réalisme Magique aux Pays-Bas, Lausanne, 1995, p. 54, no. 75 (illustrated).


    Pittsburg, Carnegie Institute, The 1937 International Exhibition of Paintings, 14 October - 5 December 1937, no. 264.
    Venice, XXIa Esposizione Biennale Internazionale d'Arte, 1 June - 30 September 1938, no. 4.
    Rotterdam, Volksuniversiteit, Tentoonstelling van werken van levende kunstenaars uit Noord- en Zuid-Nederland, 21 December 1938 - 1 January 1939, no. 51.
    Utrecht, Centraal Museum. Hedendaagsche Nederlandsche Schilderkunst, 22 December 1940 - 19 January 1941, no. 28.
    Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, Pyke Koch, 6 October - 19 November 1972, no. 9.