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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
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Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn

A View of Amsterdam from the north-west (B., Holl. 210; H. 176)

Details
Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn
A View of Amsterdam from the north-west (B., Holl. 210; H. 176)
etching, circa 1640, watermark Foolscap with five-pointed Collar (cf. A. & F., p. 107, K.a.), a good impression, the buildings on the horizon to the left slightly faint, a little wear in the reeds of the bank, with margins, a few pale foxmarks and slight discoloration, a small repaired area at the upper left, minor thin spots on the reverse at the left sheet edge, otherwise in generally good condition
(FPR 40)
P. 113 x 155 mm., S. 119 x 160 mm.
Provenance
R. Ledoux-Lebard (L. 1739)
A. J. Begheyn (not in Lugt)
Christie's, London, 29 June 1990, lot 170
Special Notice

No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.

Lot Essay

This is thought to be Rembrandt's first landscape etching and might well have been drawn on a prepared plate en plein air, with details added later back in his studio. The low viewpoint and his ratio of sky to land reflect his debt to the panoramas of Jan van Goyen, Salomon van Ruysdael and Hercules Seghers.

The viewpoint on the Kadijk, which ran up the north-eastern edge of the city, was only a short walk from his house on the St. Anthoniesbreestraat. From left to right it shows the Haringspakkerstoren, the Oude Kerke, the Montelbaanstoren, the warehouses of the East India Company, the windmill on the Rijzenhoofd, the Zuiderkerk, and the windmills that stretched all the way to the Blauwbrug. The representation is not painstakingly accurate, but balances an atmospheric approach with strict veracity. The order of the buildings is faithfully recorded, but their heights and positions have been adjusted.

If this is indeed his first landscape then an obvious but unanswerable question arises: Why did the artist wait until the age of 35 to produce it - particularly when he had such a facility with the genre?
Reproduced actual size
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