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Willem Witsen (1860-1923)
Willem Witsen (1860-1923)

Carriages at the Victoria Embankment, London

Willem Witsen (1860-1923)
Carriages at the Victoria Embankment, London
signed 'Willem Witsen' (lower right)
chalk, watercolour and gouache on paper
485 x 680 mm.
Executed circa 1890.
with Kunsthandel E.J. van Wisselingh, Amsterdam, 1910.
Mrs. I. Insinger, Bilthoven.
(Possibly) Acquired from the above and thence by descent to the present owner.
H.P. Bremmer, Moderne Kunstwerken, Amsterdam, 1910, 8, IV, no. 25, as: Stationeerende cabs.
J.F. Heijbroek, 'Impressies uit de 'reuzestad'. Het verblijf van Willem Witsen in Londen (1888-1891)', in: Liber Amicorum A.G. van der Steur, Haarlem, 1988, pp. 80-81 (no. 18 and preliminary study no. 16).
J.F. Heijbroek, E.L. Wouthuysen, Portret van een kunsthandel. De firma Van Wisselingh en zijn compagnon 1838-heden, Zwolle/Amsterdam 1999, p. 88.
The Hague, Pulchri Studio / Amsterdam, E. J. van Wisselingh, 10eTentoonstelling van schilderijen en aquarellen door J. Akkeringa, M. Bauer, G.H. Breitner, G.W. Dijsselhof, W. Witsen en W. de Zwart, en eenige oudere Hollandsche en Fransche meesters benevens van toegepaste kunst door T. Nieuwenhuis, 20 June-21 July 1912, nr. 54, as: Londen.

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Irena Okoelskaja
Irena Okoelskaja 19th Century Art

Lot Essay

Witsen visited London between October 1888 and January 1891. During this period he made many sketches which he would use later in his career. His experiments with depicting dramatic yet ethereal light in his townscapes were clearly influenced by James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903). He loved to paint monumental architecture, like the Waterloo Bridge and Charing Cross Bridge, as well as urban renewals like Trafalgar Square and the Victoria Embankment. He also made a series of carriages, with modern gaslights at night or in a foggy environment when the smog engulfed the city. Witsen shows modern urban life, crowded and constantly in motion, which stagnates for a moment in the carriages that are waiting for passengers to board. A preliminary study for the present work and an etching with a similar composition is in the collection of the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam (inv.nr. RPT196420921 and inv.nr. B.61).

We kindly thank Mr. J.F. Heijbroek for his kind help with cataloguing the present lot.

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