Cornelis Springer (Amsterdam 1817-1891 Hilversum)
Cornelis Springer (Amsterdam 1817-1891 Hilversum)

The city hall and market square of Naarden

Cornelis Springer (Amsterdam 1817-1891 Hilversum)
The city hall and market square of Naarden
signed and dated 'C Springer 1865' (lower right) and signed with intials 'CS' (lower left); and inscribed 'Le soussigné declare par ceci que ce tableaux representants (L'Hotel de ville et le marché de Naarden, prov. de la Hollande septentrionale Pays Bas) est peint par lui Amsterdam 18e Mars 65 C Springer' (on a label attached to the reverse)
oil on panel
51.5 x 42.8 cm.
with the artist's red wax seal on the reverse
with Van der Donckt Brothers, Brussels, 25 March 1865, acquired directly from the artist for fl. 325,-.
W. Laanstra, H.C. de Bruijn, J.H.A. Ringeling, Cornelis Springer (1817-1891), Utrecht, 1984, p. 148, no. 65-1, as 'Het Stadhuis te Naarden van voren gezien, bij zomer'.

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Kimberley Oldenburg
Kimberley Oldenburg

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Lot Essay

The files of the RKD in The Hague record an image of a sketch by Cornelis Springer of the town hall in Naarden. This drawing, which is in a private collection, clearly illustrates how the artist worked. After drawing a sketch on location, he subsequently executed a black and white chalk drawing in his studio with the measurements intended for his final oil painting. The artist then added figures and adapted the architectural details according to his fancy. The compositional study for the present lot clearly illustrates how the artist had already completely thought out and devised his composition in minute detail, before he started his work in oil. Furthermore his chalk drawings served another purpose. From the 1850's onwards Springer had reached such fame, that he only worked on commission for private collectors and art dealers. A patron would choose a composition on the basis of his drawings, after which Springer would paint the version in oil.

The fortified town of Naarden was rebuilt around 1350 after complete destruction during the 'Hoekse en Kabeljauwse twisten'. It was not rebuilt on its original site but more land inwards so it would block the land route to Amsterdam. This strategic decision meant that Naarden would fall victim to considerable violence in the centuries to come. The darkest day in the history of Naarden was 1 December 1572, when Spanish soldiers under the command of Don Fredrik, son of the Duke of Alba murdered more than 800 civilians in the old townhall in the Turfpoortstraat. To exile the sinister memories interdependent with the old townhall, the city council decided to acquire two houses on the Market square and convert them to a new townhall. In 1601 the new town hall was built and is known as one of the few well preserved Dutch Renaissance style buildings from this era.

The present lot is an excellent example of Cornelis Springer's mature painterly style achieved in the 1860's with its warm light, stunningly realistic representation of architecture and architectural surfaces and lively figures. All these elements are brought together in a well-engineered, balanced composition, clearly illustrating the great virtuosity of the artist.

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