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

Townspeople and cattle in the Bagijnestraat with the Westerkerk in the background, Enkhuizen

Details
Cornelis Springer (Amsterdam 1817-1891 Hilversum)
Townspeople and cattle in the Bagijnestraat with the Westerkerk in the background, Enkhuizen
signed and dated 'C Springer 1873.' (lower right); and signed and dated again and inscribed 'Le soussigné declare que ce tableau, representant une vue sur l'Eglise occidentale d' Enkhuyzenen Pays Bas est peint par lui Amsterdam' (on a label attached to the reverse), with the artist's seals
oil on panel
60.5 x 49.5 cm.
Provenance
Purchased directly from the artist by F. de la Haye, Antwerp, 8 April 1873 (Dfl. 900).
Presumably acquired by either the great-grandparents or the grandparents of the present owner.
Literature
W. Laanstra, H.C. de Bruijn, J.H.A. Ringeling, Cornelis Springer
(1817-1891)
, Utrecht, 1984, p. 178, no. 73-3, as 'De Westerkerk te Enkhuizen' (erroneously as with P.A. Scheen, The Hague, 1954).

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Lot Essay

Springer frequently travelled to the enchanting town of Enkhuizen and its neighbouring village Hoorn during the 1860s and 1870s. It appears to have been his favourite site to depict, apart from his native town Amsterdam, as many views of Enkhuizen are recorded. Notable are his carefully orchestrated views of the Zuiderhavendijk in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. SK-A-2388) and of the Kaasmarkt in the Zuiderzeemuseum, Enkhuizen (inv. no. ZZM 009266). This well-preserved view is the only documented painted depiction of the Bagijnestraat.

Springer's first visits to Enkhuizen date from 1864 and 1865, resulting in a series of 16 pencil drawings which are kept in the collection of the Technische Universiteit, Delft (see fig. 1). In the year of 1873 he painted several crowded streets and canals in Enkhuizen, also featuring the Westerkerk. Originally called the Sint Gommaruskerk, the construction of this church began as early as the second half of the 14th Century. Even today, it is considered to be a remarkable example of the Dutch Gothic style. The sunlit wooden belfry in the present picture, situated on the eastern side of the church, was erected in 1519.
In this view Springer draws the spectator into the sunlit street, where figures are engaged in their daily activities. In the centre herdsmen are leading their cattle through the cobbled street, flanked by a group of townspeople on the right and by a young woman feeding chickens on the left. Looking down the street, the artist placed staffage in the brightly lit open area at the façade of the South wing of the Westerkerk. A warm atmosphere is created by a masterful rendering of the light. Even in the shadowy parts the effects of indirect light are captured in every detail. The present lot shows all the artistic and technical skills Springer is famous for: the brilliant play of strongly contrasting light and shadow, the detailed rendering of the historical gables, an abundance of architectural details, as well as his lively staffage.

Cornelis Springer is regarded as the master of Dutch architectural painting of the 19th Century. He grew up in a family of architects and building contractors in Amsterdam. Initially painting town the contemporary trend of idealizing the past and the Dutch national heritage, from the early 1850s onwards, Springer abandoned the fantasy element in his work and concentrated on existing topographical locations, responding to an increasing demand for topographically accurate subjects.

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