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GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)
GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)
GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)
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GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)
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These lots have been imported from outside of the … Read more PROPERTY OF A DUTCH NOBLE FAMILY
GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)

The Grote Markt, Haarlem, looking west, with St Bavo's and the fish market

Details
GERRIT ADRIAENSZ. BERCKHEYDE (HAARLEM 1638-1698)
The Grote Markt, Haarlem, looking west, with St Bavo's and the fish market
indistinctly signed ‘G Be….’ (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 x 21 1⁄2 in. (63.5 x 54.6 cm.)
Provenance
By descent in a Dutch Noble family for several generations.
Special notice

These lots have been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

This striking view from the north trancept of St. Bavo's towards the Grote Markt in Berckheyde's native Haarlem is previously unpublished having only recently been re-discovered following its emergence from a Dutch private collection.
Berckheyde can be considered, along with Jan van der Heyden, as one of the greatest of all Dutch painters of townscapes. He painted several views of Amsterdam and The Hague during the course of his career, but it is for views of his native Haarlem that he is most celebrated. He joined the painters’ guild there in 1660 and later in that decade began to paint views of the city's landmarks, presumably in response to local demand (see W. Liedtke, 'Pride in Perspective: The Dutch Townscape', in Connoisseur, CC, April 1979, pp. 264-73). The setting for most of his Haarlem views was the Grote Markt which, like the Dam in Amsterdam, was the commercial and civic hub of the city. Its principal buildings - the church of St. Bavo's, the town hall and Lieven de Key's Vleeshal (meat market) - represented Haarlem's religious, political and commercial institutions that together embodied the city's identity and source of pride.
This striking view of the fish market is seen from the east of the Klokhuisplein (belfry square), looking west towards the Grote Markt and town hall. It is dominated by the north transept of St. Bavo's or Grote Kerk, built between the end of the fourteenth and beginning of the fifteenth centuries. In the shadow at its base are the fish stalls, constructed in 1603 away from the heat of the sun, where sweet and salt water fish was sold, sourced as far as from the isle of Vlieland. The fish hall belonged to the town, but was built on church premises and the church shared in the rental income of the stalls. The houses opposite the fish market, on the north side of the square, no longer exist, except for the house to the far right of the composition, De Hoofdwacht (The Head Watch). De Hoofdwacht was built in the thirteenth century and is acknowledged to be the oldest building in Haarlem. It served as the first town hall and housed various dignitaries. In circa 1560, the humanist Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert ran a printshop in the lower part. Its Baroque façade dates from 1641. From 1755 onwards, De Hoofdwacht served as the headquarters of the civic guard, hence its name. The new town hall at the western end of the square was built in the late fourteenth century on the site of the former Gravenzaal, the hunting lodge of the Counts of Holland, and underwent several alterations in the first half of the seventeenth century. The classical projecting façade, here visible above the fish stalls, on the right, was re-designed by Lieven de Key in 1633; and the wing on the right, receding down the Zijlstraat, was added in circa 1620-30. The boxes on top of the townhall's roof were nesting boxes for storks. The town hall survives today with a few further modifications. The projecting balcony over a doric columned portico on the right (again largely hidden here by the fish stalls) was destroyed in 1886. The artist lived less than 100 metres away on the Jansstraat which ran northwards from the Grote Markt, opposite the fish market, just to the right of this viewpoint.
It is now generally accepted that Berckheyde's vision of Haarlem was strongly influenced by Samuel Ampzing's laudatory, topographical account of the city - Beschryvinge ende lof der stad Haerlem ('Description and Praise of the City of Haarlem'), published in 1628 and which, in Lawrence's words - 'extolled Haarlem's magnificent buildings, soaring towers and well-kept buildings, as well as her virtue and glory' (C. Lawrence, Gerrit Adriaensz. Berckheyde, Doornspijk, 1991, p. 29). Liedtke goes so far as to suggest that many of Berckheyde's Haarlem scenes were in effect the pictorial equivalents of Ampzing's verse, remarking that: 'the book as well as paintings of Haarlem buildings, shared the same market and fulfilled similar functions' (see W. Liedtke, in Otto Naumann Ltd., Inaugural Exhibition of Old Master paintings, exhibition catalogue, New York, 1995, p. 114, under no. 25). The present composition is altogether more original and perfectly illustrates the artist's desire in the mid-1670s to experiment with new perspectives. As Lawrence stated: 'For reasons that are not clear, around 1674 Berckheyde abandoned this trusted scheme in several pictures which demonstrate his inventive and often brilliant approach to composition' (op. cit., p. 37). The outcome in this case is an arrestingly composed tour de force dominated by the towering transept of St. Bavo's; the effect of its height accentuated by the fact that its full elevation cannot be contained within the pictorial space.
Three other pictures are known depicting the fish market from this viewpoint; two compositions which are very similar to each other - one in the collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem (oil on canvas, 56.5 x 47 cm.) and one sold in these Rooms on 7 December 2006, lot 22 (£881,600) (oil on panel, 50.8 x 39.6 cm.) - and a third with a more distant viewpoint and more diminutive figures, in the Raleigh Museum of Art, North Carolina (oil on panel, 44.8 x 42.5 cm.). The present composition is set even further back, incorporating four windows of St. Bavo’s, the entire building of De Hoofdwacht, more of the cobbled street in the foreground, and most strikingly a large strip of sky at the top, creating a very different atmosphere and outlook.

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