Jan de Beyer (Aarau 1703-c. 1785 Cleves)
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Jan de Beyer (Aarau 1703-c. 1785 Cleves)

The Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, with the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Donkere Sluis, the construction of the Tower of the Nieuwe Kerk beyond

Jan de Beyer (Aarau 1703-c. 1785 Cleves)
The Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam, with the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal and the Donkere Sluis, the construction of the Tower of the Nieuwe Kerk beyond
signed with monogram and dated 'IDB 1759' (lower left)
oil on panel
29 x 38.9 cm. (11 3/8 x 15 3/8 in.).
W.J.R. Dreesmann, Amsterdam; Frederik Muller & Cie., Amsterdam, 22 March 1960, lot 39.
B. De Geus van den Heuvel, Nieuwersluis; Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 26 April 1976, lot 90.
With D. Koetser, Zürich, 1994, acquired by
Dr Anton C.R. Dreesmann (inventory no. A-59).
Verzameling Amsterdam W.J.R. Dreesmann, Amsterdam, 1942, vol. I, p. 5, illustrated.
M. van Waay & H.S. Nienhuis, Verzameling B. De Geus van den Heuvel, Nieuwersluis, Amsterdam, 1963, I, p. 63, no. 90; II, fig. 90.
H. Romers, J. de Beyer - Oeuvrecatalogus, The Hague, 1969, p. 84, no. 1017.
H. Romers, Achttiende-eeuwse gezichten van steden, dorpen en huizen naar het leven getekend door J. de Beijer, IV, Alphen aan den Rijn, 2000, no. 1017, illustrated.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Jan de Beyer en Amsterdam 1703-1785, 12 May 7 June 1953, no. 45.
Laren N.H., Singer Museum, Keuze uit de collectie B. de Geus van den Heuvel, 1964, no. 1.
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Lot Essay

A native of Switzerland, De Beyer moved to Amsterdam in circa 1750, where he is believed to have been trained by Cornelis Pronk and J.M. Quinkhard. Few of his paintings have been preserved, and the artist is primarily known for his drawings. The present lot, with its linear style and carefully depicted reflections in the water, shows the artist's training as a draughtsman. His views of Amsterdam mostly date from the years between 1754 and 1768.

The Nieuwe Kerk was built as a result of the shortage of churches in Amsterdam at the end of the fourteenth century in response to the rising population. In 1408 the bishop of Utrecht granted official permission to build a second parish church within the city boundaries, although in actual fact the 'New Church' had been under construction since the 1380s. The site, once an orchard, was made available by Willem Eggert, a rich sponsor who could afford such a substantial donation. Eggert was immortalised by having a street on the north-eastern side of the church named after him. Soon after the bishop had granted permission, the building was consecrated as the church of Our Lady, although Saint Catherine was subsequently added as a second patron saint. In the course of time the building was enlarged step by step: in circa 1435 the construction of the nave was begun, while the late fifteenth century saw the addition of a number of chapels, causing the clerestory to be added shortly afterwards, due to the fact that the chapels blocked most of the incoming daylight.

In spite of the fact that a tower had been planned for and the foundations had been laid as early as 1565, the base of the tower on the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal is all that remains today of this ambitious project. The iconoclastic fury and the ensuing 'Alteratie', as a result of which a Protestant city administration came into power, resulted in the abortion of the project. The new rulers did not particularly enjoy the idea of having a prestigious church spire surpassing the glory of their new town hall, the stronghold of civilian authority, which was right next door; in addition it seems unlikely that the city could afford both projects simultaneously. By way of a concession the new town hall was built as far back as possible so that the facade of the southern transept of the church came to face the Dam Square. As a result, although the construction work began in 1646, by 1653 all activities had come to a standstill. The rudimentary tower was demolished in 1783. Several designs survive today. Jacob van Campen, the founding father of Dutch Classicism, was responsible for the design that was ultimately selected, based on Gothic architecture.


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