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Nicolaes Berchem (Haarlem 1620-1683 Amsterdam)
PROPERTY RESTITUTED TO THE HEIRS OF HANS LUDWIG LARSEN
Nicolaes Berchem (Haarlem 1620-1683 Amsterdam)

An Italiante landscape with shepherds, cows and sheep

Details
Nicolaes Berchem (Haarlem 1620-1683 Amsterdam) An Italiante landscape with shepherds, cows and sheep signed 'Berchem' (lower left) oil on canvas 25 5/8 x 32 1/8 in. (65 x 81.5 cm.)
Provenance
Hans Ludwig Larsen, Wassenaar, (1892-1937);
Susanne Menzel Larsen (1911-2001), on loan to the De Lakenhal Museum, Leiden, 6 July, 1939;
Confiscated by the German authorities following the occupation of The Netherlands, after May 1940;
Sale, Van Marle and Bignell, the Hague, 25 January, 1943, lot 5;
Gustav Cramer Alte Kunst, The Hague, acquired at the above;
with Vitale Bloch, The Hague and Paris, 1943.
Acquired for the Sonderauftrag Linz by Dr. Erhard Göpel 24 February, 1943 (Linz no. 2779);
Recovered by the Monuments Fine Arts & Archives Section from the Salt Mines at Alt Aussee (No. 3541);
Transferred to the Central Collecting Point, Munich, 19 July, 1945 (MCCP no. 4892);
Transferred to the Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit, The Netherlands, 18 June, 1946 (NK 1447);
Restituted to the heirs of Hans Ludwig Larsen, 2014.
Literature
Old master paintings. An illustrated summary catalogue. Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst/The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts, Zwolle and The Hague, 1992, p. 36, no. 147.
Exhibited
Bolsward, Stadhuis Bolsward, Italië in de toets der Gouden Eeuw, 1964, no. 4.
Leiden, Stedelijk Museum de Lakenhal, Het Hollandse 17de eeuwse landschap, 20 October-26 November 1972, no. 38.
Grand Rapids, Michigan, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Landscapes from the Golden Age: an exhibition of seventeenth-century Dutch paintings, 19 March-19 June 1972, no. 37.
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, on loan.

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Lot Essay

Born in Haarlem, Nicolaes Berchem was the son of renowned still-life painter Pieter Claesz., who is also listed as his teacher in guild records of 1634. Berchem is best known as a key exponent of Dutch Italianate painting and member of the second generation of artists in the Netherlands who traveled to southern Europe. According to his biographer Arnold Houbraken, Berchem may have gone to Italy twice, although the first of these purported trips in the first half of the 1640s with Jan Baptist Weenix is doubtful, while another from 1650-1653 is more likely (L. Harwood, Inspired by Italy, exh. cat., London, 2002, p. 131). In any event, Berchem was clearly aware of his talented peers -- Pieter van Laer, Jan Both and Jan Asselijn among them -- producing paintings that captured the golden light, arid landscape and classical ruins associated with Italy.

This signed canvas is a quintessential example of Berchem's Italianate views. The sky is soft pale blue swathed in fluffy white clouds, while at left a brilliant sunset of pinks, oranges and yellows emerges, its golden light reflected on the clouds above. Providing a contrast to the pale sky are the darker blues and browns of the landscape below, punctuated only by the primary colors of the young woman in the foreground. Sitting barefooted atop a donkey, this figure wears billowing, vivid garments and extends her arms gracefully towards the animals that surround her, embodying the idealized, slightly exotic pastoral existence so popular among Dutch collectors in the second half of the 17th century.

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