Anonymous sale; Dorotheum, Vienna, 12 April 2011, lot 53, where acquired by the present owner.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE RADEMAKERS COLLECTION
Jef Rademakers - collector
The essence of private collections is the personal view of the collector. For his passion the collector invests a lot of his time, lifeblood, also personal privations to gather works of art. His view is based on his encounters with works of art, that mean something to him, that gives him answers to questions that move him personally.
Jef Rademakers gave up some twenty-five years ago his successful career as a television-producer, only forty years old. He exchanged his busy life for a contemplative one, leaving our hasty world behind him, searching for a deeper sense of life. Jef found new inspiration in the Romantic Movement of the 19th century. He read not only the important authors of that time and studied the work of international painter-stars like William Turner (1789–1862) and Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), but he was also interested in the Romantic of the Low Countries. So he started collecting works of painters of Holland and Belgium. Developing his knowledge of the 19th century art, Rademakers became an apologetic collector, who loved to share his enthusiasm with the audience in Holland and later in many other countries, where his collection was shown.
Rademakers estimated not only the romantic quality in the work of well-known painters, like Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (1803-1862) and Andreas Schelfhout (1787–1870), but he focused also on lesser-known painters, recognizing their qualities and specific symptoms of romantic spirit, and brought their work in the spotlight of the art-historical world. In the most important show until now on Dutch Romantic, Meesters van de Romantiek in 2005 in the Rotterdam Kunsthal, curated by the former director of the Rijksmuseum Ronald de Leeuw, for the first time the influence of Rademakers collecting, personal view and taste were noticeable. In 2009 his collection and personal view were substantial for Groots en Meeslepend: Hollandse landschappen uit de romantiek in de Hallen in Haarlem. A special part of the show was reserved for the moonlight-landscapes of Jacob Theodoor Abels (1803-1866), on whom Rademakers wrote a monograph in 2009. Substantial attention was, for the first time, given to the Haarlem-born Cornelis Lieste (1817-1861), a painter with a very personal perception of landscape, who painted open and deserted landscapes, often against the sunlight or in twilight.
The invitation to show his collection in the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg was not only an accolade for his collection, but also the start of a tour of four years in museums in nine countries. In his enthusiasm Jef enlarged his collection from 75 paintings to 130 in some years, looking all over the world for missing works. In the two latest presentations, in Luxemburg and Den Bosch in 2014, the collection gave a splendid, very personal overview of romantic painting in the Low Countries. Almost 600.000 people saw in these years on the different venues his collection.
Jef Rademakers has given the reception of Dutch and Belgian romantic painting an incomparable impulse, national and international. At the end of 2014 Rademakers decided to reduce his enormous collection of 130 paintings. Since then eight paintings have been purchased by the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (Kruseman and Lieste), the National Museum in Luxemburg (Barend Cornelis Koekkoek), the B.C. Koekkoek-Haus in Kleve (Hendrik Lot, Abels, Pieter Gerardus van Os, Willem Bodeman and Cornelis Lieste) and the Castle Duivenvoorde in Voorschoten (Andreas Schelfhout). Now Christie’s is offering twenty-four of the most interesting paintings for sale, a unique chance to share the “romantic view” of this unusual connoisseur.
Guido de Werd
former Director of the B.C. Koekkoek-Haus, Cleves
The Rademakers Collection
Few individuals have made such a contribution to the appreciation of Romantic Dutch and Belgian art than the collector, writer and former television producer Jef Rademakers. Rademakers is a great art lover and together with his wife Ursula he formed the last decades their unique collection of more than 130 pieces of Dutch and Belgian romantic art. Although the romantic masters were greatly appreciated in their own time and were present in all important European collections and museums at the time from the Hermitage Museum to the Royal European courthouses, their fame had faded away in the 20th century. Rademakers goal is the re-valuation of romantic art on a higher level. He contributed to numerous exhibitions and wrote publications from the beginning of his collecting, with as high point the successful travelling exhibition A Romantic View along eight European museums in 2010-2013 (Hermitage, Saint Petersburg / Gemeentemuseum, The Hague / Museum M., Leuven / Koekkoekhaus, Cleve, Kumu Kunstimuuseum, Tallinn / Sinebrychoff Art Museum, Helsinki / Art Museum Riga Bourse, Riga / National Gallery Salmovsky Palace, Prague) and the final exhibition A Romantic Journey (Musée National d’Histoire et d’Art, Luxembourg and Het Noordbrabants Museum, ‘s-Hertogenbosch) in 2014-2015.
The Rademakers collection embraces all genres, so typical for the romantic period: genre pieces, nocturnes, landscapes (summer and winter), flower pieces, marines and cityscapes and gives a marvelous overview of the art of this period. When Holland gained independence in 1813, after decades spent fighting the French, artists strived to paint intimate, idealistic and in its way peculiar Dutch subject matters characteristic for the Low Countries. For their Romantic inspiration the Dutch looked back to their own Golden Age, the 17th century, with its characteristics of domesticity and diligence. Nineteenth century Dutch pastorals show windmills and waterways in different seasons of the year such as Frederik Marinus Kruseman (lot 148) and Pieter Lodewijk Francisco Kluyver (lot 145). Other painters like Andreas Schelfhout (lot 151) and Louis Meijer (lot 142) turn their attention to the icy landscape of winter. Nothing depicts the ideal of Dutch 19th century life so much as ice-skating on winter's frozen waterways with figures enjoying the small pleasures of daily life. Dutch cityscapes show a similar moderation. Tall buildings gather along the edges of the canals of the old towns as Amsterdam, Haarlem and Utrecht. Ruined gateways and cracked roofs emphasize timelessness. The human figures on the pavements are small and rarely give expression to extreme emotions. Two works by Hubertus Van Hove's are included in this sale (lots 149,150). One work is included by the father of Dutch Romantic landscape painting, Barend Cornelis Koekkoek (lot 141). Koekkoek was a master at portraying the contrast between humble humanity and the greatness of creation. He counted among his clients King Willem II of the Netherlands, King Friedrich-Wilhelm IV of Prussia and Tsar Alexander II, which goes some way to explaining why there is a fine example of his work in the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. An important part of the collection consist of the so-called 'sublimes' landscapes, of which the nocturnes are an important part (more than 20 nocturnes are included in the Rademakers collection). According to Rademakers those poetic night scenes are the ultimate examples of a romantic view on life and take the observer into a dreamy romantic world of the artist. An exceptional example of such a 'sublime' is included in this sale by Jacob Abels (lot 142), one of Rademakers favorite artist.
Christie's is honoured to offer a curated selection of twenty-four pieces from this exceptional collection: Highlights from the Rademakers collection.
Terry van Druten, Ludmila Markina, Bruno Naarden, More than Romanticism: Russian and Dutch painting in the first half of the 19th century, Rotterdam, 2014, p. 99.
Guido de Werd, A Romantic Journey: Masterpieces from the Rademakers Collection, Eindhoven, 2014, p. 156, no. 24 (62).
Haarlem, Teylers Museum / Moscow, Tretyakov Gallery, More than Romanticism: Russian and Dutch painting in the first half of the 19th century, 7 November 2013-25 May 2014, where dated after 1860.
Luxembourg, Musée National d'Histoire et d'Art / ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Het Noordbrabants Museum, A Romantic Journey, 3 April 2014-25 January 2015, no. 62.