with P.& D. Colnaghi, London, 1955
THE HANS VAN LEEUWEN COLLECTION
The life and career of Hans van Leeuwen comprises two great enthusiasms; music and Old Master Drawings. His distinguished career culminating in his Directorship of the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra has been mirrored by a passion for collecting drawings, many of which, despite numerous exhibitions, have remained unknown to a wider public. Primarily concerned with assembling works depicting the robust beauty of everyday life, Mr van Leeuwen has, with a moderate budget, assembled a fascinating Collection of great quality and variety.
Hans van Leeuwen was born into a musical milieu in Arnhem on 25 July 1911, where he began to learn the piano and 'cello. His father became bandmaster at the Royal Military Band of the Grenadeer Regiment in The Hague in 1922 and there he continued learning music before studying at the Conservatory for Music. Alongside his musical education he studied accountancy and in 1930 joined the accounts office of the Opera in The Hague and remained a Civil Service accountant for the next decade. In 1939 he married Catharina Hamers and two years later returned to his native town as Director of the Arnhemse Orkestvereniging.
During the Battle of Arnhem in 1944 Mr van Leeuwen and his family fled the city leaving their house and possessions behind in order to take refuge in the country with, among others, the renowned collector D.G. van Beuningen at his house in Vierhouten.
In 1947 Mr van Leeuwen became manager of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. It was at this time that he became interested in the stylistic relationships between music and the pictorial arts and drawings in particular. He began to collect drawings coinciding with the high points in musical development between 1750 and 1850. He later extended his interest to the works of the late 16th and 17th Centuries encompassing a remarkable breadth of subjects, ranging from figure and animal studies, still-lifes and portraits to biblical and allegorical scenes and designs for illustration and decoration to Italianate landscapes and topographical views. Throughout his collecting career he concentrated solely on the works of Dutch and Flemish artists.
The first of many exhibitions of drawings from the Hans van Leeuwen Collection was held at the Gemeentemuseum of Arnhem in 1958. By this time it comprised already many drawings including a magnificent study of putti by Abraham Bloemaert and a view of the Haeghse Bos by Joris van der Haagen, as well as works by 18th Century masters such as Cats, La Fargue, Langendijk, Pronk and Schouman.
Throughout his career at the Concertgebouw Orchestra and later at the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra, Mr van Leeuwen travelled widely, meeting and working with celebrated musicians and leading figures in the musical world of the day, including Antal Dorati, himself a keen collector of Old Master Drawings. During his visits abroad, including the United States tour of the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1954, Mr van Leeuwen continued his search for works to add to his Collection as is illustrated by provenances traceable to London, Brussels, Stockholm, Düsseldorf, Hannover, Bern, Lausanne and Vienna.
Between 1960 and his retirement in 1976, Mr van Leeuwen was Director of the Utrecht Symphony Orchestra. After 1976 he remained an adviser on the Orchestra's board, besides being a member of several cultural committees and boards in the Netherlands, returning temporarily to his post as caretaker director in 1983. For his long work in several cultural fields Mr van Leeuwen was created a Knight in the Order of Oranje-Nassau in 1971.
After exhibitions of works from the Collection in Utrecht, Zeist, Laren, Nijmegen and Leeuwarden between 1959 and 1966, the first exhibition outside the Netherlands was staged at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn in 1968, followed by an exhibition in Saarbrücken, Bochum and at Schloss Rheydt.
A major exhibition was held between November 1975 and February 1976 at the Rijksprentenkabinet in Amsterdam, accompanied by a catalogue compiled by L.C.J. Frerichs and Peter Schatborn. Further exhibitions followed: at the Centraal Museum, Utrecht in 1978 and touring exhibitions visiting Bremen, Braunschweig and Stuttgart (1979-80) and Fribourg, Passau, Trier, Aachen and Nuremberg (1982-84). Mr van Leeuwen also regularly lent individual drawings to specialist exhibitions to museums both in the Netherlands and abroad, including Paris, London, Rome and Washington. A large selection of 19th Century drawings from the Collection was part of a longer touring exhibition through local Dutch museums.
At 81 years old Mr van Leeuwen feels it necessary to consider the future of his Collection. While it has proved difficult to preserve it as a whole, the two-volume catalogue aims to provide a lasting record of the late 16th to early 19th Century works in the Collection, all of which bear Hans van Leeuwen's collector's mark, recorded as no. 2799a in Frits Lugt's Marques des Collections. Drawings from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries are to remain in the Collection.
Mr van Leeuwen's indefatigable research into his acquisitions, which has given him so much pleasure, has extended the frontiers of knowledge in the field. He hopes that the drawings being sold will embellish other collections and provide a similar enjoyment for their new owners. The sale presents an excellent opportunity not only for museums and connoisseurs, but also for the collector with a more modest budget to acquire drawings of quality and variety from a remarkable collection.
TUESDAY, 24 NOVEMBER 1992
MORNING SESSION, AT 10.30 A.M. PRECISELY
The Hans van Leeuwen Collection
Part I: 16th and 17th Century Dutch and Flemish Master Drawings
(Lots 1 - 246)
PROVENANCES given and EXHIBITIONS refered to are based on the informations of the present owner. Further informations given in the notes are sometimes based on that in the exhibition catalogues of Amsterdam and Utrecht
Arnhem, 1958, no. 2 (as J. van Aken)
Bonn/Saarbrücken/Bochum, 1968/9, no. 2 (as J. van Aken)
Rheydt, 1971, no. 1 (as J. van Aken)
Utrecht, 1978, no. 2 (as J. van Aken)
Bremen/Braunschweig/Stuttgart, 1979/80, no. 2 (as J. van Aken)