A painting from the "HISTORISCHE GALLERIJ" at ARTI ET AMICITIAE, AMSTERDAM:
The following lot has formed part of the Historische Gallerij at the Society 'Arti et Amicitiae', Amsterdam. The Gallery consisted of a series of 102 paintings, all depicting themes from Dutch history and were all executed by members of this Society.
The project plan was first conceived between 1855 and 1856 and was carried out in two stages from 1860 on.
The first stage, which consisted of 52 pictures, concerned itself with themes from Dutch history up to the end of the 16th Century. It was inaugurated on the 29th of March 1862 in the presence of King Willem III.
The second group illustrating the history of Holland during the 17th and 18th Century was inaugurated during the celebration of the 25th year of existence of the Society on the 3rd of Decemeber 1864. However, none of the two series were complete at the time of the opening.
The Historical Gallery was in fact the second historical gallery in Amsterdam and was felt as a necessity chauvinistic to give Nationalism a stimulation, after the complex years of 1840-1848, when Holland was not yet accepted as a state. Around 1860 the first sounds of optimism were heard and the romantic writer A. Potgieter for example tried to give this optimism further strength by instructing the Dutch public of their glorious past.
The Society provided them with the canvases, which were mostly of an octagonal shape, and probably provided by the Firm Claus and Fritz as most of the reverses fo the convases bear their stamp.
The themes were formulated by Ch. Rochussen and L. Lingeman together with W.J. Hofdijk, who's book Ons Voorgeslacht was published at around the same time, in which Dutch history was treated from a cultural and social-economic point of view. This view is also reflected in the pictures.
Therefore, the pictures of this gallery were not a purpose on their own but must be seen as a tool to create a feeling of new enthusiasm in relation to history.
It was also important for the artists themselves who used these works as vehicels for a higher social standing in the community. In total 75 different artists worked on these paintings.
The series starts with J.W. Bilders' picture rendering 'Dutch landscape before human intervention' (cf. cat. Vaderlandsch Gevoel, p. 232, fig. 25)
This is the only picture which is still in Arti et Amicitae building.
Because of a shift in taste around 1893-'94 the board of Arti decided to to sell the pictures to raise funds for the Windows and Orphans of fellow artists. The gallery as a whole was sold to the London Art dealer H. Koekkoek in 1895.
Arti en Amicitiae had wished that the pictures would remain abroad as so many critical notes had been published in Dutch journals. Unfortunately, however, the pictures came back to Holland - this time with the dealer H.G. Tersteeg in The Hague, who exhibited 99 paintings in Pulchri Studio! Immediately after the exhibition the whole series was bought by J.C. van Hattum van Ellewoutsdijk for fl. 75,000.= and loaned to the city of The Hague.
Consequently the pictures could be seen between 1896-1901 in the city Hall. But as the city wanted the owner to pay for electricity costs, Van Hattum immediately decided to remove the pictures and to install them in a specially built wing in his house at the Scheveningseweg.
In 1909 Van Hattum died. The pictures were then divided between his heirs. A part was later taken to Zorgvliet at Ellewoutsdijk.
For the history of the Historical Gallery see the article by Mr. J.W.C. van Campen, De Historische Gallery van A + A, Historia, Feb. 1946, p. 25-36