Lot 183
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Indonesian Art Sale 2018
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Willem Witsen (1860-1923)

-Houses along the kali in Batavia (2)
-Houses in a kampong with a view on the volcanoes Salek and Gedeh in Buitenzorg (2)

all with a stamp 'Atelier Witsen' (lower right).
Executed circa 1921.

etching and aquatint, unframed (2), resp. 50x59,5 cm (no. 201) and 45x54,8 cm (no. 202), and etching, unframed (2), resp. 40x49,5 cm (no. 208) and 39,5x50 cm (no. 209). All these prints are the only state.

Literature:
I.M. de Groot, J.F. Heijbroek, M. Peters, J. Reynaerts, 'Willem Witsen 1860-1923: schilderijen, tekeningen, prenten, foto's', Bussum 2003:
-no. 201, ill. p. 243: 'Huizen aan de kali. Links een wasvrouw bij een trap, in het midden een doorgang, Batavia', circa 1921. -no. 202, ill. p. 243: 'Huizen aan de kali. Links een doorgang tussen de huizen, waar een wassende vrouw staat, Batavia', circa 1921. -no. 208, ill. p. 245: 'Huizen in de kampong met de vulkanen Salak en Gedeh op de achtergrond, Buitenzorg', ca. 1921.
-no. 209, ill. p. 245: 'Huis met de vulkaan Salak (?) op de achtergrond, Buitenzorg', ca. 1921.

Willem Witsen (1860-1923) spent several months in the Dutch East-Indies in 1920-1921, following an invitation from his brother-in-law who owned a coffee plantation.

Aged 60 years, Witsen, his wife and brother- in- law arrived in November 1920 in Batavia. Shortly after their arrival Witsen was approached by the local ‘kunstkring’ (art circle) and was commissioned to paint a portrait of the Governor-General J.P. graaf van Limburg Stirum. Agreeing to the offer Witsen changed his travelling schedule and settled for several weeks in the south of Batavia, in Weltevreden en Buitenzorg (Bogor).

Witsen’s first impression of Batavia was a mixed one. On the one hand he was horrified by the dirt, the terrible smell, the stifling heat and potential diseases that were rife in the streets, but on the other hand he was intrigued by the picturesque houses and narrow streets and started to draw them. As the Governor-General could only spare one hour per day to pose, Witsen made use of his spare time and drew the landscape at Buitenzorg. Later he would travel further to the east to meet his brother- in- law and after his return to Amsterdam in May 1921 Witsen would start on a series of watercolours and etchings, based on his drawings from the Dutch East-Indies. According to his letter correspondence Witsen was planning on a series of 21 etchings from his journey. A lung disease leading to his death in 1923 leaves it unclear if Witsen considered his etchings as finished. From most of the plates he printed up to 20 copies, but kept them in his atelier and did not offer them for sale. The present lot features 4 of these rare etchings depicting his stay in Batavia and Buitenzorg.

Source: Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren (The Digital Library of Dutch Literature), Willem Witsen Volledige briefwisseling (1877-1923), https://www.dbnl.org

€ 600,00
€ 800,00
€ 500,00

Hamerprijs: € 500

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