Lot 68
Old Master Paintings, Nineteenth Century & Early Modern Art | 15 December 2020
Cornelis Springer (1817-1891)

A capriccio of a Dutch town with the facade of the Heilige Geest Gasthuis of Zwolle along a canal

signed with monogram and dated 'CS 48' (lower left, and reflected in the water)

oil on panel, 40x50 cm

-Pieter A. Scheen, 'Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1880', The Hague 1981, ill. no. 105, as: 'Stadsgracht'.
-W. Laanstra, H.C. de Bruijn, J.H.A. Ringeling, 'Cornelis Springer (1817-1891), Oeuvrecatalogus', Utrecht 1984, cat. no. 48-2.
-D.J. de Vries, 'Springers zichtbare-onzichtbare steden', Tableau, year 6, no. 6, pp. 77-83.
-Willem Laanstra, 'Cornelis Springer, Geschilderde Steden', Amsterdam 1994, ill. p. 32, as: 'Mannen in vletten en een gemeerde tjalk in een stadssingel met links een gezicht op een kade (H. Geest gasthuis, Zwolle) en de achterzijde van een gotische kerk'.

-With Kunsthandel Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam, inv. no. 6972.
-Auction, Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 5 June 1973, lot 281.

When we think about Dutch romantic cityscapes, the first artist that comes to mind is Cornelis Springer. He dedicated his entire career to painting Dutch villages and cities in an extremely precise style. As a descendent of an Amsterdam family of building masters and architects, one could say that Springer was born to fulfil his role as Dutch architectural painter ‘par excellence’.

The present lot is proof of his incredible talent and shows the rapid development of Springer as an upcoming artist. From 1835 to 1837 Springer received lessons from the famous painter Kasparus Karsen (1810-1896). His influence is clearly visible in Springer’s oeuvre from the 1840’s and also radiates through this painting (dated 1848). In contrast to the later topographical work of Cornelis Springer, this composition still holds on to the fantasy elements that are so typical for the early romantic period.

Often Springer’s paintings in the period 1840-1850 consisted of both real and invented components. In this particular case Springer used the old façade of the Heilige Geest Gasthuis of Zwolle to build his own romantic version of a Dutch town. The gothic building partly went up in flames in 1851 and would never look the same after its restoration. Even though the rest of the topography is made up, Springer still conserved the original image of the façade of this historical Dutch heritage.

By flanking the imposing building with a wide canal, the artist creates a more balanced composition with a large vista on the right half of the painting. This open space allows the setting sun to cast a warm light on the quay and the Gasthuis, creating even more depth into the architecture. The moored boats along the quay and the small rowing boat in the foreground contribute to the calm atmosphere. Tiny figures are going about their daily life but play a supporting role in this painting. Being dominated by the massive gothic building, the figures almost squeeze themselves into the bricks. The present lot is a perfect example of Cornelis Springer’s masterly skills and his feeling for depth and atmosphere. The idealized tranquillity of daily life in this old invented Dutch city makes us dream of a more simple peaceful period.

A Distinguished Collection: lots 59-92.

€ 20.000,00
€ 30.000,00
€ 20.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 20.000