Kunsthandel Goupil & Cie., Paris
Kunsthandel Boussod, Valadon & Cie., The Hague
Sale Amsterdam (A. Mak), 16 April 1918, lot 51
Collection M.P. Langerhuizen, Amsterdam
Sale Amsterdam (Fred. Muller), 29 October 1918, lot 55
Collection S.F. Jacobson, Amsterdam (Dfl. 4250,-)
W. Laanstra, Johannes Christiaan Karel Klinkenberg 1852-1942. De Meester van het zonnige stadsgezicht, Laren 2000, cat.no. O/70-3, illustrated
The Hague artist J.C.K. Klinkenberg acquired great fame with his sunny town views. Although he continued a Dutch tradition that goes back to the 17th century, his highly individual, bright palette and well-balanced compositions render a great originality to his work.
Klinkenberg received his earliest training at the Drawing Academy in his hometown The Hague. After completing his studies at the academy, he took lessons from the highly reputed marine painter Louis Meyer. Crucial were the years he spent with Christoffel Bisschop, a genre painter from whom he adopted a preference for strong effects of light and the use of a relatively thick impasto. Following in the footsteps of his teacher, Klinkenberg started his career as a painter of historical subjects. Not much later he shifted his attention to townscapes, which became his specialisation from 1876 onwards. Klinkenberg depicted many Dutch towns, stressing architectural aspects and the fascinating play of shaded and sunlit areas. Figures serve as mere staffage. As Johan Gram observed in his Schildersboek (1898), the sunlit gabled houses with their typical white sandstone and red bricks, reflecting in the water of the canals, became a theme on which Klinkenberg varied throughout his artistic career. ´Klinkenberg really owes his reputation to the sun, which he so curiously succeeds in inviting to his canvasses´, thus Gram wrote.
Impressed by the beauty of the Dutch capital with its seventeenth century gabled houses and wonderful canals, Klinkenberg moved to Amsterdam in October 1887. He stayed there till April 1893, living on the Weesperzijde. In the catalogue raisonné of the artist, published in 2000, we read about the Amsterdam years: 'It was especially in this "Venice of the North" that he found the painterly paradise he sought, with its historic buildings reflecting beautifully in the surface of the waterways. He depicted his urban scenes bathed in broad bands of sunlight which skim the facades (...) glittering on the water. Little dabs of paint, sometimes pure white in colour, are used to reproduce the highlights on the ruffled water. The result is a sparkling, summery impression full of atmospheric vibration'.
The present lot, without doubt one of Klinkenberg's most ambituous canvasses, illustrates this wonderfully. It depicts one of his favourite spots, the Groenburgwal with the Zuiderkerk, seen from the river Amstel. This was at walking distance from his studio on the Weesperzijde. The masterful play of shaded and sunlit areas, splendidly reflected in the glistening surface of the water, results in a wonderfully balanced composition without any disruptive element.
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