Lot 136
  • 136

Dutch School, 17th century

6,000 - 8,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • The ruins of the old Amsterdam Town Hall
  • Red and black chalk, with grey and red wash, within brown ink framing lines
  • 307 by 306 mm; 12 1/8  by 12  in


Dr. C. Hofstede de Groot (L.561),
his sale, Leipzig, C.G. Boerner, 4 November 1931, lot 205 (as R. Roghman);
sale, Amsterdam, Christie's, 14 November 1988, lot 112 (as Circle of J.A. Beerstraten);
Jacobus A. Klaver, Amsterdam

Catalogue Note

The medieval town hall, or Stadhuis, of Amsterdam burnt down on 7 July 1652.  According to the English text accompanying Abraham Rademaker's print of the ruined building, included as plate 16 in the Kabinet van Nederlandsche Outheden en Gezichten (Amsterdam, 1725), 'the tower of it was pull'd down two days after the Incendie, by the Magistrate's order, for fear that some mischief should happen by its fall'.  An impression of Rademaker's print is included in the present lot.  The ruins inspired many artists, including Rembrandt, who made two drawings of the scene, one in the Museum Het Rembrandthuis, the other in the Albertina.1

Another artist who made a number of drawings and paintings of this picturesque and symbolic subject was Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraten, to whom this drawing was formerly attributed, while five anonymous drawings from the van Eeghen collection, now in the Stadsarchief, Amsterdam, also show the ruined building.2  The present drawing shows the building in a slightly more derelict state than those other depictions, apparently made immediately after the fire. 

1.  O. Benesch, The Drawings of Rembrandt, vol. VI, London 1973, nos. 1275, 1278

2.  B. Bakker, E. Fleurbaay and A.W. Gerlagh, De Verzameling van Eeghen, Amsterdamse tekeningen 1600-1950, Zwolle 1988, pp. 74-6, cat. nos. 19-21