Lot 12
  • 12

Herman Saftleven

120,000 - 180,000 USD
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  • Herman Saftleven
  • A view of Linz am Rhein, with barges unloading at a Quay and an inn nearby
  • signed lower left: HS 1663; signed, located and dated on reverse: Bij Linsz / . herman Saftleven. f.A. utrecht / .Anno. 1663
  • oil on copper
  • 9 by 12 1/2  in.; 22.9 by 31.7 cm.  


Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 10 July 1998, lot 26;
There acquired ($130,739).


The following condition report has been provided by Simon Parkes of Simon Parkes Art Conservation, Inc. 502 East 74th St. New York, NY 212-734-3920, simonparkes@msn.com, an independent restorer who is not an employee of Sotheby's. This work is in good condition. The copper plate is flat, and the paint layer is stable. The work seems to be clean and well restored. Under ultraviolet light, a few retouches are visible in the clouds in the upper center and upper left. There do not appear to be any retouches on the right side of the sky in the blue and lighter clouds. There are a few small spots of retouching in the mountain in the center distance. Some thinness has been retouched in the water on the right side. All of the details in the figures, town and harbor are in beautiful state, and show no weakness. The painting could be hung as is.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

With its delicately painted features and vivid palette, this mesmerizing view of Linz am Rhein is an impressive example of the panoramic landscapes of the Rhineland for which Herman Saftleven is best renowned.  Bathed in a subtle golden light and executed with exacting precision, this work encapsulates the unique artistic vision that defined Saftleven's output and established him as one of the most successful and versatile Dutch artists of the seventeenth century.    Born in Rotterdam to a family of artists, Saftleven moved to Utrecht in 1632.  It was here that he established a successful career as a painter, draftsman, and printmaker.  Saftleven's early work was reminiscent of artists such as Jan van Goyen, Abraham Bloemaert, and Jan Both, but by 1640s he turned towards renderings of small and exquisite landscapes, a genre that helped him develop a distinct style that would define his works for the last decades of his career.  

From around 1650 onward, Saftleven traveled extensively throughout the Rhine valley.  He recorded the topography and architecture of the lands he visited in countless drawings, which would later serve as inspiration for paintings he completed back home in Utrecht.  Saftleven painted this peaceful yet lively vista of Linz am Rhein in Utrecht in 1663.  He had first visited this foreign city, however, in 1651, recording it from another angle across the Rhein in a drawing now preserved in the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem in the Nationalbibliothek, Vienna (fig. 1).