Anonymous sale, Frederik Müller, Amsterdam, 26 May 1914, lot 292;
St Lucas (probably Gallery St Lucas, Vienna);
With Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1929 – 13 July 1940, inv. no. 2195;
Looted by the German forces occupying The Netherlands;
Hermann Göring, 13 July 1940;
With Goudstikker/ Miedl, Amsterdam, 1940;
Adolf Hitler, Führermuseum, Linz, 1940, Linz no. 1211;
Collecting Point, Munich, 1945, Mü.no. 3885;
Stichting Nederlands Kunstbezit, The Hague, 1948, inv. no. NK2505;
Dienst voor 's Rijks Verspreide Kunstvoorwerpen, 1948–75;
Dienst Verspreide Rijkscollecties, 1985–97;
Instituut Collectie Nederland, Amsterdam;
Restituted to Marei von Saher, sole heir of Jacques Goudstikker, 6 February 2006;
By whom sold, London, Christie’s, 5 July 2007, lot 23 for £512,800, where acquired by Baron van Dedem.
The Hague, Ministerie van Algemene Zaken, where on loan from the Instituut Collectie Nederland, Amsterdam, 1997;
Greenwich, Bruce Museum, Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker, 10 May – 7 September 2008, no. 30.
J. Goudstikker, Catalogue de la Collection Goudstikker d'Amsterdam, exh. cat., Amsterdam 1928, cat. no. 4, reproduced in black and white;
C. Lawrence, Gerrit Adriaensz Berchkeyde (1638–1698): Haarlem Cityscape Painter, Doornspijk 1991, p. 70, footnote 14b;
R. de Hasas, Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst (The Netherlands Office for Fine Arts The Hague); Old Master Paintings: An illustrated summary catalogue, The Hague 1992, p. 37, cat. no. 152, reproduced in black and white;
P.C. Sutton et al., Reclaimed: paintings from the collection of Jacques Goudstikker, exh. cat., New Haven 2008, p. 216, cat. no. 30, reproduced;
P.C. Sutton, Dutch & Flemish Paintings, The Collection of Willem Baron van Dedem, A Supplement, London 2012, pp. 8–11, cat. no. 62, reproduced in colour p. 217.
Reasons for Berckheyde’s move to The Hague are likely to have had their root in a political change occurring in the Netherlands at this time. The Netherlands had a period of political hiatus during the 1650s and '60s, the so-called Stadholderless Period, during which the office of Stadholder was absent in most of the Dutch provinces. In 1672 William III of Orange was reinstated as Stadholder – the return of the House of Orange was made possible by the lynching of the Republican Grand Pensionary Johan de Witt and his brother Cornelis. The brothers were shot and left to the mercy of an angry mob by whom, in the very square depicted here, they were mutilated and strung, the (probably Orangist) mob having first partaken of their roasted livers.
With William III’s ascension, the country expressed a new loyalty to the House of Orange, and as the family’s ancestral residence and the site of the former castle of the Counts of Holland, there was a new and altered perception of the city as it rose in the public’s esteem. Here Berckheyde chooses to represent the site of the oldest core of the city: the Plaats with the Buitenhof in the background at the left, and the Gevangenpoort on the right with a stork perched high upon its gables. The Gevangenpoort was used as a jail for political prisoners (and gained notoriety as the place of incarceration of the aforementioned Witt brothers). The Groene Zoodje, with its gallows pole, where public executions took place, is depicted at the left. Behind the Groene Zoodje, just visible at the very left margin, stands the court chapel. We are reminded of The Hague’s position as traditional city of residence of Holland’s nobility by the elegant hawking party and their sleek hunting dogs in the foreground as they set out for their sport. Hunting was regulated by the court and hawking was regarded as the ultimate aristocratic privilege and sport, and so Berckheyde’s depiction of the hawking party here gathered before the Binnenhof would have seemed particularly congruous.
Works from Berckheyde’s mature years are typified by his angled light and long shadows. His staffage is elegant, as demonstrated here in the gentleman on the rearing white horse. Berckheyde is known to have previously collaborated with other staffage painters, including Nicolas Guérard, Johan van Huchtenburg and Dirck Maas, but the figures in the present canvas are believed to be by his own hand.
Other treatments of views of The Hague are listed by Cynthia Lawrence in her 1991 catalogue raisonné of the artist's works (see Literature), which includes two canvases, most likely created as pendants, that are signed and dated 1687 and previously in the collection of the Duke of Leeds (figs 1 and 2). Lawrence describes them as Berckheyde's most accomplished scenes of The Hague, and one is virtually identical to the present painting, the only differences being in the staffage and in the placement and number of Linden trees in the foreground (trees for which the city of The Hague was well known). It is not only the viewpoints that are comparable but also the style and handling: the present work and the ex-Leeds version share the same use of low light and alternating bands of sunlight and shadow that create a convincing sense of recession, as well as a relatively thick painterly technique. It is for these stylistic similarities that Peter Sutton places the present canvas in the same years as the ex-Leeds pictures.1 Another closely related painting of the same view by Berckheyde is signed and dated 1694, and is in the collection of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.2
1 Sutton 2012, p. 10.
2 F. Duparc, Masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, exh. cat., pp. 24–25, cat. no. 5, reproduced p. 24.
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