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Pieter Jansz. Saenredam

Netherlands (1597 -  1665 ) Wikipedia® : Pieter Jansz. Saenredam
SAENREDAM Pieter Jansz. Inneres Einer Gotischen Kirche Mit Rundpfeiler Und Blick In Eine Seitenkapelle Mit Masswerkfenster Und Kapellengitter

Sep 19, 2013
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Some works of Pieter Jansz. Saenredam

Extracted between 11 works in the catalog of Arcadja
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - The Town Hall At Haarlem

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - The Town Hall At Haarlem

Original 1618


Gross Price
Lot number: 48
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam



oil on oak panel

15 1/2 by 19 1/2 in.; 39.5 by 49.5 cm.

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Saleroom Notice


Johannes Enschedé, Haarlem, probably by 1753, and circa 1765 (according to Nagler, see Literature);

His deceased sale, Haarlem, 30 May 1786, lot 11 (as "P.Saanredam 1630");

Pieter Cornelis, Baron van Leyden (died 1788), Amsterdam;

Thence by descent to his son, Diderick van Leyden (died 1811);

His sale, Paris, Paillet et Delaroche, 5 July 1804 (postponed to 5-7 November), lot 81 (as Saenredam, 1630);

Anonymous sale, Amsterdam, De Vries, 24 April 1838, lot 50 (as Saenredam), to Chapuis;

Sir Maziere Brady, 1st Bart. (died 1871), Lord Chancellor of Ireland, Dublin;

By whose Estate sold, London, Christie's, 1 July 1871, lot 123 (as Berckheyde);

There acquired by Henry George Bohn (died 1884), North End House, Twickenham, Middlesex;

His deceased sale, London, Christie's, 20 March 1885, lot 189 (as G. Berckheyde, "from the Hon. F. Byng's Collection");

There acquired by Henry Louis Bischoffsheim, Bute House, London (died 1908);

With Arthur Tooth & Sons, London, 1927 (as Berckheyde);

Frits Lugt (died 1970), Rustenhove, Maartensdijk, until November 1931;

P. Lugt, Brussels (lent to the Haarlem Museum 1933-45, as Saenredam);

With J.R. Bier, Haarlem;

M. Franck, New York, 1949-51;

With Wildenstein, New York, by 1954;

From whom acquired by J.C.H. Heldring, Oosterbeek, 1959;

His deceased sale, London, Sotheby's, 27 March 1963, lot 18, for £12,000 to Drey;

Mrs. Drey, London;

By whose son anonymously sold ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London Sotheby's, 12 December 1984, lot 62 (when catalogued by Neil Maclaren);

There acquired by Linda and Gerald Guterman;

Their sale, New York, Sotheby's, 14 January 1988, lot 34;

With Noortman Master Paintings, Maastricht, from whom acquired by the present collector.


London, Guildhall Art Gallery, Catalogue of the exhibition of a selection of works by early and modern painters of the Dutch school , 28 April - 25 July 1903, no. 140 (as Berckheyde);

Haarlem Frans Hals Museum, on loan 1933-1945 (here and in all subsequent exhibitions as Saenredam);

Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Catalogus, schilderijen en teekeningen Pieter Jansz Saenredam 1597-1665, 24 December 1937 - 1 February 1938, no. 4;

Amsterdam, Fodor Museum, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, 15 February - 20 March 1938, no. 4;

London, Ontario, University of West Ontario, McIntosh Memorial Gallery, Loan exhibition: 17th Century Dutch Masters , 20 February - 20 March 1954;

Oslo, National Gallery, Fra Rembrandt til Vermeer, 9 October - 6 December 1959, no. 65;

Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Collectie J.C.H. Heldring te Oosterbeek, 1960, no. 33;

Utrecht, Centraal Museum, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, 15 September - 3 December 1961, no. 86;

The Hague, Mauritshuis, 11 October 2008 - 11 January 2009, Washington D.C., The National Gallery of Art, 1 February - 3 May 2009, Pride of Place: Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age, no. 39.


G. K. Nagler, Neues Allgemeines Kunstler-Lexikon, 1845, vol. XVI, p. 80 (here and in all subsequent literature as Saenredam);

P.T.A. Swillens, Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, schilder van Haarlem, 1597-1665, Amsterdam 1935, pp. 9, 59, cat. no. 226, reproduced fig. 56;

N.S. Trivas, "Pieter Saenredam," in Apollo, 1938, vol. XXVII, p. 155, cat. no. 155;

S.J. Gudlaugsson, "Aanvullingen omtrent Pieter Post's werkzaamhedenp als schilder," in Oud-Holland, 1954, vol. LXIX, esp. 68, reproduced p. 67, fig. 11 (figures by Pieter Post);

Weltkunst, 15 September 1960, reproduced p. 8;

M.E. Houtzager (ed.), Catalogue raisonné of the works by Pieter Jansz. Saenredam: published on the occasion of the exhibition Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Eng. ed., Utrecht 1961, pp. 129-32, reproduced pl. 88;

G. Schwartz and M.J. Bok, Pieter Saenredam, The Painter and His Time, New York 1989, pp. 51, 57, 59, 83, 169, 189, 244, 266, cat. no. 86, reproduced p. 59, fig. 60;

A. van Suchtelen, in A. van Suchtelen & A.K. Wheelock, Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age, exhibition catalogue, Zwolle 2008, pp. 166-170, 235, no. 39, reproduced.

Saenredam was the most important architectural painter of the Dutch Golden Age, and one of the rarest, since nearly all his paintings are now in museums. He is best known for his church interiors, but he also painted exterior views, for example of churches and sites in Utrecht, and a view of the Old Town Hall in Amsterdam, in the years around 1660. His architectural paintings are extremely detailed, and composed with an almost obsessive attention to perspective. His working method, established from the outset of his career, required the making of extensive and meticulous construction drawings for almost all his paintings, and he frequently transferred these to the ground layer of his panels prior to the application of paint.

This view of the Town Hall in Haarlem is one of Saenredam\’\’\’\’ s earliest paintings. Though not dated, it is generally thought to have been painted circa 1630. Salomon de Bray\’\’\’\’s remodelling of the Town Hall from 1630 onwards is generally accepted to be a terminus ante quem for Saenredam\’\’\’\’s painting, because it would be highly out of character for this most meticulous of painters to have produced an out of date depiction of an important landmark. His earliest church interiors are dated 1628. They already reveal an artist whose style, as well as his working method, was already fully developed, for example in the extremely complex Interior of the Bavokerk, Haarlem in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
The present picture is unlikely to be earlier than 1628, however. This was the year in which Saenredam\’\’\’\’s first important commission, to provide illustrations for Samuel Ampzing\’\’\’\’ s Beschryvinge ende lof der Stad Haarlem (\“Description and Praise of the City of Haarlem\”), engraved by Jan van de Velde II after Saenredam\’\’\’\’s drawings, came to fruition. One of the plates depicts the Town Hall from further away – from the other side of the Groote Markt – and from a viewpoint slightly to the left of the one from which the present picture is taken (see fig. 1).
The plate in Ampzing\’\’\’\’s patriotic encomium of his beloved Haarlem is often said to have been based on a careful drawing by Saenredam now in the Amsterdams Historisch Museum which was then subsequently used for the painting (see fig. 2).
The viewpoint and angle of depiction of the drawing coincides, however, exactly with that of the present painting. While it is possible that Saenredam made the drawing at an earlier date, and then used it for this painting, the plate in Ampzing must have been based on another, presumably now lost drawing. Moreover, it is much more plausible that Saenrdam made the drawing in preparation for the present painting. The reflections cast by architectural elements such as the balcony of the New Tribunal are identical in drawing and painting. They suggest a low winter mid-morning sun.

Examination of the panel under infrared imaging (see fig. 3) reveals a highly dynamic preparation process, and one which found the artist adjusting his original design quite dramatically. Of major consequence is Saenredam\’\’\’\’s decision to shift the entire Old Town Hall to the right nearly two inches, thus placing it in a more central position relative to the entire composition. Fascinating and substantial shifts to the spires, chimneys, windows, and roof line have all been changed as the artist comes to understand the appropriate orientation for the major architectural element in the composition. Smaller changes are also visible, for instance the exclusion of an originally drawn window to the right of the central entry staircase. Insight into Saenredaem\’\’\’\’s sophisticated understanding of perspective is also gained through IRR examination. At the left corner of the roof he extends the straight line, bisecting it at a near 45 degree angle so as to plan out the remainder of the accurately rendered architecture. While much of the under-drawing is drawn freehand, and is highly spontaneous in character, outlines of the roof of the Town Hall are drawn with a rule, a technique that was to form the basis of Saenredam\’\’\’\’s under-drawing later on in his career.

Haarlem, a city with roots in the early middle ages, was a well-established and wealthy center by Saenredam\’\’\’\’s time. Ampzing\’\’\’\’ s Beschryvinge… gives us a clear idea of Haarlem\’\’\’\’s importance, not only in trade, but also in the civilizing arts of literature, painting and music, and he kept it updated in successive editions, adding for example Frans Hals (who portrayed Ampzing) in the edition of 1628. The oldest part of the complex of buildings on the west side of the Grote Markt in Haarlem comprising the Town Hall is the largest, dating from circa 1370: a brick structure surmounted by crenellation. In the late 14
and early 15
centuries it was extended to include three additions: the Small Tribunal (the structure with the stepped gable-end right of centre), the Great Tribunal (occupying much of the picture plane) and the Magistrates\’\’\’\’ House (also send gable end-on to the right), as well as the small corner (bell) tower to the left and a larger tower to the right. In 1596 Lieven de Key added the first Renaissance architectural element – and the first element entirely in stone – in the form of the double flight of stairs leading to the entrance (removed in 1633). He was also responsible for the design of the new wing added in the Zijlstraat, visible here behind the Magistrates\’\’\’\’ House by the row of chimneys that surmount its roof. The three statues above and flanking the entrance to the Great Tribunal were presumably added after 1465, and their removal so a balcony could be constructed above the entrance form part of De Bray\’\’\’\’s renovations in 1630, which included classicizing the Great Tribunal and extending De Key\’\’\’\’s wing towards the viewer on the Groote Markt.

With the exception of Lieven de Key\’\’\’\’s double flight of steps to the entrance, Saenredam\’\’\’\’s present view depicts the old medieval Town Hall, including the storks\’\’\’\’ nests on the wooden structures placed for them on the ridge of the roof. This was the seat of government and the place from which justice was dispensed, and was believed to have been the Court of the Counts of Holland. It would have been understood in Saenredam\’\’\’\’s day as a place of importance and as an emblem of the importance of Haarlem founded on the authority that its long history blessed it with. As Ampzing\’\’\’\’s text below the view of the Town Hall from across the Groote Markt makes clear: \“The Counts of Holland have since olden days/ Held court in Holland, to our glory and praise\” .

An appreciation of the importance of the setting is vital to an understanding of the event depicted here, which took place during the latter stages of the Twelve Years Truce with the Spanish, when the nascent Dutch Republic was riven with internal political and religious strife. Within the Calvinist church, the Remonstrants, the liberal faction, were at odds with the orthodox Counter Remonstrants, while in the political arena, the republicans were opposed to the increasing power of the Stadtholder. The latter, Prince Maurits, sided for political reasons with the Counter-Remonstrants , and in October 1618 toured the country with a substantial militia suppressing Remonstrant and republican factions, and replacing Governors where necessary. On the 24
– 25
October 1618, Prince Maurits arrived in the Groote Markt in Haarlem with his military entourage. He is probably the figure on a white charger in front of the Town Hall led by a trumpeter sounding a salute while to the left and right musketeers fire salutes.
It would have been well understood in Saenredam\’\’\’\’s time that Prince Maurits drew moral as well as spiritual authority from the ancient Counts of Holland, before whose court and center of government he is arriving in order to replace its recent Republican administration with one of more ancient cast. The event was one of great significance in the history of The Netherlands, and it is worth noting that the subject was understood when the present picture was in the sale of the Haarlem printer Johannes Enschedé in 1786.

It is not entirely clear why Saenredam would have chosen to paint this subject in circa 1630, twelve years after the event depicted. Gary Schwartz and Marten Jan Bok have come up with an interesting suggestion.
On April 10
1628 the Stadtholder Fredrik Hendrik passed through Haarlem on the way to Amsterdam to put down an uprising, no doubt reviving memories of events a decade earlier. In 1630 two of Prince Maurits\’\’\’\’ hand-picked councillors of the 1618 coup, Pieter Olycan and Nicolaes le Febure, became Burgomasters for the first time, and either may have wished to commemorate the event that led to their elevation.

While the concept and most of the execution of this painting is entirely that of Saenredam, the staffage - the figures and horses are as Gudlaugsson first noticed, are by Pieter Post (Haarlem 1608-1669 The Hague).
Pieter was the elder brother of the more famous painter Frans Post, who was in 1636 to be taken to Brazil by Prince Johan Maurits, where he produced a series of remarkable paintings, the first depictions of the New World done at first hand. In circa 1630 however, it was Pieter Post who was the better –known of the brothers. He collaborated with Saenredam on at least one other occasion, in a view of The Colosseum, Rome, dated 1631.
Not many paintings by Pieter Post are known: his early works of the 1630s are predominantly landscapes, and, ironically in the context of the present work, later pictures comprise architectural elements done in collaboration with figure painters. He found far greater renown in the realm of architecture, designing the Mauritshuis and the Huis ten Bosch, both in The Hague, both in collaboration with Jacob van Campen. Together they are credited with introducing the Baroque to the Netherlands, and it was almost certainly Pieter Post\’\’\’\’s close association with Prince Johan Maurits while planning the Mauritshuis that led to the employment of Frans Post on the 1636-44 expedition of Maurits de Braziliaan.

A drawing by Hendrik Spilman after this painting, dated 1749, attributes this picture to Saenredam.
The drawing belonged to Johannes Enschedé, and was published by him in collaboration with his brother Izaäk and Jan Bosch (the municipal printers of Haarlem) as a print in 1753. In the light of this, it is not surprising that, already noted, both correct authorship, subject and plausible date were given in the Enschedé sale catalogue of 1786. No doubt because sites in Haarlem, including the Groote Market and Town Hall, were painted often by Gerrit Berckheyde later in the 17
Century, this painting was given to him when sold at Christie\’\’\’\’s in London in 1871, and this mistaken attribution survived until after 1927. Its subsequent owner, the renowned connoisseur and savant Frits Lugt, was almost certainly responsible for restoring it to its correct authorship, though doubtless not until after he had acquired it as a work by the lesser and less valuable painter.

1. See Schwartz & Bok under literature, p. 63, reproduced fig. 67. The construction drawing for it is in the Rijksmuseum Kröller-Müller, Otterlo; idem, p. 62, reproduced fig. 64.

2. After page 57.

3. Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum. Pen and brown ink, brown and gray wash, 17 by 26.5 cm.

4. Although the event depicted took place in a late October afternoon, when much of the Groote Markt and all of the façade of the Town hall would have been in shadow.

5. Gelijk soo voor als na het Grafelyke Hof/ Te Haerlem is geweest tot onser eer en lof.

6. Prince Maurits\’\’\’\’ mount is generally portrayed as a white horse, perhaps because of the Spanish stallion captured at the Battle of Nieuwpoort and presented to him as a trophy.

7. See Schwartz & Bok under literature, pp. 57, 66.

8. See Gudlaugsson under literature.

9. Private collection. See Schwartz & Bok under literature, p. 75, reproduced fig. 67.

10. the drawing is now in the Gemeente Archief, Haarlem. It is inscribed: Afbeelding van t' Stadhuis te Haarlem Ao. 1630. P. Saenredam Pinx.
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - A View Of Assendelft

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - A View Of Assendelft

Original 1634


Gross Price
Lot number: 14
Lot Description

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (Assendelft 1597-1665 Haarlem)
A view of Assendelft
signed and dated 'Ao. 1634 P. Sanredam f' (lower right, on the boulder)
oil on panel
14¼ x 19 3/8 in. (36.2 x 49.2 cm.)


Mattheus Willem van Valkenburg (1718-1784), Haarlem; his sale, Haarlem, 17 May 1784, lot 3, 'Het Regthuis en Kerke te Assendelft, fraay gestoffeert, met Beelden, en voor in met een Man in een Schuit, extra uitvoerig, door Saanredam, h. 14 1/2, br. 19 3/4 duim, Paneel' [The courthouse and the church of Assendelft, beautifully appointed, with figures, and in the foreground a man in a boat, unusually extensive, by Saanredam] (75 florins).
Jan Willem van Arp, Amsterdam; his sale, Van der Schley, Amsterdam, 19 June 1800, lot 149, as 'J. Saenredam - h.14 br.19 duim. Paneel. - Een Doorpgezicht met verscheide Woningen, by een stil Water, ziende naar het Rechthuis en gedeelte der Kerk, gestoffeert met verscheide Beeldjes en een Schuitje; zonachtig en uitvoenig behandeld' [A village view with with several houses, by a still water, looking towards a Town Hall and part of a church, with several figures and a boat, sunny and detailed in handling] (20 florins to the following),
with Cornelis Sebille Roos (1754-1820), Amsterdam.
James Searle, 33 Percy Street, London; Christie's, London, 19 February 1898, lot 66, as 'P. Saenredam, 1634. A Dutch town on a canal, with figures - on panel' (5 gns. to the following),
Reginald Beech, and by descent to the present owner.

Pre-Lot Text


View Lot Notes ›
The View of Assendelft is an extraordinary and highly significant addition to the oeuvre of the most important architectural painter in seventeenth-century Holland -- Pieter Saenredam. Fewer than sixty paintings by Saenredam are known, of which the vast majority are the distinctive, stark, church interiors on which his reputation now rests. His paintings of exteriors are much rarer and only five works of this kind survive, all of which depict specific buildings of key architectural and historical importance: the Town Hall of Haarlem, of circa 1630 (private collection), The old Town Hall of Amsterdam -- a masterpiece of 1657 (Rijksmuseum, on loan from the City of Amsterdam), and the three great views of the Mariakerk in Utrecht (his only paintings of a church exterior), painted between 1659 and 1662 (The Hague, Mauritshuis; Madrid, Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza; and Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen). The View of Assendelft is quite different from these works in that its subject is not an individual building of particular merit, but the community of an ordinary village. As such, it stands alone within Saenredam's painted oeuvre as his only pure townscape, providing a vivid and faithful document of his birthplace and family home of Assendelft. Moreover, seen in the broader context of Dutch townscape painting, this is one of the earliest non-narrative depictions of a Dutch town, far ahead of its time in anticipating the output of Gerrit Berckheyde and Jan van der Heyden, more than a generation later, in the third quarter of the seventeenth century.

Given the highly unusual nature of the present work it is perhaps unsurprising that it has often been mis-attributed in the past. It is first documented in 1784 in the posthumous sale of the Haarlem burgomaster Mattheus Willem van Valkenburg (1718-1784), where both the artist and the view were correctly identified. However, by the time the picture re-appeared on the market, just six years later in Amsterdam, the view was no longer recognised and the author was identified as 'J. Saenredam', presumably with reference to the artist's father, Jan Pietersz. Saenredam (1565-1607). The picture is untraced between 1800 and 1898, when it was consigned to a sale at Christie's, described as 'P. Saenredam' (i.e., 'Attributed to Saenredam'), 'A Dutch town on a canal', where it was acquired for the modest sum of 5 guineas. It has remained in the possession of the same family ever since its purchase in that sale and its importance has only recently been recognised further to inclusion in a sale catalogue at Christie's South Kensington (9 December 2011, lot 108), as 'Follower of Saenredam', withdrawn before the auction. This will be first time since 1898 that the picture has been offered for sale.

Assendelft is a small village in the province of North Holland, situated about eight miles to the north of Haarlem on the road to Krommenie. Saenredam was born and grew up there and his family was closely involved in local governance. His father Jan Pietersz. (1565-1607) was deacon of the church council and his great-uncle Pieter Jansz. de Jonge (c.1550-1620) was schout (sheriff) of Assendelft between 1576 and 1620. The earliest map of the village, from 1828, is thought to show Assendelft relatively unchanged from Saenredam's day (fig. 1). Moreover, it shows clearly Saenredam's exact vantage point for the present work, looking north-west at the village from across a canal (fig. 2). Directly opposite is the Regthuis or Court House, built in 1614, with a tall post to the right of the entrance which was used to tie criminals for public floggings. The Court House was pulled down in 1897 but a photograph of it taken prior to demolition shows it unchanged but for the rendering of the façade (fig. 3). Beyond is the St. Odolphuskerk, built in the first half of the fifteenth century, with a view of the south transept and the steeple to the left, and the chancery visible on the right. The church was demolished and replaced in 1852. To the left of the Court House, as Martin Jan Bok and Gary Schwartz have recently confirmed, the single gabled house with the brick chimney (no. 168 on the map), is unmistakably the Saenredam family house and the birthplace of the artist.

The remarkably close relationship between Saenredam's view and the site map is testament to the artist's characteristically rigorous adherence to topographical verisimilitude. Saenredam had the highest regard for exact appearances and it is abundantly clear that his View of Assendelft gives an explicitly detailed account of his birthplace exactly as it was in 1634, without recourse to invention. Unlike most other painters of townscapes in the seventeenth century (most of whom were of a later generation), Saenredam refused to take artistic liberties, and in this painting he neither aggrandises his own family's property nor overstates the importance of the recently built Court House, although it is indubitably a source of local civic pride. This documentary approach also applies to Assendelft's inhabitants who are shown going about their daily chores on a sunny summer's day -- a washerwoman on the river bank, a man reading notices outside the Court House, a mother and child approaching a house, and a group of men in discussion on a street corner. They give the impression, no doubt as Saenredam intended, of a busy and happy village overseen by the church and the Court House -- the two pillars of the community.

Although this counts amongst Saenredam's earlier dated paintings, it is by no means the product of a youthful artist searching for his identity. He was thirty-seven years old when he painted it, and had already by the late-1620s fully developed his distinctive and highly refined style of architectural painting. This can clearly be evinced from the 1628 Interior of the St. Bavokerk, Haarlem (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum of Art), which is his earliest surviving work and shows no signs of naivety in its handling. Much of Saenredam's activity in the years around 1630 was concentrated on representations of the St. Bavokerk. Several construction drawings and three other paintings of the church are known from the years 1628 to 1633; while between 1634 and 1636 he increased his interest in the subject to produce six futher paintings. Together these works constitute an extraordinary effort by the artist to record virtually every visually appealing aspect of the church without repetition. The series also provides a very clear idea of Saenredam's working methods -- his use of on-site sketches to establish a prospect, which would then be modified and worked up into construction drawings that could in turn be transferred onto panels for painting. The artist adopted this methodical approach to painting throughout his entire career and would certainly have employed it in the same way for this although no related drawing exists.

Saenredam was devoted to documentation -- inscribing almost all of his material with dates, often to the day -- making it possible not only to establish a precise chronology of his activity but also to keep close track of his movements. Between 1633 and 1635 his only excursions out of Haarlem were to his home in Assendelft where Saenredam still maintained close family ties. These visits seem to have been restricted to the summer months. On 9 August 1633, he made a sketch of the Nave and choir of the St. Odulphuskerk (English private collection), and then on August 15th he stepped outside the village to sketch a prospect of Assendelft with the St Odulphuskerk which has proved vital in confirming the identity of the present view (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett; fig. 4). Saenredam may well at this time also have made a sketch (now lost) for the present painting. He could also have sketched the view the following year when he is recorded in Assendelft again by virtue of an on-site sketch of the Interior of the St. Odulphuskerk, made on 31 July (Amsterdams Historisch Museum; fig. 5) which would later provide the basis for the painting of 1649 in the Rijksmuseum.

Although this differs markedly from Saenredam's known paintings, various aspects of it do correspond more closely with his graphic work. For instance, the etchings made by Jan van de Velde after Saenredam's views of Brederode Castle and Kleef Manor, of 1628, are not dissimilar in their use of a low viewpoint, with foreground figures and a faithful depiction of the architecture seen beyond. On a visit to 's-Hertogenbosch in 1632, Saenredam adopted a similar approach for a View of the Orthen Convent and the St. Janskerk (19 July 1632; Brussels, Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts). The detailed rendering of foliage in the foreground of the present work, apparently a unique motif in his painted oeuvre, also finds an echo in his drawings in the form of Four sheets with studies of flowers, fruit, vegetables and sketches of Leiden and the bleaching fields outside Haarlem (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett). The drawing of a rhubarb plant executed in 1630 is particularly revealing in this respect (fig. 6).

The stylistic singularity of the View of Assendelft is brought into sharp focus when one considers it in relation to other Dutch townscape paintings of the mid-1630s. At this time, paintings of towns had either emerged out of the cartographic tradition, in the form of city profiles and panoramas, adopting high viewpoints and distorted perspectives (for example, Hendrick Vroom's View of Delft from the Southwest, 1615, Delft, Museum het Prinsenhof), or they formed the backdrop to specific events where topography and history blend into a single image (see for example, Pauwels van Hillegaert's The Princes of Orange riding out from the Buitenhof, of 1621-22, The Hague, Mauritshuis). The recent exhibition devoted to this subject (Dutch Cityscapes of the Golden Age, The Hague, Mauritshuis and Washington, National Gallery of Art, 2008-2009), makes it very clear just how unique the present work is within a genre that did not gain momentum for another twenty years after it was executed. Saenredam's motives for painting the View of Assendelft may have been highly personal but the result is truly ground-breaking both within his own work and in the context of Dutch seventeenth-century townscape painting in general.

We are grateful to Gary Schwartz and to Martin Jan Bok for confirming the attribution after inspection of the original and for their assistance in cataloguing this lot. We are also grateful to Bert Koene for his photographs and archival information about Assendelft, and to Christiaan Hijszeler for kindly providing the pre-1898 provenance.
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - Haarlem, The Interior Of The Nieuwe Kerk, Seen From The South West

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - Haarlem, The Interior Of The Nieuwe Kerk, Seen From The South West

Original 1651


Gross Price
Lot number: 90
signed and dated (maker's marks) signed and dated on the base of the pillar lower left: pieter saenredam fe/ aº:1658: material/medium oil on panel
provenance possibly adriaen backer, haarlem, and bought by him from the artist; probably his son adriaen backer, haarlem, married anna catharina van der cammer 1698, died 1739 (see catalogue entry above); in the present family ownership since 1961. exhibited paris, institut néerlandais, saenredam, 1597-1665: peintre des églises, 31 january - 15 march 1970, no. 18; amsterdam, amsterdams historisch museum, c.i.n.o.a. exhibition, 1970, no. 50. literature saenredam, 1597-1665: peintre des églises, exhibition catalogue, paris 1970, p. 16, no. 17, reproduced plate 17; c.i.n.o.a. exhibition, exhibition catalogue, amsterdam 1970, reproduced p. 12, cat. no. 50; w.a. liedtke, "the new church in haarlem series: saenredam's sketching style in relation to perspective", in simiolus, vol. 8, 1975/6, no. 3, pp. 145-166, reproduced plate 12; o.h. dijkstra, "p.j. saenredam, de noordwest-hoek van de nieuwe kerk te haarlem", in jaarboek haarlem, 1972, pp. 99-101, reproduced p. 100; g. schwartz & m.j. bok, pieter saenredam. the painter and his time, the hague 1990, pp. 222, 226, 264, and chapter 15, note 9 (p. 332), no. 81a, reproduced in colour p. 225, fig. 238; j. giltaij & g. jansen, in perspectives: saenredam and the architectural painters of the 17th century, exhibition catalogue, rotterdam 1991, p. 129, under no. 20. catalogue note this is the fourth and latest of four known paintings by saenredam of the nieuwe kerk in haarlem, and is one of the last of his church interiors left in private hands. it first came to light at the saenredam exhibition in paris in 1970. the nieuwe kerk was the only modern building that saenredam painted, and is thus the only church he painted built in classical rather than gothic or romanesque style. the church was built to the designs of saenredam's friend jacob van campen between 1646 and 1649 on the site of the demolished medieval chapel of st. anne, retaining the tower, which had been erected by lieven de key in 1613. van campen devised a square ground plan of an austere and simple enclosed greek cross. the groin-vaulted crossing is carried on four square ionic piers, the barrel-vaulted arms by beams supported by the piers, by ionic columns and ionic pilasters, which continue around the perimeter supporting the square, flat, coffered ceilings of the four corners. saenredam made many drawings of the church; indeed, from 1650 onwards he drew this church exclusively, starting with a copy of van campen's groundplan. saenredam's working method was to make sketches, sometimes many sketches of a subject which would result in so-called construction drawings, made in careful preparation for paintings. his drawings of the nieuwe kerk, culminating in a construction drawing dated 31st july 1651 yielded his first painting of the church, a prospect of the interior seen from west to east taken from just north of the centre line, dated 23rd may 1652, and now in the frans hals museum, haarlem (see schwartz & bok under literature, reproduced p. 220, fig. 221 (the construction drawing, and in colour p. 221, fig. 232). a second construction drawing dated 26th august 1651 yielded another prospect, dated 16th august 1653, showing the interior from the southwest corner of the transept looking north (budapest, szépmüvészeti muzeum; idem, p. 219, colour fig. 228). saenredam's third painting of the nieuwe kerk shows its interior looking west from the east side of the south aisle, and gives prominence to the pulpit designed by van campen. it is dated 1655 (but without indication of month or day), and is on loan from the stichting oudheidkamer riessen to the rijksmuseum twenthe in enschede (see fig. 1) (idem, reproduced in colour p. 224, fig 237). the present work, dated 1658, is the last of the sequence (and one of only two paintings by saenredam dating from the second half of the 1650s). in view of saenredam's working method, one might reasonably expect him to have made preparatory drawings on which construction drawings for each painting wouild have been based.saenredam's construction drawings did not always survive well the process of transfer to the panel, and it is understandable that neither one appears to have survived. as walter liedtke has convincingly shown, both paintings show the church seen from the same vantage point, (from a height of about four feet - perhaps seated on a stool - against the base of the central pilaster on the eastern wall of the southeast corner), and both paintings share a common vanishing point, so that when placed side by side both paintings form a continuous panorama, with only small gap consisting of much of the width of the central pier between them, and are thus part of a common continuous scheme of perspective (see fig. 2) (also see under literature, p. 150, with both pictures reproduced to demonstrate the point, pp. 148-9, figs 1 & 2, and perspective diagram, fig. 4). the heights of the figures in both paintings is the same, and the vanishing point is approximately at their head-height. the paintings are of different dates, and were certainly not conceived as pendants, but as liedtke has argued, they were almost certainly based on the same sketch, probably done when the other sketches were made, in june 1650, and possibly traced to provide construction drawings. while it is tempting to conclude that saenredam used both halves of the same construction drawing for each picture, their different dimensions make this unlikely: for example, the base of the same pillar in the left and right foregrounds of each is of a different height. given the rigid symmetry of the architecture of the church, saenredam may have used for the architectural structure of both paintings a sketch of the interior of the nieuwe kerk seen from the same spot but looking in exactly the opposite direction, i.e, rotated 180º, and then reversed by tracing to provide construction drawings, or an intermediate drawing upon which the construction drawings were based. that sketch may be the one dated 23rd june 1650, and now in the rijksprentenkabinet. amsterdam (see lietdke, op. cit., reproduced p. 153, fig. 5), which shows indenting perhaps caused by tracing. a recent examination of the present work using infra-red reflectography revealed extensive geometric underdrawing, which is consistent with saenredam's usual practice. note on the provenance. each of the stained glass windows in the nieuwe kerk bore the coat-of-arms of one of the twenty highest office-holders in haarlem. apart from documentary evidence for them, they are recorded in a drawing by saenredam in the gemeente archief in haarlem in which the status of each and the position in the church in 1647, the year the windows were installed. they may be seen in each of saenredam's drawings of the church, and in his 1652 painting, now in the frans hals museum. in the present painting, however, all but two are absent, together with all other armorial devices, including the shields which hung in the vaults, leaving only the arms of the burgomasters cornelis backer (d. 1655) and johan van der camer (1585-1657) in the right hand two windows. schwartz & bok have suggested that this phenomenon resulted from the elimination of the other armorials following the marriage of the grandchildren of the two burgomasters, adriaen backer and anna catharina van der camer in 1698, and that the present picture was then in the possession of the backer family (op. cit., p. 226). recent technical analysis conducted by catherine hassall (available on request), has shown that there were originally armorials in the other windows, that they were painted out, and that the lead-white overpaint has a mixture of natural ultramarine, which makes it most unlikely that the overpainting took place much after 1700, since ultramarine was supplanted rapidly after 1704 by prussian blue (saenredam also used ultramarine for the original sky. though favored by vermeer, this pigment was not widely used in the netherlands in the mid-17th century, because of its expense). furthermore, the inventory of adriaen backer's estate, taken at his death in 1739, lists two church interiors by saenredam: one unidentified; the other depicting "a view in the nieuwe kerk in haarlem". while it cannot be ruled out that the painting listed is one of the three other paintings of the church that survive, the theory is highly plausible. schwartz & bok further suggest that in the light of the close connections between saenredam and the painter cornelis vroom, who whose sister was married to the burgomaster cornelis backer, this picture was probably in the backer collection from the outset. saenredam witnessed vroom's deathbed testament appointing adriaen backer guardian to his son jacob vroom. adriaen was son of cornelis, and father of the adriaen who married anna catherina van der camer, and thus the possible first owner of this picture.
Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - The Interior Of The Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam - The Interior Of The Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem

Original 1658


Gross Price
Lot number: 25
Lot Description

Pieter Jansz. Saenredam (Assendelft 1597-1665 Haarlem)
The interior of the Nieuwe Kerk, Haarlem, seen from the south-west
signed and dated 'Pieter Saenredam fe A
1658.' (lower left, on the base of the pillar)
oil on panel
12 x 12¼ in. (30.5 x 31 cm.)
In a Dutch, ebony, cassetta frame, circa 1600 (supplied by Wiggins, ref. 12945).


(Possibly) bought from the artist by Adriaen Backer (Amsterdam 1635/6-1684), Haarlem, and (probably) by descent to his son,
Adriaen Backer (d. 1739), Haarlem, who married Anna Catharina van der Camer in 1698.
Dirk van Dijl (1742-1814), painter, Amsterdam; his sale, Vinkeles, Amsterdam, 10 January 1814, lot 139, as 'P. Saanreadam, Een Protestansche Kerk van binnen te zien, gestoffeerd met twee beelden, uitvoerig gepenceeld, hoog 13½, breed 11½ duim' (The interior of a Protestant Church with two figures, extensively painted, 13½ x 11½ inches),(fl. 6,50 to [Adriaan or Jan] de Lelie).
Adriaan de Lelie (1755-1820), painter, Amsterdam, or his son Jan Adriaan Antoine de Lelie (1788-1845), art-dealer, Amsterdam.
Munk collection; his sale, Van der Schley, Amsterdam, 16 October 1815, lot 94, as 'Eene met Beeldjes gestoffeerde Protestanten Kerk van binnen. Zonachtig, Zonachtig, op P. door P.J. Saenredam, h. 13, br. 12 d.' (The interior of a Protestant Church with figures, Sunny, on panel, 13 x 12 inches), (fl. 14,5 to the following),
With Willem Gruijter (1763-1831), Amsterdam.
Private collection, since 1961.
with The Brod Gallery, London, by 1970.
Anonymous sale [Property from a Private Collection]; Sotheby's, New York, 22 January 2004, lot 90 ,
with Noortman, Maastricht, from whom acquired, on 30 May 2004, by
Pieter and Olga Dreesmann (inventory no. B19).

Pre-Lot Text



O.H. Dijkstra, 'P.J. Saenredam, De noordwest-hoek van de Nieuwe Kerk te Haarlem', Jaarboek Vereniging Haerlem, 1972, pp. 99-101, illustrated.
W.A. Liedtke, 'The New Church in Haarlem series. Saenredam's sketching style in relation to perspective', Simiolus, 8, 1975-6, pp. 145-6, fig. 2.
G.D. Schwartz and M.J. Bok, Pieter Saenredam. The painter and his time, The Hague, 1990, pp. 222, 225-6, 264 and 332, no. 81a, fig. 238 (chapter 15, note 9).
J. Giltaij and G.M.C. Jansen, Perspectives. Saenredam and the architectural painters of the 17th century, Rotterdam, 1991, p. 129, under no. 20.
E. Schavemaker, One Hundred Master Paintings, Zwolle, 2007, pp. 262-5, no. 58.


Paris, Institut Néerlandais, Saenredam, 1597-1665. Peintre des églises, 31 January-15 March 1970, no. 18.
Amsterdam, Amsterdams Historisch Museum, Art dealer and collector. 4th international exhibition, 27 March-31 May 1970, no. 50.

View Lot Notes ›
This spare and elegant painting of the Nieuwe Kerk, or New Church, in Haarlem is an exemplary work by Pieter Saenredam and one of only a handful of his church interiors still to remain in private hands.
Indeed it is testament to the extraordinary rarity of this artist to note that, aside from the Interior of St. Bavokerk, Haarlem (Sotheby's, 9 December 1987, lot 83, as 'Follower of Saenredam', sold 57,000, now private collection, Boston) and the Interior of the Sint Janskerk, Utrecht (Bonham's, 8 December 2010, lot 61, as 'Studio of Saenredam',sold £1,476,000), which are both now accepted as autograph, this is the only painting of a church interior by Saenredam to have appeared at auction in more than thirty years. Saenredam, the most celebrated Dutch architectural painter of the seventeenth century, created his interiors through a highly methodical working process. Yet his paintings remain far from dry and rigid architectural studies. Rather, as this work testifies, he produced refined pictures whose simplicity arouses a highly modern appreciation of essential qualities of line, form and tone.

Signed and dated 1658, the present painting depicts the Nieuwe Kerk's south-west view, a corner of the church delineated by pillars, tall arched windows and a vaulted ceiling. The building was designed by Saenredam's friend, the architect Jacob van Campen, and constructed between 1646 and 1649 on the site of the medieval chapel of Saint Anne. In typical Reformed Protestant fashion, the church is devoid of religious imagery and elaborate decoration; Saenredam did not include Catholic details in his works after 1646. Rather the Nieuwe Kerk, the single modern building represented by Saenredam, bears contemporary neoclassical motifs such as Ionic columns. The restrained gray, white, blue and terracotta palette is punctuated by only a pair of figures in crisp black and white clothing, and the brightly coloured coats-of-arms in the windows.

To create such carefully engineered church interiors, Saenredam employed a distinctive working method. He produced a large number of on-site drawings, made from a variety of viewpoints and assiduously signed and dated. In some instances, he used such sketches to create construction drawings, which he blackened on the verso and traced onto panels. The final stage was the execution of the paintings themselves. In this case, four panel paintings of the Nieuwe Kerk exist, as well as more than ten drawings, including six sketches of the interior dating from June and July 1650 and two construction drawings. No specific preparatory drawing for the present work is known, but Walter Liedtke advances the idea that a lost on-site sketch was used for both the present work and another painting on loan from a private collection to the Rijksmuseum Twente, Enschede (fig. 1). The identical perspective of the two works, which share a vanishing point but are not of the same scale, suggests that a single drawing may have been used for both works (Liedtke, op. cit., pp. 146-7).

In multiple instances, Haarlem collectors with personal ties to Saenredam acquired works depicting the Nieuwe Kerk. The inventory of Haarlem official Pieter van der Hove records one such painting in which his father Hendrik's arms were commemorated in the church windows. This milieu also placed a high monetary value on Saenredam's works: minister Nicolaes Boddingh used one such painting as collateral for a loan at the large sum of 400 guilders (Schwartz and Bok, op. cit., pp. 222 and 226). In the case of the present work, clues to its early provenance may lie in the painting itself. A meticulous extant sketch by Saenredam now in the Gemeentearchief, Haarlem, indicates that he recorded the armorial ensigns -- each belonging to the family of a city official -- in all of the church windows. Yet in the present work, he deliberately omitted most of them -- including only the arms of burgomasters Cornelis Backer (d. 1655) and Johan van der Camer (d. 1657). Technical examination has demonstrated that originally the painting contained two additional coats-of-arms, painted over before 1700. Schwartz and Bok speculate that this change occurred because the painting belonged to the Backer family, who were related by marriage to the Van der Camer family after the marriage of Adriaen Backer and Anna Catharina van der Camer in 1698 (ibid., p. 226), and may have requested that the painting commemorate the uniting of the two families. This hypothesis cannot be determined definitively, however, as the early ownership of this painting is unknown and it was only rediscovered as a work by Saenredam in 1970, at the exhibition Saenredam, 1597-1665: peintre des églises at the Institut Néerlandais, Paris. We are grateful to Christiaan Hijszeler for recently establishing all of the nineteenth-century provenance.

In many ways this painting represents the ideals of post-Reformation religious life in the Netherlands and the socio-political position of its citizens. Mostly though it remains a highly visceral work -- the unadorned space inhabited by two small human figures leaves the viewer contemplating Saenredam's unique ability to capture, on a small-scale, the light, space and serenity of this classical interior.
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