MacConnal Mason, London
Private collection, Belgium
Johannes Franciscus Spohler was a Dutch landscape painter, son of the well-known landscape artist Jan Jacob Spohler and a brother to Jan Jacob Coenraad Spohler who was also an artist. His father died when Spohler was only thirteen years old, unlike his much older brother Jan Jacob Coenraad, he most likely never had lessons from him. This absence of a paternal painting influence is possibly why Spohler chose a genre different from that of his father and brother. At the height of the Dutch Romantic movement he concentrated on painting historic city and village scenes filled with figures, as opposed to the summer landscapes and winter scenes favored by his family members. His oeuvre was inspired by that of the grand master in the field, Cornelis Springer, with his depictions of narrow streets of old Dutch houses, populated with all kinds of people busily engaged in all kinds of activity. Spohler’s work is represented in various leading museums.
In our painting, Amsterdam Canal, Spohler depicts a lovely summer day in Amsterdam. In the composition center, the viewer can see a shimmering canal with a man on a small boat. A small bridge spans over the canal with pedestrians crossing over it. To the left and right, there are traditional Dutch townhouses along the canal and in the background, the town hall’s tower reaches high in the sky. Spohler’s attention to detail and careful brushstroke are evident in the painting. The canal’s surface is dappled with reflections of the boats, surrounding buildings and the bright blue sky. Spohler’s paintings demonstrate fine draughtsmanship, and a focus on topographical accuracy. Our painting is a typical and excellent example of Spohler’s work.