Fine Art

Cornelis Springer

Dutch, 1817-1891

Gate of the Zuiderkerkhof in Amsterdam

1849
Oil on canvas
18 x 14 3/4 inches (45.5 x 37.5 cm.)
Signed: C. Springer

Provenance:

Collection De Fraylemabour, Shochteren
Sale Mak van Waay, Amsterdame, May 25th 1971
MacConnal-Mason, London
Private Collection, Sydney

Literature:

W. Laanstra, HC de Bruijn, Dr JHA Ringeling, Cornelis Springer, Utrecht, 1984, p. 67, llustrated no 49-3

Cornelis Springer is one of the most accomplished Dutch painters of town views. His paintings are characterized by their topographical accuracy and an interest in rendering the effects of light. They are reminiscent of the earlier Dutch seventeenth and eighteenth century masters Jan van der Heyden (1637-1712) and Issac Ouwater (1750-1793). Springer's subjects include views of Amsterdam, Alkmaar, Den Briel, Enkhuizen, Haarlem, Oudewater and Zwolle, as well as German towns.

Born in Amsterdam in 1817, Springer came from a family of building contractors. His brother Heindrik was a professional architect and he introduced Cornelis to the principles of perspective and architectural design, which were to shape his favorite subject matter: townscapes. He studied at the Amsterdam Academy of Fine Arts under Jacobus van der Stok (1795-1874) and Herman Frederik Carel Ten Kate (1822-1891). He then continued his training under Kaspar Karsen between 1835-7. Karsen also specialized in townscapes. During his early career, Springer occasionally collaborated with Wouterus Verschuur (1812-1874), who painted the figures and horses in several of his landscapes.

Springer was a prolific painter, exhibiting regularly in Amsterdam and The Hague between 1834 and 1890. As a member of the Felix Meritis Society of Amsterdam, he was awarded a gold medal in 1847, and in 1865, he became a Knight of the Belgian Order. Among his pupils were Adrianus Eversen, Johan Adolph Rust, and Johan Conrad Greive.

This painting is carefully constructed with a great emphasis afforded to detail. Springer depicts a city bustling with life showing people conversing, pedestrians walking and in the background the viewer can see a market crowded with shoppers. It is also showing the gate of the Zuiderkerkhof on St. Antoniebreestraat in Amsterdam. However the other buildings are fantasy of the artist’s imagination and not actual identifiable buldings from Amsterdam. At the right of the composition Springer demonstrates his penchant to architectural forms and his eye for detail. There is a study of this painting kept at the Teylers Museum in Haarlem.