To be included in the forthcoming exhibition catalogue on Cornelis Springer at the Zuiderzeemusuem in Engkuizen in prearation by Arnold Ligthart, December 12, 2015-March 27, 2016
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 watercolor by Springer is a beautiful and delicate work. He depicts a street-scene from the Dutch city of Hoorn. Two elegantly dressed male figures stand and converse in front of the entrance of the city hall while their horses stand beside the sidewalk, and a third figure waits with the horses. The manner of drawing of the horses and the actual building is typical for Springer. In the background of the composition, the viewer can see a mother and a child charmingly strolling through a street market. The city hall’s entrance is grandiose and the details are exquisite. This watercolor is connected to a painting by Springer on exhibit at the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, of 1885. Springer did watercolor versions of the same painting sometimes years following the oil work.