© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
2008.250
People
Simon de Vlieger, Dutch (Rotterdam 1600/1601 - 1653 Weesp)
Title
View of Weesp
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1649-1653
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black chalk, gray wash, some incised lines in lower half of added strip at right, on off-white antique laid paper
Dimensions
39.3 x 67.9 cm (15 1/2 x 26 3/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, lower left, brown ink: 1280
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: Simon de Vlieger
  • watermark:
    Arms of Bern; related to Lindt 98–101 (House of Beyer Halbysen or Jeronimus Halbysen, possibly the mill “La Mothe” near Yverdon, canton of Vaud, 1550–73)
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: 19
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: PTRgn.
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, blue ink: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: 139203
Provenance
[Sotheby Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 18 November 1985, lot 127, repr.] sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston (L. 3306, verso, lower left); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, inv. no. 2008.250.
Published Text
Catalogue
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
Authors
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
Publisher
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)

Catalogue entry no. 94 by William W. Robinson:

Simon de Vlieger’s interest in architectural subjects first became apparent in a group of drawings and etchings that date from the late 1630s, showing dilapidated city walls, gates, and towers. Although he based motifs in some of them on the ramparts of Delft, most of these picturesque townscapes probably depict invented, composite scenery.1 During the 1640s and early 1650s, he produced drawings of greater topographical fidelity, including several of ruined churches and castles.2 At least three represent the town of Weesp, which lies on the river Vecht, about ten miles southeast of the center of Amsterdam. De Vlieger purchased a house in Weesp on January 13, 1649, and resided there until his death in March 1653.3

The view of Weesp in the Harvard drawing was taken from the approach to the gabled Muiderpoort (Muiden Gate), which was accessible via the drawbridge at the far right. The vantage point encompassed the varied facades and bustling commercial activity on the Hoogstraat, the street that ran along the bank of the Vecht. De Vlieger executed at least two other drawings from the same location. A work in the Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris, shows the buildings along the Vecht that appear in the right half of the Harvard work (Fig. 1), and a sheet in the Amsterdam Museum extends the prospect downriver, including its opposite bank and the rest of the town to the distant fuller’s mill, nicknamed “De Stinkerd” (Fig. 2).4 The Paris and Amsterdam drawings, which are nearly identical in size, belonged to the same eighteenth-century collection and were once evidently regarded as pendants.5 Placed side by side, they show more or less the same prospect as the Harvard view and a 1645 painting by Isaack van Ruisdael (Fig. 3).6 A conspicuous detail documented in the Harvard and Paris drawings and the Ruisdael painting is the gradual deterioration of the wooden piles in the water before the semicircular bastion at the right. More or less intact in the 1645 painting, the piles show neglect in the Paris sheet, which may date from about 1650, shortly after De Vlieger settled in Weesp.7 The piles have nearly disappeared in the Harvard work, suggesting a date for the latter of about 1651–52. The tower of the fifteenth-century Sint Laurentiuskerk, which is visible in the painting by Isaack van Ruisdael (see Fig. 3) and in De Vlieger’s Paris drawing (see Fig. 1), is obscured in the Harvard view by the foliage of the tree that rises above the medieval bastion.8

View of Weesp exemplifies De Vlieger’s extraordinary technical accomplishment. In addition to the skillful handling of the chalk and wash throughout this large sheet, he improvised techniques that enhance the graphic vitality of selected details, such as the decorative stonework of the scrolled gable at the far right. Along the left side of the gable, De Vlieger left a reserve of untouched paper, which helps distinguish the motif from the surrounding walls and roofs, and he further enhanced contours of the gables by indenting them with a blunt point. These subtle interventions draw our attention to the intricate description of the scrollwork and other details on the facade.

Notes

1 Christiaan P. van Eeghen, “Simon de Vlieger as a Draftsman, I: The Pen Drawings,” Master Drawings, vol. 44, no. 1 (Spring 2006): 3–47, pp. 9–15; Christiaan P. van Eeghen, “Simon de Vlieger as a Draftsman, II: Chalk Drawings Other than Pure Landscapes,” Master Drawings, vol. 49, no. 2 (Summer 2011): 179–221, pp. 194–99.

2 See Rijnsburg, View of the Abby Ruins from the East, Edinburgh, National Galleries of Scotland, D 1132 (Keith Andrews, Catalogue of Netherlandish Drawings in the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1985, p. 98, fig. 166); Warmond, Ruins of the Church, Vienna, Graphische Sammlung Albertina, 9168; and Ruins of Brederode Castle, Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, RP-T-1902-A- 4632 (Marijn Schapelhouman and Peter Schatborn, Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: Artists Born between 1580 and 1600; Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish drawings in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Vol. 6 (Amsterdam and London, 1998), cat. 406, pp. 186–87, repr. vol. 2, p. 200).

3 Jan Kelch, “Studien zu Simon de Vlieger als Marinemaler.” Ph.D. diss., University of Berlin (Berlin, 1971), pp. 1–4.

4 Simon de Vlieger, View of Weesp with the Muiderpoort (Fig. 1). Black chalk and gray wash, 189 × 306 mm. Signed, lower right, in black chalk, S DE VL. Paris, Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, 250 (Ben Broos in Ben P. J. Broos and Marijn Schapelhouman, Oude tekeningen in het bezit van het Amsterdams Historisch Museum, waaronder de collectie Fodor: Nederlandse Tekenaars geboren tussen 1600 en 1660, Amsterdam and Zwolle, Netherlands, 1993, p. 217). Simon de Vlieger, View of Weesp with the Mill “De Stinkerd” (Fig. 2). Black chalk and gray wash, 191 × 312 mm. Signed in black chalk, S DE VLIEGER. Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, Fodor collection, A 10366 (Ben Broos in Broos and Schapelhouman, p. 217).

5 Ben Broos in Broos and Schapelhouman, p. 217.

6 Isaack van Ruisdael, View of Weesp (Fig. 3). Oil on canvas, 106.7 × 151.1 cm. Signed and dated, I v. Ruisdael 1645. Cape Town, The Old Town House, Michaelis Collection, 14/51 (Seymour Slive, “A Newly Discovered Painting by Isaack van Ruisdael in Philadelphia,” The Burlington Magazine, vol. 139, 1997: 690–92, pp. 691–92; Hans Fransen, Michaelis Collection, The Old Town House, Cape Town: Catalogue of the Collection of Paintings and Drawings, Cape Town and Zwolle, 1997, cat. 56, pp. 137–38, repr. and repr. color, p. 72, pl. XXXVI).

7 Ben Broos in Broos and Schapelhouman, p. 217. 8 See ibid. for topographical details.

8 See ibid. for topographical details.

Figures
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
2008
Object Number
2008.250
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Frederik J. Duparc, Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, exh. cat., The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, 1988), cat. no. 99, p. 225, repr.

William W. Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., H. O. Zimman, Inc. (Lynn, MA, 1991), cat. no. 37, pp. 92-93, repr.

George S. Keyes, "[Review] Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings. A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection", Master Drawings (Winter 1992), vol. 30, no. 4, pp. 443-448, pp. 447-8

Ben Broos and Marijn Schapelhouman, Oude tekeningen in het bezit van het Amsterdams Historisch Museum, waaronder de collectie Fodor. Nederlandse Tekenaars geboren tussen 1600 en 1660, Amsterdams Historisch Museum and Waanders Uitgevers (Amsterdam and Zwolle, 1993), under cat. no. 170, p. 217 (n. 9)

George S. Keyes, "Vlieger, Simon de", The Dictionary of Art, ed. Jane Turner, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. (London, 1996), vol. 32, pp. 671-73, p. 673

William W. Robinson, Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2002), cat. no. 68, pp. 162-63, 263, and 280, repr.

Michiel C. Plomp, "[Review] Bruegel to Rembrandt. Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection.", Oud Holland (2004), vol. 117, no. 1/2, pp. 99-102, p. 101 (n. 3)

Ida Kemperman-Wilke and Aukje Zondergeld-Hamer, Weesp, 650 jaar stad, Enter Weesp bv (Weesp, 2005), pp. 32-33, repr.

Friso Lammertse and Jaap Van Der Veen, Uylenburgh & Son: Art and Commerce from Rembrandt to De Lairesse 1625-1675, exh. cat., Waanders Uitgevers and The Rembrandt House Museum (Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2006), repr. p. 39, fig. 18

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 20; cat. no. 94, pp. 309-311, repr. p. 310 (foldout); watermark p. 382

Exhibition History

Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/20/1988 - 04/03/1988; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 04/15/1988 - 05/29/1988

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 02/23/1991 - 04/18/1991; Albertina Gallery, Vienna, 05/16/1991 - 06/30/1991; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 01/22/1992 - 04/22/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/10/1992 - 12/06/1992

Bruegel to Rembrandt: Dutch and Flemish Drawings from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, British Museum, London, 06/13/2002 - 09/22/2002; Institut Néerlandais, Paris, 10/10/2002 - 12/08/2002; Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/22/2003 - 07/06/2003

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu