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Albertus Brondgeest (Amsterdam 1786-1849)

Two studies of a standing woman

inscribed and dated ‘Zonder Wet of Spreuk/ 23 Oct: 1815’ red chalk, brown wash
20.7 x 19.1 cm

D.P. Brondgeest (L. 4331, with inscription ‘DB./ No 29.’ and with label ‘DB./ No 29.’).
Private collection, The Netherlands.

According to Van Eijnden and Van der Willigen, Brondgeest’s interest in drawing was first sparked when he visited the collector Cornelis Ploos van Amstel (1726-1798), one of the greatest drawings collectors of his time, at a young age. [1] His interest in drawing was so profound that the artist Jean Bernard (1765-1833) encouraged Albertus’ parents to have him trained by the slightly elder and celebrated landscape painter Pieter Gerardus van Os (1776-1839). He received drawing lessons from Van Os for several years and later continued his training with Jan Hulswit (1766-1822).
Brondgeest was not alone in his keen interest in drawing; at the turn of the 19th century draughtsmanship flourished in Holland and to meet the artists’ need to draw after models, a growing number of ‘tekengenootschappen’ (drawing societies) were founded. One such society was ‘Zonder Wet of Spreuk’ in Amsterdam, which was founded in circa 1807 and existed until 1822, [2] and amongst its members were Van Os, Hulswit and Brondgeest himself. [3] The small, private, society had fourteen members who regularly (on Mondays) came together to draw figure studies from models. Fortunately, many drawings from
the society have survived and thanks to Robert-Jan te Rijdt’s efforts in his 1990 article on the society, we can gain a clear idea of its members and the drawings they produced. Furthermore, one of its members, Abraham Ruytenschildt (1778-1841) inscribed at least 27 sheets with the societies name, giving valuable information on the drawings produced during the society’s drawing sessions. [4] The present sheet is a rare example of a drawing by Brondgeest with an inscription ‘Zonder Wet of Spreuk’ and it is furthermore neatly dated 23 October 1815, making it stand out in the artist’s drawn 'œuvre'.

1 R. van Eijnden and A. van der Willigen, 'Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, sedert de helft der XVIII eeuw', Haarlem, 1830 [reprint, Amsterdam, 1979], vol. 3, pp. 272-273.
2 L.A. Schwartz, 'The Dutch Drawings in The Teyler Museum. Artists born between 1740 and 1800', Haarlem, Ghent and Doornspijk, 2004, p. 29.
3 R.-J. te Rijdt, ‘Figuurstudies van het Amsterdamse particuliere tekengenootschap ‘Zonder Wet of Spreuk’ (ca. 1808-1819)’, Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum, 1990, vol. 38, No. 3, pp. 223-244.
4 R.-J. te Rijdt, 'op. cit.', p. 225.

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