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Cornelis Springer (Amsterdam 1817-1891 Hilversum)

A view of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam

signed with initials ‘CS/ [18]43’ (recto) and signed ‘C: Springer/ 1843’ (verso) and with inscriptions ‘Het Koninklijk Paleis te Amsterdam’ and ‘Le Palais du Roi à Paris’ (verso)
traces of graphite, pen and brown ink, watercolour, graphite framing lines
16.7 x 22.4 cm

The Goupil Gallery, London.
Jean Charles Joseph and Maria Lydia Drucker-Fraser, by whom presented to a private collector and by descent to the present owner.

Cornelis Springer was celebrated as the preeminent Dutch topographical painter of his time, a reputation that the artist still holds to this day. Born into a family of carpenters and building contractors, he was blessed with great knowledge of architecture. He learned the principles of perspective and architectural drawing from his brother, Hendrik Springer, who was an architect and later completed his artistic training at the Amsterdam Academy in 1835. That same year, when the artist was just 18, he was apprenticed to the topographical painter Kasper Karsen who specialised in capricci. While Springer also did produce fantasy landscapes and town views, he specialised in accurate topographical views early on (although he did not hesitate to occasionally amend specific architectural elements). Throughout his career Springer produced a large number of highly detailed paintings and drawings depicting views of villages, towns and cities throughout the Netherlands which serve as important topographical records.

These works gave him recognition early on and in 1843 he won a silver medal for his work from the Felix-Meritis society. In that same year he executed the present hitherto unpublished drawing. The sheet shows Springer’s ambition in producing highly detailed, yet atmospheric topographical views. Neatly signed and dated, the sheet shows the Royal Palace on the Dam and the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. Springer brilliantly rendered the light falling on the architecture and he depicted the decorations on the Royal Palace, and the shadows they cast, with great precision. The scene is furthermore enlivened by a large variety of figures passing by; figures by foot or on carts and a man walking his dog. At left, a woman with her daughter peer into a window of the craft shop A. Heyman.[1] The sheet served as the design for a lithograph by Théodore Fourmois, published by F. Buffa & Zonen in circa 1845 in Amsterdam (Fig. 1.).[2] Another drawing by Springer executed in 1848 in a style closely related to the present drawing shows the Kalverstraat from the south, with at right the gallery of F. Buffa & Zonen and in the far distance the Nieuwe Kerk.[3]

[1] A lithograph, also after a drawing by Cornelis Springer, showing A. Heyman’s firm from a different angle can be found in the Stadsarchief Amsterdam, see image number 010094003066.
[2] Stadsarchief Amsterdam, see image number 010097002312.
[3] Stadsarchief Amsterdam, see image number 010001000402.

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