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Jordanus Hoorn (Amersfoort 1753-1833 Amersfoort)

A seated man looking to his right

black chalk, black chalk framing lines
26.9 x 19.8 cm

The artist’s studio estate and by descent;
Anonymous sale; Van Stockum, The Hague, 4 June 1947, part of lot 879 (280 figure, landscape and animal studies from the artist’s production at the academy), where acquired by;
art dealer ‘Buitendijk’, The Hague, from whom acquired (along with a large group of studies by Jordanus Hoorn by;
Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen (1880-1968), Amsterdam (L. 6016), and by descent.

Artistic life in the 18th-century Dutch Republic remained largely locally oriented. The important cities, primarily located in North and South Holland, had their own artistic styles as evidenced by the figure studies produced during this time. In most artistic centres, a single leading artist’s style was predominant, influencing younger artists to work in the same style. In Haarlem, the leading figure was Jordanus Hoorn, who executed the present drawing, and of whom many drawings have survived (see provenance). His drawings are furthermore well documented due to a number of signed sheets.[1]

Jordanus, the son of a beekeeper located near Amersfoort, became a pupil of the topographer Gerrit Toorenburg (1732-1785) at the age of eighteen. The Haarlem Burgomaster and art collector Gerrit Willem van Oosten de Bruyn (1727-1797), who spent his summers at his country seat near Amersfoort, further encouraged Hoorn to pursue his career in Haarlem. From 1772 up to 1778 Hoorn was a member of the Haarlem drawing academy, where members practiced their drawing skills using farmers with their tools as models. These drawings could later be used to staffage their paintings with figures. To save costs, the artist themselves also posed as models. One such drawing is known through the inscription on its verso ‘Den 10 November 1777 weer begonnen te tekenen naar malkander op mijn kamer’ [10 November 1777 started drawing again after each other in my room].[2] Unfortunately, it is unknown which artists sat during these drawing sessions.

From the period circa 1725-1780, only a small number of groups of signed figure studies executed during drawing sessions at drawing societies are known, with Jordanus Hoorn’s drawings being one of these.[3] In 1788, Hoorn returned to Amersfoort where he founded a drawing academy, but he continued to visit Haarlem to draw from live models, as evidenced by a drawing dated 1788.[4] The present drawing is more worked out than most of Hoorn’s figure studies, with particular attention paid to the sitter’s facial features, suggesting that the model may have been a friend of the artist. Thus, the drawing could have served more as a portrait than a figure study and might have also been a study for a painting. The social status of the sitter is indicated by his wig and the luxurious Louis XV chair sits, both contrasting with the usual modest wooden chairs seen in Hoorn’s drawings. However, the blue paper used for this drawing is typical of the artist’s drawings and it can be compared to another figure study from the same group (fig. 1).

[1] see, for example, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; inv. RP-T-1959-93 (donated by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen).
[2] Leiden, University Library, Special Collections, PK-T-AW-881 [internetverwijzing naar de tekening???]; illustrated in Fea Livestro-Nieuwenhuis, Jordanus Hoorn, een Amersfoortse kunstenaar in zijn tijd, 1753-1833, Amersfoort 1983, p. 25.
[3] See R.J.A. te Rijdt, Nederlandse figuurstudies 1700-1850, exhib. cat., Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 1994.
[4] Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; inv. RP-T-1959-90 (donated by Christiaan Pieter van Eeghen).

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