Gerson Digital : Germany I


1.2 Artists from the Rhineland and Other Parts of Germany

Amsterdam was a suitable place to learn portrait painting. Peter Lely (1618-1680) from Soest,1 Frédéric Kerseboom (1632-1693) from Solingen and the two brothers Gottfried (1646-1723) and Johann Zacharias (1642-1702) Kneller enjoyed their training here, subsequently providing themselves with a good living elsewhere. We will talk about the two Knellers later, and we will meet all four of them again in England.2 We quickly pass by the unknown Dortmund genre painter Hendrik Potuyl (1613-in or after 1652) [1], who married in Amsterdam in 1644,3 to arrive at the Leipzig born Nicolaes Knüpfer (c. 1609-1655), who became an Utrechter.4 He was taught by Abraham Bloemaert and later became Jan Steen’s first teacher. Artistically, he completely belonged to the Utrecht school, just as Ludolf Bakhuizen fits into the line of Amsterdam marine painters.

From another borderland hail the Haarlem artists Pieter Claesz (c. 1597/98-1660)5 and Wouter Knijff (c. 1605/7-1694), the latter incidentally the son of a painter in Haarlem, the former of Flemish origin. Rembrandt-pupil Govert Flinck (1615-1660) from Cleves always kept up his connection to his native land [2];6 later Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, Stadholder of Cleves, was his patron, which resulted in relations to the Brandenburg-Prussian court. Flinck’s works do not show any trace of his German descent. The same goes for Johann Friedrich Bodecker (1658/60-1727),7 son of a musician at the court of the Great Elector, and the later portrait painter Jan Maurits Quinkhard (1688-1772).8

If we sail up the Rhine, then Düsseldorf and Cologne are the most important art centres, where we will make a halt repeatedly. Guilliam du Gardijn (c. 1595/96-after 1647), the father of Karel Dujardin, and J. van Brands,9 both came from Cologne ; Jacob Weyerman met the latter in Den Bosch in 1709. Also from Cologne came a certain Jan Serange (c. 1566-1624), who died in Delft.10 Already in the 1630s Godaert Kamper (c. 1613/14-1679) from Düsseldorf painted Dutch guardroom scenes in the style of Pieter Codde and Adriaen Palamedesz, which cannot be distinguished from the products of genuine Dutch art [3]. That he was versatile and flexible, are also proved by his landscapes in the style of Aert van der Neer, Jacob Ruisdael and Meindert Hobbema [4].11

Hendrik Potuyl
Peasants fighting,
paper, graphite ? x ? mm
upper left : Hbo Potuyl. f.
Braunschweig, Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, inv./ Z 1785

Govert Flinck
Landscape with a tree in the surroundings of Cleves, dated 1642
paper, pen in brown ink, brown and grey wash 190 x 195 mm
lower left : G. flinck. f 1642
London (England), British Museum, inv./ 1912,1214.13

Godaert Kamper
Elegant company in an interior, dated 1636
panel, oil paint 47,6 x 63 cm
location unknown : G.Kamper/1636
Christie's (London (England)) 1995-02-24, nr. 13

Godaert Kamper
Wooded landscape with figures on a dirt track alongside a stream,
panel, oil paint 45 x 57,5 cm
lower left : G. Kamper. f.
Zurich/New York, art dealer David Koetser

Frankfurt was the birthplace of Johannes Lingelbach (1622-1674),12 who had already settled down in Amsterdam as a teenager.13 Also from Frankfurt hailed the flower painter Maria Sybille Graff-Merian (1647-1717), who came to Holland in 1685.14 She was accompanied by her two daughters Johanna Helena Graff (1668-after 1723), who married Herolt,15 and Dorothea Maria Graff (1678-1743), who wed the painter Georg Gsell (1673-1740) in Amsterdam [5].16

As is generally known, Caspar Netscher’s (1635/36-1684) birthplace was Heidelberg.17 During the invasion of the French his mother fled with her children to Holland, where the young artist’s talent was soon recognized.18 One assumes that Hans Jurriaensz van Baden (c. 1604-1677) was a child from Baden. His birthplace is supposed to be Steinbach in Baden (‘Steenbach’).19 After we mention the Southern German still-life painter Johannes Bouman (1601-1658) – from Strasbourg – and Wilhelm Herman Werner (1671/72-1729) from Darmstadt20 too, we will have enumerated enough smaller and larger talents who turned their back on their homeland. The fact that the Rhine area and Southern Germany contributed relatively little to our subject, has its basis in the blossoming of culture in these regions, that gave many painters the opportunity to work and to develop their own talents and could even provide employment for a large number of foreign – Dutch – artists.21

Georg Gsell
Portrait of Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), c. 1715
paper, washed, pen in brown ink 351 x 220 mm
lower center : GGsell delineavit
Private collection


1 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Actually, Peter Lely was a pupil of Frans Pietersz. de Grebber in Haarlem; however, he had good contacts in Amsterdam (Gerrit Uylenburgh) and travelled in 1656 on a passport from London to Amsterdam (Lammertse 1999).

2 [Van Leeuwen 2017} Gerson 1942/1983, p. 201, 222, 384.

3 [Gerson 1942/1983] De Vries 1885, p. 69. On the auction of P.S. van Gelder in Geneva 7 October 1933, no. 86 a still-life dated 1652 appeared. Hofstede de Groot also knew other works. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson actually calls Hendrik Potuyl (Hendrik van der Bosch) a still-life painter, mixing him up with Pieter van den Bosch (1612/13-in or after 1663). The still-life at the auction in Geneva is RKDimages 19957.

4 [Gerson 1942/1983] Brinkhuis 1935. Compare Wilnau 1935 and Wilnau 1936. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Saxton 2005.

5 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Claesz was not born in Burgsteinfurt c. 1600 but in Berchem (Flanders) c. 1597/98. M. Brunner in Saur 1992-, vol. 19 (1998), p. 353-354 , was the first to argue that Claesz was not born in Burgsteinfurt, but in Flanders.

6 [Gerson 1942/1983] A view of Cleves of 1642 in London, Print Room (Hind 4); compare Dattenberg 1940.

7 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Gerson quoted Wurzbach stating that Bodecker was born in Cleves in 1660 (Wurzbach 1906-1911, vol. 1 (1906) , p. 122); Thieme/Becker and later sources state Berlin c. 1658 as birth dates.

8 [Gerson 1942/1983] Also from the German-Dutch border area came the German/Dutch draughtsman Johan Bräckerfeldt (Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 4 (1917), p. 1281-1285; vol. 7 (1921), p. 19. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Not known to Gerson at the time was the (probably related) draughtsman and glass-painter Herman Breckerveld (1595/96-1673), who was born in Duisburg. Van ‘t Zelfde 2007.

9 [Van Leeuwen 2017] According to Weyerman, Brands was a competent animal painter and a less competent portrait painter, who became an alcoholic and died in poverty (Weyerman 1729-1769, vol. 4, p. 37-47).

10 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 3 (1917), p. 948; vol. 6 (1919), p. 2232-2237.

11 [Gerson 1942/1983] Kamper is in Leiden from 1633, later in Amsterdam and Naarden. Bredius 1922 and Collins Baker 1922.

12 [Van Leeuwen 2017] On Lingelbach: Burger-Wegener 1976.

13 [Gerson 1942/1983] De Vries 1885, p. 159-160.

14 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Sonnabend/Roth et al. 2017.

15 [Van Leeuwen 2017] De Beer 2014.

16 [Van Leeuwen 2017] The last couple left Amsterdam in 1717 to pursue their careers in Saint Petersburg until their death. They will appear in Gerson Digital : Russia (forthcoming).

17 [Gerson 1942/1983] Hufschmid 1922. [Van Leeuwen 2017] Heidelberg or possibly Prague (Wieseman 2002, p. 24).

18 [Van Leeuwen 2017] After the death of his parents, he was raised by Arnold or Abraham Tulleken in Arnhem. There Netscher received his first drawing lessons by Hendrick Coster(Wieseman 2002, p. 24).

19 [Gerson 1942/1983] Bredius 1927.

20 [Van Leeuwen 2017] Werner did not come from Darmstadt, but from Gladenbach: ‘Wilhelm Herman Werner von Gladdenbach, Fynschilder, oud 27 jaren’, according to his notice of marriage (Bredius 1938). Wilhelm Herman Warnar and Wilhelm Herman Werner were thought to be two different artists (see following note).

21 [Gerson 1942/1983] Time and again we come across unknown Germans in Holland, for example: Laurens Floor (c. 1634-1667) from Friedrichstadt (De Vries 1885, p. 143); Salomon de la Tombe (c. 1634-1660) from Aachen (De Vries 1886, p. 141); [W.H. Werner aus ‘Gladenbach’, Bredius 1938, see previous note] and Conrad Wüscher (c.1650-after 1691) from Schaffhausen (Bredius 1915-1921, vol. 6, p. 1988).

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