Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
1949.33
People
Aelbert Cuyp, Dutch (Dordrecht, Netherlands 1620 - 1691 Dordrecht, Netherlands)
Title
View of Rhenen
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1642-46
Culture
Dutch
Persistent Link
https://hvrd.art/o/297063
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black chalk, brown and gray wash, green transparent watercolor, white opaque watercolor, and touches of gum arabic on off-white antique laid paper
Dimensions
17.8 x 49.8 cm (7 x 19 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, left center, graphite: de Stad Rheenen
  • inscription: verso, lower left, graphite: Kuyp
  • inscription: verso, right center, brown ink: =2:15
  • watermark:
    Fragment of a crown, probably from atop a Strasbourg Lily; variant of Churchill 427 (1645)
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: 5 5
Provenance
Dr. H. Wellesley, Oxford (without his mark, L. 1384), sold; [Sotheby’s, London, 25 June 1866 and following days, lot 367]; to [P. & D. Colnaghi, London], sold; to Henry Adams, Boston and London, 1867, by descent; to Mrs. Arthur Adams, Dover, MA.[Schaeffer Galleries, New York], sold; to John S. Newberry, Jr., Grosse Pointe Farms, MI; Gift of John S. Newberry, Jr., given in honor of Paul J. Sachs's 70th Birthday, inv. no. 1949.33.

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. 22 by William W. Robinson:

On March 26, 1867, Henry Adams—journalist, historian, and direct descendant of the second and sixth U.S. presidents—wrote that his friend Francis Turner Palgrave “instigated me into going to an auction sale and giving £12.0. for a Cuyp. I fully expect to be ruined by him ultimately, for drawings are my mortal point and I can’t resist.”2 Adams, who lived in London from 1861 to 1868 as secretary to his father, U.S. minister to Great Britain, did not, as his letter implies, acquire Cuyp’s View of Rhenen at auction, but from the dealer P. & D. Colnaghi. The latter, as Adams recorded on a former mount or backing, had purchased it for £20 in 1866 at the sale of the collection of Henry Wellesley, principal of New Inn Hall, University of Oxford, and Adams bought it from Colnaghi in March 1867 for £12.1.6.

The renowned landscapist Aelbert Cuyp specialized in cattle and equestrian scenes, as well as views of shipping near his native Dordrecht. Suffused with golden sunlight, his mature paintings convey a serene, idyllic mood unequaled by any other Dutch master.3 About two hundred drawings by Cuyp survive.4 In addition to landscapes and a few portraits, they include studies of figures, farm animals, and plants that constitute a stock of motifs to incorporate into pictures.5 Most of the landscapes are fully resolved, autonomous compositions, often elaborated in refined combinations of gray and brown washes, yellowish green and greenish brown transparent watercolor, white opaque watercolor and, in darker passages, a coating of gum arabic to deepen the shadows. Although many of the works are highly finished, Cuyp did not produce them for sale. Nor did he make them as preparatory studies for paintings, although he occasionally reproduced motifs from drawings in the backgrounds of pictures and, in a few instances, adapted an entire composition as the basis for a work in oil.6

View of Rhenen belongs to a group of about fifteen impressive views of Dutch cities that are similar in dimensions, media, and topographical accuracy.7 None of Cuyp’s drawings bear dates, and their chronology is difficult to establish precisely. Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann dates these large panoramas to circa 1642–46 and traces Cuyp’s preference for the oblong format to the example of Jan van de Velde, whose series of etchings Landscapes and Ruins (1615) depicts exceptionally broad vistas with low skies.8

Rhenen lies to the southeast of Utrecht, on a slope that descends about thirty meters to the banks of the Lower Rhine.9 Rising above the low-lying region across the river to the west, south, and east known as De Betuwe and punctuated by the tower of the late Gothic church of Saint Cunera, the picturesque silhouette of the city and its medieval walls and gates attracted legions of Dutch artists. These included Hercules Segers, Pieter Saenredam, Rembrandt, and Jacob van Ruisdael.10 In the Harvard work, Cuyp drew the city from the Grebbeberg, a hill to the east, looking toward De Betuwe. Taking advantage of the breadth of the paper support, he meticulously recorded the walls’ long, diagonal course to the river. At the center of the drawing is the Bergpoort (or Oostpoort), a broad arch in the perimeter wall that led to the outer gate of the medieval bastion, flanked by low conical roofs and the taller structure that was the main portal to the city. At the right is the tower of Saint Cunera’s, which Cuyp accentuated with a dense application of white opaque watercolor. The small, conical tower to the right of Saint Cunera’s housed the staircase of the adjacent house.11 Joris van der Haagen drew the skyline from a point to the south, downhill from where Cuyp sat (Fig. 1).12 In Van der Haagen’s view, the medieval gatehouse appears directly behind the arch of the Bergpoort, and the stair tower is immediately to the right of the tall portal.13

Cuyp evidently visited Rhenen at least twice. A study of the city from the northeast must date from 1641 or earlier, because he incorporated it into a painting of that year.14 Two other views of Rhenen, one drawn from a standpoint north of that in the Harvard sheet and another showing the city from the northwest, were probably executed, like the Harvard study, a few years later.15

Notes

1 (This note refers to an inscription, see “Inscriptions and Marks.”) Henry Adams’s inscription was evidently on a former backing, now lost. Its being on the verso of the drawing is recorded in the fact sheet for this work preserved with the records of Schaeffer Galleries, New York; Research Library, Special Collections, and Visual Resources, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, collection number 910148, Box 19, Schaeffer Galleries stock no. Drawing 1259. However, the inscription is not on the verso of the original drawing and must have been on a backing or mount that has since been removed. That Colnaghi paid £20 at the Wellesley sale is confirmed by the price recorded in an annotated copy of the sale catalogue in the British Museum. The previous lot in the sale, also attributed to Cuyp but knocked down for a modest £1.9, was bought by Adams’s friend Francis Turner Palgrave.

2 Worthington Chauncey Ford, ed., Letters of Henry Adams (1858–1891) (Boston and New York, 1930), vol. 1, p. 125; Ernst Scheyer, “Henry Adams as a Collector of Art,” The Art Quarterly, vol. 25, no. 3 (Autumn 1952): 221–33, p. 223; J. C. Levenson, Eleanor Pearre Abbot, Jayne N. Samuels, eds. The Letters of Henry Adams (Cambridge, 1982–88), p. 526. Palgrave was a professor of poetry at Oxford, man of letters, and critic. He and the Pre-Raphaelite sculptor Thomas Woolner were Adams’s “mentors in the sport of art collecting.” Scheyer, p. 221.

3 Arthur Wheelock and Jacob de Groot in Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., ed., Aelbert Cuyp (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art; London: National Gallery; Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2001), pp. 15–33.

4 J. G. van Gelder in Dordrechts Museum, Aelbert Cuyp en zijn familie, schilders te Dordrecht: Gerrit Gerritsz. Cuyp, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp, Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp, Aelbert Cuyp (Dordrecht, Netherlands: Dordrechts Museum), p. 112.

5 On Cuyp’s studies of figures, animals, and plants, see Wouter Kloek in Wheelock, cats. 94–109, pp. 262–77; and J. G. van Gelder in Dordrechts Museum, cat. 42, pp. 116–17, cats. 58–63, pp. 148–59, and cat. 66, pp. 164–65. On Cuyp’s drawings generally, see J. G. van Gelder in Dordrechts Museum, cats. 41–72, pp. 112–13; Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann and Wouter Kloek in Wheelock, pp. 75–85, and cats. 46 109, pp. 214–77.

6 Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in Wheelock, p. 76.

7 Ibid., pp. 81–82, and Wouter Kloek in Wheelock, cats. 72–76 and 78.

8 Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in Wheelock, p. 82. For Jan van de Velde’s series of eighteen oblong landscape prints, see Hollstein, vol. 33, nos. 172–95, pp. 58–65.

9 Michiel Kersten in Clifford S. Ackley, From Michelangelo to Rembrandt: Master Drawings from the Teylers Museum (New York: Pierpont Morgan Library; Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1989), under cat. 86, pp. 133–34. My thanks to Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann for his comments on a draft of this entry, and especially for correcting my description of the geography of De Betuwe.

10 H. P. Deys, Achter Berg en Rijn: Over boeren, burgers en buitenlui in Rhenen (Rhenen, Netherlands, 1981) and Laurens Schoemaker and Henk Deys, Tegen de Helling van de Heuvelrug: Rhenen in oude tekeningen 1600–1900 (Utrecht, 2007), are richly illustrated surveys of views of Rhenen and its surroundings.

11 Identified by Schoemaker and Deys, cat. 13, p. 52.

12 Joris van der Haagen, View of Rhenen from the East (Fig. 1), c. 1655. Black chalk, gray wash, traces of blue ink and red chalk, 335 × 505 mm. Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, 3556; Schoemaker and Deys, cat. 17, p. 55, repr.

13 Schoemaker and Deys, cat. 17, p. 55.

14 Cuyp’s view of Rhenen in the Teylers Museum, Haarlem, was used in a family portrait dated 1641, in which Aelbert painted the landscape, and his father, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp, painted the figures. See Michiel Kersten in Ackley, cat. 86, pp. 133–34; Michiel C. Plomp, The Dutch Drawings in the Teylers Museum (Ghent and Doornspijk, 1997), cat. 98, pp. 116–17; Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann in Wheelock, p. 80.

15 Schoemaker and Deys, cat. 13, p. 53, repr., and cat. 44, p. 78, repr. The drawing in Berlin, Schoemaker and Deys, cat. 12, p. 51, is an autograph replica, with a different foreground, of the Teylers Museum drawing. See Wouter Kloek in Wheelock, p. 283 (n. 1).

Figures
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of John S. Newberry, Jr., given in honor of Paul J. Sachs's 70th Birthday
Accession Year
1949
Object Number
1949.33
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Frits Lugt, Les Marques de Collections de Dessins et d'Estampes. Marques estampillées et écrites de collections particulières et publiques. . . ., Vereenigde Drukkerijen (Amsterdam, 1921), p. 247

Henry Adams, Letters of Henry Adams (1858-1891), ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Houghton Mifflin Company (Boston, MA and New York, NY, 1930), vol. 1, p. 125

Seventy Master Drawings: A Loan Exhibition Arranged in Honor of Professor Paul J. Sachs on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1948-1949), cat. no. 40

Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard Bulletin Inc. (Cambridge, Massachusetts, January 29, 1949), vol. 51, no. 8, repr. p. 336

Agnes Mongan, ed., One Hundred Master Drawings, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1949), pp. 94-95, repr.

Six Centuries of Great Master Drawings, exh. cat., University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA, 1951), cat. no. 76, repr.

Ernst Scheyer, "Henry Adams as a Collector of Art", The Art Quarterly (Autumn 1952), vol. 25, no. 3, pp. 221-33, pp. 223, 225, 232 (n. 9), repr. p. 229, fig. 1

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, checklist, Unpublished (1954), cat. no. 67, p. 16

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Albright-Knox Art Gallery (Buffalo, NY, 1967), cat. no. 10, n.p.

Fogg Art Museum Acquisitions, 1969-1970, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1971), p. 6

Curtis O. Baer, ed., Seventeenth Century Dutch Landscape Drawings and Selected Prints from American Collections, exh. cat., Vassar College Art Gallery (Poughkeepsie, NY, 1976), cat. no. 50, pp. 15 and 68-69, and under cat. no. 46, p. 64

Dordrechts Museum, Aelbert Cuyp en zijn familie, schilders te Dordrecht: Gerrit Gerritsz. Cuyp, Jacob Gerritsz. Cuyp, Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp, Aelbert Cuyp, exh. cat., Dordrechts Museum (Dordrecht, 1977), under cat. no. 43, p. 118, (n. 4)

Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann, "Jan van Goyen in the Corcoran: Exemplars of Dutch Naturalism", The William A. Clark Collection, ed. Corcoran Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., 1978), pp.55 and 59 (n. 13), repr. p. 54, fig. 44

Konrad Oberhuber, European Master Drawings of Six Centuries from the Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., National Museum of Western Art (Tokyo, 1979), cat. no. 53, n.p., repr. pl. 53

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, checklist (unpublished, 1980), no. 28

H. P. Deys, Achter Berg en Rijn over boeren, burgers en buitenlui in Rhenen, Stichting "Gebroken Lente" (Rhenen, Netherlands, 1981), no. 95, p. 37, repr.

Henry B. Adams, The Letters of Henry Adams, ed. J. C. Levenson, Eleanor Pearre Abbot, and Jayne N. Samuels, Belknap Press (Cambridge, MA, 1982 - 1988), p. 527 (n. 2)

Peter C. Sutton, A Guide to Dutch Art in America, Netherlands-American Amity Trust and Eerdmans (Washington, D.C. and Grand Rapids, MI, 1986), p. 39

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), cat. no. 272, p. 233, repr.

Frederik J. Duparc, Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, exh. cat., The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, 1988), cat. no. 22, p. 89, repr., and repr. color, p. 33, fig. 22

Clifford S. Ackley, From Michelangelo to Rembrandt: Master Drawings from the Teyler Museum, exh. cat., The Morgan Library & Museum (New York, NY, 1989), under cat. no. 86, pp. 133-34 (n. 2)

Paul Huys Janssen and Peter C. Sutton, The Hoogsteder Exhibition of Dutch Landscapes, exh. cat., Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder and Waanders Uitgevers (The Hague; Zwolle, 1991), under cat. no. 8, p. 62

Michiel C. Plomp, The Dutch drawings in the Teylers Museum, Snoeck Ducaju and Davaco (Ghent and Doornspijk, 1997), under cat. no. 98, p. 117

Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., Aelbert Cuyp, exh. cat., ed. Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C., 2001), cat. no. 73, p. 241, repr. (color)

An Exhibition of Master Drawings, auct. cat., P. & D. Colnaghi & Co. Ltd. (London, England, 2001), under cat. no. 18, n.p.

Old Master Drawings, auct. cat., Christie's, New York (New York, NY, January 24, 2001), under lot 160, p. 192

Laurens Schoemaker and H. P. Deys, Tegen de Helling van de Heuvelrug: Rhenen in oude tekeningen 1600-1900, Uitgeverij Matrijs (Utrecht, 2007), no. 13, p. 52, repr. and under cat. no. 14, p. 53, under cat. no. 18, p. 56, under cat. no. 44, p. 78, and p. 271

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, exh. cat., Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 17, 23; cat. no. 22, pp. 91-93, repr. p. 92 (foldout); watermark p. 375

Franklin Einspruch, Fuse Visual Art Review: A Pair of Drawing Shows at the Harvard Art Museums, The Arts Fuse ([e-journal], June 9, 2016), http://artsfuse.org/146319/fuse-visual-arts-review-a-pair-of-drawing-shows-at-the-harvard-art-museums/, accessed June 9, 2016

Exhibition History

Seventy Master Drawings: A Loan Exhibition arranged in honor of Professor Paul J. Sachs on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 01/01/1948 - 12/31/1949

Six Centuries of Master Drawings, University of Iowa, Iowa City, 05/01/1951 - 09/01/1951

An Exhibition of Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolors, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/01/1954 - 04/30/1954

Landscapes, Arthur D. Little, Cambridge, 01/01/1959 - 12/31/1959

Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings from the Fogg Art Museum, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, 05/08/1967 - 06/11/1967

Seventeenth Century Dutch Landscape Drawings and Selected Prints from American Collections, Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, 03/28/1976 - 05/07/1976

European Master Drawings of Six Centuries from the Collection of the Fogg Art Museum, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 11/03/1979 - 12/16/1979

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/04/1981

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

Aelbert Cuyp, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 10/07/2001 - 01/13/2002

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Crossroads: Drawing the Dutch Landscape, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2022 - 08/14/2022

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

Related Works

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