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Anthonie Beerstraaten

A Magnificent Winter Landscape

745. Anthonie Beerstraaten (Holland 1637-after 1664).
A winter landscape with skaters near the church in Beverwijk.
Signed and dated A Berstraten 166?. Oil on relined canvas, 86.5 x 127.5 cm.

Politician Axel Adlercreutz (1821‑1880), Sweden.
Acquired by Negotiant Johan Edvard Francke (1824‑1891) in1880, at the sale after the above.
Thence by descent to the present owner.


De Kerk te Beverwijk van achteren en op haer linkerzijde Hervormde kerk, zuidoostzijdeKopergravure, 1768, by: Hendrik de Leth (1703-1766), Noord-Hollands Archief / Kennemerland collection, NL-HlmNHA_53004406

The impressive winter landscape by Beerstraaten in this sale is a fine example of a painting from the Dutch Golden Age. The frozen lake in front of the Beverwijk church serves as the scene where people are enjoying the season’s activities; some are socializing on the ice, while others skate and play winter games.

Beverwijk is a Dutch city near the Northsea at about 35 km to the Northwest of Amsterdam, nowadays mostly known for the Bazaar and for the nearby steel industry of Tata Steel. Beerstraaten’s view is from the Southwest and depicts the church as seen in the map by Johannes Bleau. For obvious pictorial reasons he has moved the frozen Wijker Meer (now a polder) closer to the church whereas in fact this water was much further away.

The tall trees, affected by the winter and thus leafless, are framing the scene on either side. A woman, wrapped against the cold is crossing the bridge. There are dark, dramatic clouds above.

Much confusion exists about the identity of the various members of the Beerstraaten family (spelt in a variety of ways). The family of painters was active in Amsterdam in the middle of the 17th century. Jan Abrahamsz. Beerstraaten (1622-1666) became known for his winter views of Dutch townscapes, mainly views of Amsterdam, but also of smaller towns as well as Mediterranean harbor scenes.  The family’s workshop continued in the same style and subject matter.

The present painting is here attributed to Anthonie Beerstraaten, as the signature clearly reads as A Berstraten, although it may also be by Abraham Beerstraaten (1643 – 166?). The same uncertainty applies to the View of Wognum, signed A. Beerstraaten fecit, oil on canvas, 94 x 129,7 cm, which was sold at Lempertz,

Cologne, 15 November 2012, lot 1203, as Abraham Beerstraaten, which might also be by Anthonie. A similar signed painting of a View of Midlum, in the Michaelis Collection, Capetown, has been attributed to Abraham Beerstraaten. Another View of Beverwijk, signed with monogram, oil on canvas, 78 x 120 cm, was with Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam (Photograph recorded in the RKD).

There is little known about both Anthonie and Abraham Beerstraaten. They where both active in the middle of the 17th century and painted the same subjects of winter land- and townscapes and in the same style. The present painting shows a truly Dutch winterscene including the skaters, the beautiful church and the elegant yet dramatic composition.

We would like to thank Laurens Schoemaker of the RKD for his kind help in cataloguing this lot.

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