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Anthonie Water­loo, Dutch, 1609-1690: Landscape with Trees by a River, c. 1670 

As sug­gest­ed by his numer­ous topo­graph­ic land­scape draw­ings, Anthonie Water­loo was an enthu­si­as­tic trav­el­er. Between 1655 and 1660 he vis­it­ed places in the Nether­lands, north­ern Ger­many, Poland, France, and per­haps even Italy. This draw­ing, cre­at­ed some ten to twen­ty years later, appears to be a stu­dio pro­duc­tion and demon­strates Water­loo’s more expres­sive and inven­tive approach. Using dif­fer­ent media in var­i­ous col­ors on col­ored or pre­pared paper, the artist pro­duced a dis­tinc­tive wood­land view in which the view­er is placed with­in the shad­ow of a dense for­est, look­ing out toward a sun­drenched vista beyond.

Although nom­i­nal­ly a painter by occu­pa­tion, and often list­ed as such in archival records, very few paint­ings by Anthonie Water­loo have come down to us.1

He is best known today for his etch­ings, num­ber­ing about 140 plates, that were fre­quent­ly reprint­ed well into the eigh­teenth cen­tu­ry, and for his even larg­er num­ber of draw­ings, for which there remains no cat­a­logue, but which must total sev­er­al hun­dred sheets. Water­loo has often been described as a reis­lustige, or trav­el-happy” artist. The label is apt since iden­ti­fi­able places in his numer­ous topo­graph­ic land­scape draw­ings reveal voy­ages taken down the Rhine, through North­ern Ger­many, and into Poland as far as Danzig (Gdan­sk), as well as France and per­haps even Italy.2

His far-reach­ing trips have been placed around 1655 – 60, but Chris­ti­aan van Eeghen recent­ly point­ed to some like­ly excur­sions with­in the Unit­ed Provinces taken with his appar­ent men­tor, Simon de Vlieger (1600/01 – 1653).3

Many of Water­loo’s large black chalk land­scape draw­ings remain dif­fi­cult to dis­tin­guish from those by De Vlieger.4

The present draw­ing shows Water­loo work­ing in one of his most dis­tinc­tive and cre­ative modes, com­bin­ing a num­ber of dif­fer­ent media in var­i­ous col­ors and on col­ored or pre­pared paper to gen­er­ate dense and inti­mate wood­land views. His use of pitch-black oiled chalk or char­coal in the fore­ground pro­duces zones of spa­tial reces­sion that lead our eyes through the image. A sim­i­lar draw­ing in the Rijksmu­se­um appears to be much in the same vein, with bro­ken veg­e­ta­tion and fall­en trees Fig. 61.1.5

Anthonie Waterloo, Woodland Scene with Fallen Tree. Black
Fig. 61.1

Anthonie Water­loo, Wood­land Scene with Fall­en Tree. Black, white, and yel­low chalk, gray wash, char­coal soaked in lin­seed oil, on gray paper, 338 × 260 mm. Ams­ter­dam, Rijksmu­se­um, inv. no. RP-T-1955 – 157

It has proven dif­fi­cult to date these works, but they appear to be stu­dio pro­duc­tions from later in Water­loo’s career, per­haps from the 1670s, long after his trav­el­ing years were behind him.6

Per­haps no more than two dozen of Water­loo’s draw­ings dis­play this imag­i­na­tive and expres­sive side of his char­ac­ter, works that seem to presage an Roman­tic-era spirit.

The prove­nance of this sheet has a dark­er side. It once belonged to the Czech lawyer, Arthur Feld­mann (1877 – 1941), whose col­lec­tion of old mas­ter draw­ings was famed through­out Europe.7

It appar­ent­ly num­bered over 750 works, though it was never fully cat­a­logued before being seized by the Nazis along with all of his other prop­er­ty.8

Feld­mann suf­fered a stroke under tor­ture and died a few days later. His wife like­wise met her demise at Auschwitz, though their chil­dren man­aged to emi­grate. This draw­ing was resti­tut­ed to the Feld­mann heirs in 2013, after which it was sold at auc­tion with other resti­tut­ed works. Despite the many decades since the war, such cases serve as impor­tant reminders that the process of resti­tu­tion still con­tin­ues. The present draw­ing is pub­lished here for the first time.

End Notes

  1. For bio­graph­i­cal data, see Kahn-Ger­zon 1992.

  2. For these trav­els, see Stubbe & Stubbe 1983 (cov­er­ing specif­i­cal­ly his trav­els in North­ern Ger­many); Kahn-Ger­zon 1992, 94; and Buvelot 2010.

  3. Van Eeghen 2015, 313, 331, 332.

  4. See Van Eeghen 2015, which attempts to dis­tin­guish their hands in a num­ber of sheets.

  5. Schapel­houman & Schat­born 1987, no. 78. An older attri­bu­tion of this draw­ing to Willem van Bem­mel (1630 – 1708) writ­ten anony­mous­ly on the verso is worth men­tion­ing since his style is indeed close; see, for exam­ple, a draw­ing by him dated 1660 in the Her­zog Anton Urich Muse­um, Braun­schweig (https://​rkd​.nl/​e​x​p​l​o​r​e​/​i​m​a​g​e​s​/​2​85074), but the attri­bu­tion to Water­loo was con­firmed by Mar­tin Roy­al­ton-Kisch in 1995, accord­ing to an inscrip­tion on the older mount. Water­loo’s foliage tends to be sharp­er and more abrupt, as in the Peck draw­ing, by com­par­i­son to Van Bemmel’s.

  6. A draw­ing that bears styl­is­tic rela­tion to this group in the Lehman Col­lec­tion (Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art, inv. no. 820) bears notes in Water­loo’s hand on the verso that can be dated around 1676, for which see Kahn-Ger­zon 1992, 96. See also in rela­tion to dat­ing a sim­i­lar draw­ing, D. Man­drel­la in Chan­til­ly 2001, 150 – 51, under no. 80.

  7. For the story of Arthur Feld­mann, his fam­i­ly, and his col­lec­tion, see (with fur­ther ref­er­ences) the bio­graph­i­cal note on the British Muse­um web­site: https:// www​.british​mu​se​um​.org/​c​o​l​l​e​ction /​term/​BIOG27053.

  8. Despite the fact that the col­lec­tion was never fully cat­a­logued, much of it appeared on the auc­tion block in 1934, though not the present draw­ing, with Feld­mann remain­ing anony­mous (see the sale cat­a­logue, with an intro­duc­tion by Otto Benesch, Gilhofer & Ran­schburg 28 June 1934). Many of the lots remained unsold and were returned to Feld­mann before being loot­ed by the Gestapo. My thanks to Bill Robin­son for this information.