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Lambert Doomer, Dutch, 1624-1700:
Village Scene with Houses and a Bridge, 1645
Pen in brown ink with gray washes on paper; framing lines in brown ink.
8 7⁄8 × 16 3⁄8 in. (22.6 × 41.6 cm)
Verso, lower left, pen and ink, signed and dated by the artist Doomer f. Anno 1645; lower center, in pencil, L. Doomer / A5626; and top center, 130y.
- Chain Lines:
- Horizontal, 28-29mm
Vincent van Gogh (art dealer and cousin of the artist), 1866 – 1911, Amsterdam; his sale, Muller, Amsterdam, 12 February 1913, lot 226; Curt Otto, c. 1880 – 1929, Leipzig (Lugt 611c, mark on verso); his sale, C. G. Boerner, Leipzig, 7 November 1929, lot 49; dealer, P. and D. Colnaghi, London; Carl Robert Rudolf, 1884 – 1974, London (Lugt 2811b, mark on verso); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 21 May 1963, lot 32; dealer, N. G. Stogdon, New York, and Artemis Fine Arts, London, 1986, (cat. 10, plate 7); sale, Sotheby’s, London, 8 July 2004, lot 83; Sheldon and Leena Peck, Boston (Lugt 3847); gift to the Ackland Art Museum, inv. no. 2017.1.20.
Earp 1930, 424; Dattenberg 1940, 13 – 16, plate 15; Van den Berg 1942, no. 100; London 1953, no. 326; Lugt 1956, under no. 611c (the Otto sale); London, Birmingham & Leeds 1962, no. 96, plate 18; Schulz 1972, 36, 224, no. 26; Schulz 1974, 43, no. 24, fi g. 15; Sumowski Drawings, vol. 2 (1979), 918 – 19, no. 427.
- Ackland Catalogue:
Intense sunlight strikes the buildings that line the road of this small village. At the center, a woman cloaked in the shadow of the trees appears to stop just over the bridge, distracted by something of interest to the right. Long considered to be set in France near the city of Nantes, Lambert Doomer’s drawing may have been made closer to home in the Netherlands based on the architectural features depicted. The artist’s use of pen combined with simple applications of wash suggests an early work, perhaps one of his only Dutch village scenes to survive from the beginning stages of his career.
It is unclear if Lambert Doomer spent time in Rembrandt’s studio, but in 1640 Rembrandt painted portraits of his father, Herman Doomer (c. 1595 – 1650), an ebony frame-maker who supplied the artist with frames, and his mother, Baertje Martens (c. 1596 – 1678).1
Lambert is best known today for his drawings, about 300 of which survive, many resulting from his travels in France and the Rhineland.2
They remain valuable as records of historical buildings and topography and as examples of his appealing and distinctive style of draftsmanship. He executed a large number of highly finished color replicas of many of his drawings in subsequent years, such as the group on ledger paper from the early 1670s that reproduced his travels in France in 1645 – 46.3
Lambert undertook this first major voyage as a young man, meeting his merchant brothers Maerten (1621 – before 1678) and Hendrick (d. 1670) in Nantes, where they had business concerns. The artist Willem Schellinks (1623 – 1678) joined him there on May 17, 1646, according to his journal. Doomer and Schellinks then traveled up the Loire River, recording many views along the way.4
The present drawing, which Doomer signed and dated 1645 on the verso, dates to the same period as these early travels. It was once a matter of debate whether Doomer was already in Nantes by 1645, since Wolfgang Schulz believed that he only arrived in early 1646, shortly before Schellinks joined him.5
Peter Schatborn, however, convincingly argued that a number of Doomer’s views in and around Nantes bear the correct date of 1645, even though these views are much later replicas on which Doomer wrote the date of the original rather than the date of reproduction, and despite the fact that Schulz believed Doomer’s memory had slightly failed him when he did so.6
The Peck drawing poses two questions related to these issues. One is whether this modest and charming village scene can indeed be connected to Doomer’s time in France. The second is whether this drawing bears its actual date of creation, or is one of Doomer’s many later replicas in which he recorded the original date rather than the date of execution. Schulz considered both the locale and date of execution of this drawing difficult to determine.7
Werner Sumowski assumed the village was set in France, and this sheet must be a replica of a lost drawing first made in 1645.8
If the present view is set in France, it seems more likely to have been in a nearby village rather than a city like Nantes, which was fairly large and urban in Doomer’s day, especially since he also traveled to surrounding villages during his stay there in 1645 and early 1646.9
One cannot help wondering, however, if this scene depicts a Dutch village rather than a French one. Features such as the stepped-gable house in the center background, the softly rising bridge over a canal or stream, and the woman peering out from a half door on the right all seem to point to a location closer to home. None of these characteristics would specifically rule out a setting in France, but Doomer’s known village views in France often feature the half-timber domestic architecture more commonly found there, rather than the brick or slat-board structures seen in this work. Doomer was also in the habit of labeling the location of his drawings in France.10
Most of those set in and around Nantes bear quite specific inscriptions recording their location, whereas he inscribed this sheet simply with his name and the year. If, in fact, set in the Netherlands, the Peck drawing would be one of his only Dutch village views that can be placed securely at the beginning of his career. He drew many such views later, especially after he moved to Alkmaar around 1669.
Whether or not this sheet actually dates to 1645 is difficult to say, especially without the presence of a watermark, but the slightly wider chain lines are more commonly (though not exclusively) found on papers from a few decades later. It has long been assumed that most of Doomer’s drawings bearing dates of 1645 and 1646 number among his later replica drawings. In this case, however, the evidence of style seems to suggest an early work. Its simpler use of media, which consists only of pen lines and a simple application of washes, contrasts with the fuller array of colors he often used in his later replicas. The loose and lively style of foliage also argues for a drawing in his early manner, in which he used a brush alone to generate certain branches and foliage independent of the passages defined by pen. Doomer was inclined to use a tighter and more focused style of pen work in his later drawings.11
Portrait of Herman Doomer, 1640, oil on panel, 75 × 55.3 cm, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Portrait of Baertje Martens, c. 1640, oil on panel, 75.1 × 55. 9 cm, St. Petersburg, Hermitage. See Rembrandt, Corpus, vol. 6, 274 – 75, 571, nos. 177a & 177b.
For Doomer’s drawings, see Schulz 1972 (his dissertation, cataloguing 386 drawings); Schulz 1974 (reducing the number to 272 drawings); and Sumowski, Drawings, vol. 2, 783 – 1125.
For Doomer’s replica drawings, see Van den Berg 1942, 7; Schulz 1974, 26 – 29; and Alsteens & Buijs 2008, 34 – 35.
For this voyage and resulting drawings, see especially Alsteens & Buijs 2008; as well as Van den Berg 1942; and Paris & Amsterdam 2006 – 07.
Schulz 1974, 16.
Schatborn 1977, 50.
Schulz 1974, 43, no. 24: “Lokalisierung und (trotz Jahresangabe) Datierung schwierig.
Sumowski, Drawings, vol. 2, 918, no. 427.
See, for example, Windmill on the Road to Vieillevigne (London, British Museum, inv. no. Gg,2.264), labeled by the artist as being taken outside Nantes on the road to Vieillevigne, signed and dated 1645; Royalton-Kisch 2010, Lambert Doomer, no. 1; Alsteens & Buijs 2008, 111, 115, no. 23; Sumowski, Drawings, vol. 2, 814 – 15, no. 383; and Schulz 1974, 58, no. 85. A handful of other drawings also appear to be set just outside of Nantes.
Many of these ended up in the significant collection of drawings owned by Jeronimus Tonneman (1687 – 1750) in Amsterdam, with the inscriptions recorded in the 1754 auction catalogue of his collection; see Alsteens & Buijs 2008, 34 – 35.
See, for example, Vriese Poort in Alkmaar (Paris, Fondation Custodia, inv. no. 4780), signed and dated 1686; Schulz 1974, 74, no. 148; and Sumowski, Drawings, vol. 2, 914 – 15, no. 425.