Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn

Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn
Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn
Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn
Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn
Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn
Abraham Rutgers (Amsterdam, 1632 - 1699) De Rommelpott van Hoorn

Abraham Rutgers was born as the youngest son of David Rutgers and Susanna Flines in 1632. In 1659 he married the ten year younger Anna van Hoeck who died in 1674 during childbirth.[1] Abraham, a slik merchant by profession, was an amateur draughtsman or dilettante and close friend of Jacob Esselens. He was self-taught and later may have been educated by his friend and fellow merchant Esselens and influenced by Rembrandt van Rijn which declares why drawings by Rutgers sometimes are confused with Johannes Leupenius and Philips Koninck. Rutgers had the custody of Esselens's children after his death in 1687 which shows the intimate friendship between both artists.

Characteristic for Rutger's drawings are strong diagonal compositional elements creating a powerful and deep vanishing perspective which is clearly visible in our drawing. This strong diagonal perspective is evident for many drawings by Rutgers, though the present drawing shows extra perspective strength due to the linear sun beams radiating from the center left into the mountainous lanscape creating an additional reinforcing compositional element in this unusual sunlit drawing. The slightly clumsy figures are characteristic for Rutgers and show great similarity with the figures in the drawings from the collection Jacobus A. Klaver.[2] The same kind of spectacular sky with broad rays of sunlight visible in the almost a century later dated drawing by Hendrik Meijer (Amsterdam, 1744-London, 1793), present in the collection Teylers Museum Haarlem.[3](image 6)

Museum Mr. Simon van Gijn, Dordrecht keeps a vellum binding which contains 88 drawings by Rutgers which bears the title "88 Tekeninge door Abraham Rutgers getekent Ao 1686 en 1687 zynde Principale, Inventive & Copijen" of which Sander Paarlberg has kindly provided digital images (images 4-6).[4][5] "Principale" being drawings drawn after nature, "inventive" fantasy landscapes and "copijen" being copies after artists like Esselens and other contemporaries.

Our drawing titled verso "De Rommelpott van Hoorn" might well be a Principale as the landscape is very similar to the nature found in Horn-Bad-Meinberg, the german location meant by "Hoorn". In Germany there wasn't such a place called Hoorn such as the Dutch town of Hoorn and the mountainous landscape clearly being non Dutch. The name "De Rommelpott" is typically the name of an Inn which also claims the drawing to be a principale, although this remains unsure as travels to Germany by Rutgers are unrecorded and most of his drawings depict locations in the vicinity of Utrecht and the river Vecht where he most probably owned a country seat in Nieuw-Maarsseveen together with his elder brother Philips. Also many familly members of his wife Anna lived nearby the river Vecht, thus providing multiple locations for drawing activities.[1] It is also known that Rutgers made drawings of Kleef, which were copies after other artists like Jacob Esselens and Lambert Doomer.[5]

Our drawing must be dated between 1680-1690 (watermark Coat of arms of Amsterdam, ca. 1680-1690) and closely matches with the drawings in the collection of Museum Mr. Simon van Gijn, Dordrecht.[7] The Rommelpott drawing is slightly larger and more square compared to the rectangular van Gijn drawings which all have borders measuring 105 x 170 mm.

The authorship of Abraham Rutgers has been kindly confirmed by Erik Löffler, RKD, The Hague and a digital image of our drawing has been added to the online RKD database as well.[8]

More drawings by Abraham Rutgers are preserved in the collections of Rijksmuseum Amsterdam; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Fondation Custodia / Frits Lugt Collection, Paris; The Morgan Library & Museum, New York and the John Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.




[1] Mejuffrouw Dr. I.H. van Eeghen, 'Abraham en Antoni Rutgers: de kunstzin van grootvader en kleinzoon', Jaarboek Amstelodamum 67 (1975), p. 174-188.

[2] Marijn Schapelhouman and Peter Schatborn, Tekeningen van Oude Meesters, De verzameling Jacobus A. Klaver. Waanders, Zwolle, 1993. P. 186-191, cat. nrs. 87-89.

[3} Hendrik Meijer, Een voorjaarsochtend (The four seasons: Spring morning) 1777. Brush and gouache, black framing lines, 403 x 508 mm. Teylers Museum Harlem, inv. no. 1854: W021.

[4] Museum Simon van Gijn, Dordrecht , inv./cat.nr SIK 10 (inventorynumber for the complete sketchbook), fol. 74.

[5] Correspondence with Sander Paarlberg, Dordrechts Museum, by e-mail, 5 january 2015.

[6] J.W. Niemeijer, 'Varia Topografica IV Een album met Utrechtse gezichten door Abraham Rutgers', Oud-Holland 79 (1964,) p. 129, nr. 74.

[7] X-ray photo of the paper with watermark Coat of arms of Amsterdam, ca. 1680-1690 by Dr. Frans Laurentius. Middelburg, 29 december 2014.

[8] Correspondence with Erik Löffler, RKD The Hague, by e-mail, 13 january 2015.

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