Johannes Bemme (Rotterdam 1775-1841 The Hague)
A Winter Landscape with Skaters on a Lake
Signed and dated 'Joh Bemme Az inv del. 1813'
Black chalk, pen and brown ink, grey and brown wash, traces of black ink framing lines, watermark J. WHATMAN 1801, 355 x 485 mm (14 x 19.25 inch)
- Anonymous sale; Sotheby Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 1 November 1974, lot 56
- Jiles Boon (1916-2009), Rhoon, near Rotterdam
The best account of Johannes Bemme’s life is recorded in the artist’s biography Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst by Van Eynden and Van der Willigen, published from 1816-40.1 Johannes was the son of Adriaan Bemme (1753-after 1823), a gold- and silversmith. He was taught by A.C. Hauck (1742-1801) and by the prodigious draftsman Dirk Langendijk (1748-1805), who was of paramount influence on his artistic development. In contrast to his teacher, Bemme was much less active as a draftsman, and few sheets by him are known today, although they were praised by Van Eynden and Van der Willigen. Some fifteen examples of his works on paper are known from sale catalogues from the early 19th century.
The present large and highly attractive finished drawing shows a Dutch winter landscape with several skaters, a horse-drawn sledge and a koek-en-zopie (cake and soup) stall in the foreground, with some skaters taking refreshment. The spire of a village church is just visible at the right behind the tree. Bemme must have been particularly pleased with this sheet, as he proudly signed and dated it, and stressed in the inscription that he had also invented (“inv.”) the composition, which may mean he intended it to be engraved.
SOLD TO A PRIVATE COLLECTOR, FRANCE
1. Roeland van Eynden and Adriaan van der Willigen, Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, 4 vols., Haarlem 1816-1840, vol. 3, pp. 187-88.