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Johannes Jansz. Collaert

(c. 1622 – after 1678, Amsterdam)

Attributed. View of a Waterfall. Black chalk, point of the brush in grey, grey wash, borderline in pen anD brown ink. 46.2 x 38 cm. Circa 1646.

The drawings of the Dutch Italianates are distinguished by a stylistic uniformity, which makes their attribution to individual artists difficult. These are studies sketched directly from nature which have a certain stereotyped character and thus tell us less about the personal style of an artist. However, this drawing of a waterfall lends itself well to comparison with three autograph drawings of the little-known Amsterdam painter and draughtsman Johannes Jansz. Collaert, who evidently made a trip to Italy in 1646. In particular, a View of the Waterfall at Tivoli, which is preserved in Hamburg’s Kunsthalle and bears Collaert’s signature and that date, shows stylistic analogies with our drawing. Both sheets show a preliminary drawing in black chalk and are executed in a free and easy manner with a brush. In imitation of other Italianates of his time, such as Cornelis Poelenburch and Bartholomeus Breenbergh, the artist used in both cases a large-format sheet of drawing paper folded in the middle. The broad, sweeping washes of the cliffs in the foreground, the airy, transparent rendering of the foliage and the way, in which a few bare branches have been accentuated by brush, are very similar, both in the Hamburg drawing and the present one, which makes an attribution to Johannes Collaert seem plausible.

Collaert must have tarried only briefly in Italy, for in February 1647 he got married in Amsterdam, where he had been working as a landscape painter. Only a few paintings signed by him have survived. The composition of these works shows the influence of Jan Both and Herman Saftleven. Furthermore, contemporary sources indicate that the Italianate Jan Asselijn was responsible for the staffage figures on at least one of Collaert’s landscape paintings.

Verso with several old inscriptions in graphite: “Waterval te Tivoli” and “W. Schellings” (twice). From the H.G.M. Collection (unidentified collector’s mark, Lugt 1313 a).

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