Jan van Goyen

Newsletter winter 2009 and spring 2010:

The Golden Age Team has been very active recently, in making contacts as well as in giving more publicity to the Old Masters in Gorinchem, visiting auctions of Old Masters and acquiring a beautiful painting of Aert van der Neer. First, however, we want to correct an oversight. In the autumn of 2009, an important event took place in Gorinchem that we forgot to mention in the last Newsletter. On 23 October 2009, an intent-agreement regarding the Belgian Dutch Korean Centre was signed by the ambassador of the Republic of South Korea, Mr. Kim Young-won and the chair of the Hendrick Hamel Foundation, Mr. Dick van Zanten. The event took place in the recently built Hamelhuis on the Kortendijk, where the Centre will be established. The Team members Annet Ardesch and Bert Biemans were present at this prominent event, which was graced with the music of the well-known harpist Lavina Meijer.

The people present in the garden behind the Hamelhuis

On 29 December 2009, the Team visited Drs. C.O.A. baron Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, vice-chairman of the Vereniging Rembrandt (Rembrandt Society) and member of our Advice Committee. In the conversation that took place in the Maritime Museum in Rotterdam, we have explained the activities and results of our Foundation of the past year. We hope that the Foundation still may appeal to the Vereniging Rembrandt in the future.
On 30 December 2009, we visited the restoration studio of Art Conservation in Vlaardingen. This is the place where the painting of Gerard van Kuijl ‘Slimheid gaat boven kracht’ (‘Cleverness beats strength’) is being restored. The progress and possible date of completion of the restoration was discussed with the conservators Mr. Piet van Dalen and Mrs. Dorien Smet.

Dorien Smet in front of the painting

Gouden Eeuw team met SmetThe Golden Age Team wih Dorien Smet

Due to the results of the council elections of 3 March 2010, chairman Bert Biemans will not return as a member of the executive council, nor will Team member Annet Ardesch come back as a council member of Gorinchem. Due to the results of the council elections of 3 March 2010, chairman Bert Biemans will not return as a member of the executive council, nor will Team member Annet Ardesch come back as a council member of Gorinchem.
The TEFAF (a large art and antique fair) of 2010 was held in the MECC-building in Maastricht from 18 to 27 March. The Team visited the largest art fair in the world on 26 March. Because of a power cut in the building at the moment of arrival and no prospect of it being solved soon, the Team visited the nearby Bonnefanten Museum. The Team paid special attention to the section on paintings from the South of the Netherlands and the sculptures of saints from the period 1475 – 1625. Fortunately, there was enough time in the afternoon to visit all the gallery owners with Old Masters at the TEFAF. There were few new paintings of Gorcum’s Masters this year, but it is nonetheless always a grand experience to see so many marvellous works together.

Gouden Eeuw Team TEFAF
Golden Age Team in the decorated entrance of TEFAF

Jan Steen Burger
Jan Steen, Burger van Delft with his

On Sunday, 14 March 2010, Bert Biemans gave a lecture about the Golden Age, as part of a special Sunday Programme of Theatre Peeriscoop in the Boerenstraat in Gorinchem. He spoke for an hour to a full house about the Mystery of the Golden Age, both from an economical and an art historic point of view. From these perspectives the painting ‘De burger van Delft en zijn dochter’ (‘A burgomaster of Delft and his daughter’) by Jan Steen from 1655 was discussed by Biemans. His surprising conclusion was that the woman in the picture is no beggar but probably a woman from the ‘middenstand’ (small business), a bakers woman for example, who comes to claim the money from the man who owes it to her.

On 22 April 2010, Bert Biemans left the executive council of Gorinchem after two and a half years, together with two of his colleagues. The well-attended farewell party took place in the lobby of the city hall. In his speech, mayor IJssels told the audience that alderman Biemans had always so much busied himself with cultural affairs during his period in office that many people from Gorcum mistakenly though that culture was his policy area.

v.l.n.r. oud-wethouders Akkerman, Van Santen, Biemans en burgemeester IJssels in de hal van het stadhuis in Gorinchem v.l.n.r. oud-wethouders Akkerman, Van Santen, Biemans en burgemeester IJssels in de hal van het stadhuis in Gorinchem
From left to right: former-alderman Akkerman, Van Santen, Biemans
and mayor IJssels in the lobby of the city hall in Gorinchem

On 26 April 2010, at the leaving do of Tineke Dijkstra, an executive council member of Leerdam, that took place in het Hofje van Aerden. in the centre of the town, Bert Biemans was given an extensive guided tour by one of the ‘regenten’ from het Hofje and at the same time a descendant of Mrs. Van Aerden. Especially the paintings of Frans Hals, Pieter Claesz, Cornelis de Heem and Philips Koninck make a visit to the museum part of het Hofje worthwhile. On 1 May 2010, Bert Biemans was appointed as a guest-curator of the Gorcums Museum. He will mainly be involved in the Old Masters from Gorcum, amongst others by doing research and maintaining academic and museum contacts. There are also plans to organise exhibitions.

On 17 May 2010, a festive gathering led by director Rob Kreszner was held in the Gorcums Museum, in honour of the unveiling of the restored painting of Gerard van Kuijl ‘Slimheid gaat boven kracht’ (‘Cleverness beats strength’) and the presentation of a recently acquired piece of the well-known artist from Gorcum, P. Struyken (Gorinchem, 1939), by the city of Gorinchem. This latter work, Structuur X, paint on perspex from 1967, 100 x 100 cm, acquired at the Peter Stuyvesantveiling in Amsterdam through the work of the Golden Age Team, has been unveiled by the members of the executive board of Gorinchem, Mrs. Van der Torren and Mr. Oostrum. The mayor of Gorinchem, P. IJssels, and former alderman Biemans together officially removed the red cloth from the beautifully restored painting of Van Kuijl.

v.l.n.r. Bert Biemans en burgemeester Piet IJssels
From left to right: Bert Biemans and mayor Piet IJssels
Photo: Dries de Swart

On 18 May 2010 at an auction in Amsterdam, a unique colourful painting from Aert van der Neer, born in Gorinchem in 1603, was acquired by the Golden Age Team. The painting with the title ‘Een landschap met figuren op een pad naar een landhuis’ (‘A landscape with people on a path to a manor house’) is from around 1643. In 1984 it hung in the Staatliche Museum in Berlin and from 1986 to 2000 it was lend to the Walraff-Richartz Museum in Cologne. The painting is financially supported by the Foundation FOWW, from Gorcum, which will give the painting to the Gorcums Museum through a special loan construction, after it has been restored. In addition to the beautiful drawing by Abraham Bloemaert, this is the third painting that the Golden Age Gorinchem Foundation has acquired in the two year it has existed so far.

Aert van der Neer, oil on panel,
47 x 63 cm, approximately 1643

In the afternoon on 20 May 2010, the Protestant Christelijke Ouderenbond (Protestant Christian Union for the Elderly) ‘De Passage’ visited the Gorcums Museum, guided by the former council member Mrs. Jo van der Wal. Rob Kreszner, the curator of the Gorcums Museum and member of the Team explained, together with Bert Biemans, about the Golden Age in Gorinchem to the group of around 20 ladies. Afterwards, they went on a guided tour of the paintings of Gorcum’s Old Masters.
The quadrennial conference of the Historians of Netherlandish Art (HNA), took place in Amsterdam. From 26 to 29 May 2010, many lectures and workshops about different forms of art in the period 1500-1800 in the Northern and Southern Netherlands were given in the buildings of the University of Amsterdam and in a few museums. Approximately 300 participants, mainly from Europe, the United States and Canada, have intensively exchanged ideas about, amongst others, architecture and painting from the 16th and 17th century. The Golden Age Team was present as well. During the conference they have drawn attention to Gorinchem as the place of birth of Abraham Bloemaert, Jan van der Heyden and Aert van der Neer amongst others. In addition, many contacts were made with participants from home and abroad.

Marten Jan Bok in the Lutherse Kerk
(Lutherian Church)
Photo: Annet Ardesch
Rob Krezner and Youngjoon Yang
Photo: Annet Ardesch

On June 2010, the Team visited an important private collector of Old Masters in the centre of the Netherlands. After a pleasurable visit, the collector promised to leave a few paintings of Old Masters from Gorcum to the Gorcums Museum.

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