Zu Gast aus Los Angeles: Aelbert Cuyp

Current

Zu Gast aus Los Angeles: Aelbert Cuyp

The reunification of a painting

13/04 — 10/07/2022

Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, MdbK
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, MdbK
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Los Angeles
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Los Angeles
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Losangeles & MdbK
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Losangeles & MdbK

Two paintings by Aelbert Cuyp (1620 - 1691), now owned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art USA, and MdbK Leipzig, show views of his home town of Dordrecht in Holland. Originally, these two paintings were the left and right halves of a panorama-like painting. More recent art historical and technical investigations in Leipzig, Los Angeles and Dordrecht have confirmed the assumption, first made in 1972, that they belong together. Even the naked eye can see that the shore zone in the foreground, the river and the city in the background are rendered in the same brushstroke in both paintings. In addition, a drawing by Aert Schouman (1710 -1792) from 1759 preserves the original appearance of the painting with both halves.

The military city fortifications and the soldier in the foreground next to the angler suggest that the peace the painting exudes cannot be taken for granted. In fact, the picture was painted shortly before the end of the 30 Years' War (probably 1647). On the river we recognise a crowded passenger ferry, as they ran between the Dutch towns. Cuyp later developed into a specialist in Arcadian landscapes in warm sunlight. In this early work he was still influenced by the reduced colourfulness of Jan van Goyen (1596-1656).

The Los Angeles painting first appeared in an estate auction in Amsterdam in 1822. Between 1759 and 1822, therefore, the original large format must have been sawn apart. During this period, Cuyp's paintings fetched high prices on the European art market. This could have been a reason for sawing the wooden panel in two.

The Leipzig half, long attributed to Jan van Goyen, was acquired by the art historian Wilhelm von Bode in London in 1892 on behalf of the Leipzig collector Alfred Thieme and published in 1900 as a work by Aelbert Cuyp. In 1916, the painting came into the collection of the MdbK from the estate of Alfred Thieme. The varnish, which had yellowed considerably over the years, was removed at the MdbK in 2021, thus making the original, cool colourfulness of the depiction visible again. At the same time, the restoration offered the opportunity to carry out numerous technological investigations such as incident light, extreme grazing light, microscopic observation and X-ray analysis. A small presentation next to the reunited painting provides information about the investigations and their results.

Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Los Angeles
Aelbert Cuyp, Ansicht von Dordrecht, um 1647, LACMA Los Angeles