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A view of the Amstel, Amsterdam, with the Amstelbrug and the Amstel Hotel in the distance, seen from the artist's studio

Hendrik Jan Wolter

The Netherlands 1873 - 1952

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A view of the Amstel, Amsterdam, with the Amstelbrug and the Amstel Hotel in the distance, seen from the artist's studio

This painting has an unfinished painting verso.

Wolter belonged together with Jan Sluijters, Jan Toorop and Leo Gestel to the important modern artists of that time. Wolter visited Toorop several times in Domburg where he participated in several expositions. His contemporaries described Wolter as a sensitive colorist, a very skilled draftsman and as an artist who went his own way.

In 1914, Hendrik Jan Wolter moves from Laren to Amsterdam, where he moved into a studio on the third floor of the Amsteldijk 47, situated along the river Amstel. From the start, he was highly fascinated by the view from his studio window and he made a series of Amstelviews that can be seen as his best works. These Amstelviews recurrently show an identical composition, with in the foreground the bridge to the Ceintuurbaan, behind which the large imposing Amstel hotel is clearly recognisable, and in the distance a glimpse of the theatre Carré and the Magere brug can be identified. Though the subject and composition never deviated from each other, the shifting play of light and ever-changing colour of it over the water captivated the artist time and again. These atmospherical Amstelviews are created at the height of his impressionist period, and are characterized by their hazy impression of the Amstel. Their moods range from menacing thunder clouds and bright winter sun, to radiant evening sun and soft summer haze of which the present lot is a striking example. The alternation of hazy blue tones, soft pastel shades, and golden glow that transcend this painting, beautifully fuse together.
The influence of French Impressionist painters like Georges Seurat (1859-1891), Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Paul Signac (1863-1935) is unmistakably visible in these series, in which Wolter approaches these city views of Amsterdam with a Parisian lightness and vivacity. Thus, his large paintings of the Amstel are full of light, irrespective of the weather. In sharing the impressionists' concern with light and atmospheric effects, his primary focus lay on the recording of moods and effects of the weather and its reflection in the water, so vividly conveyed by him. This Amstel view is a splendid testimony of his fascination with the continuous change of light and colour, which throughout the years continued to capture his imagination.


Maarten Jager, Op reis met Hendrik Jan Wolter, Amersfoort, 2010, p. 66, ill. In color


Dutch private collection since 2010

Ca. 1914
Oil on canvas
43.50 cm. H x 84.00 cm. W
17.13 in. H x 33.07 in. W
€ 145000