- Een schrijfstertje van Vermeer: Jacob Oortman en de Dissius-veiling van 1696
- Oud - Holland
- Volume | Issue number
- 123 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Institute for Humanities Research (AIHR)
Until now, only five of the 21 paintings by Vermeer that were sold at the famous Dissius aucton on 16 May, 1696, in Amsterdam, could be traced during the first half of the 18th century. The 'Milkmaid' (Amsterdam), 'Woman holding a balance' (Washington), 'A maid asleep' (New York) and the 'Music lesson' (Royal Collection, England) appear in a series of auctions in these decades, some of which by anonymous sellers. 'A merry company' (Braunschweig) seems to have been bought at the Dissius auction directly for duke Anton-Ulrich. On the whereabouts of the other sixteen works by Vermeer that were sold in 1696 we are at a complete loss, sometimes well into the 19th century. Five of them have vanished since completely into the mist of time.
A well documented case can now be added to our scarce knowledge on the position of Vermeer in early 18th-century collections. We knew already that 'Mistress and servant' (Frick Collection, New York, fig. 1) was sold at an anonymous auction in 1738 to someone called Oortman. As it appears, this was Hendrik Oortman (1696-1748), who bought the picture by Vermeer in 1738 on the auction of the paintings that belonged to his father, Jacob Oortman (1661-1738), pistol and gun maker and one of the wealthiest men in Amsterdam at the time.
Jacob Oortman possessed some 80 paintings, a dozen of which were probably bought at the Dissius auction of 1696, along with the Vermeer. They were kept in his house on Singel, Amsterdam. Thanks to the inventory of Jacob Oortman’s belongings made up after his death, we are able to document the disposition of these paintings in the house fairly well. Apart from a nice collection of porcelain, Oortman owned a couple of interesting pictures, among which Pieter de Hooch’s famous 'Mother’s Duty', now in the Rijksmuseum.
In Oortman’s inventory Vermeer’s 'Mistress and servant' was simply identified as ‘a girl writing’ (‘schrijfstertje’). It hung in a side room (‘zijkamer’) on the main floor, together with seven other paintings, of which Jacob van Loo’s 'Bathsheba', now in the Louvre, and a portrait of Erasmus also seem to have entered his collection directly from the Dissius auction. The room was probably meant for receptions of a more or less intimate character.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.