Art at Auction in 17th Century Amsterdam

By John Michael Montias | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 21
A Collector with Connections to Major
Cultural Figures: Robbert van der Hoeve
and the “Muiden Circle”

While I was working on the community of artists and artisans in Delft a number of years ago, I had occasion to study the life and career of Aper Fransz. van der Hoeve (1543-1627), who was one of the principal collectors of art in Delft at the turn of the 17th century. Karel van Mander tells us that he had once studied painting in Antwerp with the famous Frans Floris, the “Raphael of the North”, but more as an amateur (liefhebber) than as a professional. In his youth, he also spent some time in Fontainebleau in the company of Flemish and Dutch painters of the time. By the last years of the 16th century, he had given up painting and settled down as a successful beer brewer and collector. Arnold van Buchell, the lawyer and humanist scholar in Utrecht, wrote in his diary in May 1598 that Van der Hoeve owned, among other works of art, a life-size painting by Jan Gossaert and several small statues by the Delft-born Willem van Tetrode. In 1624, he acquired the collection of sculpture of Thomas Cruse, including examples by Giovanni Bologna, Willem van Tetrode, Hendrick de Keyser, and Michel Angelo, which had initially been pledged to him against a loan. His son Abraham van der Hoeve studied art in Italy, joined the painters’ guild of St. Luke in Delft early in the 17th century but died in 1621 before he could achieve any great fame.

When I came across a certain Robbert (or Robbrecht) van der Hoeve as a buyer of art at Orphan Chamber auction, in the course of the present study, I did not suspect that he might be connected with his Delft homonym. As it turned out, he was the son of Aper van der Hoeve and the brother of the painter Abraham van der Hoeve.745 There was also another distinguished collector in the family: Robbrecht’s sister Maria married the Delft notary Herman van der Ceel, who, at the time of his death in 1656, owned 118 paintings, some of which were attributed to Rembrandt, Pieter Lastman, Jan van Goyen, Esaias van de Velde, and other reputed artists.746 In their testament of 6 June 1633, they left a life annuity of 12 f to Andreas Petri (van der Linden), the pastor of the Lutheran Community, who was also an amateur painter. This bequest, together with the baptisms of several family members in the Lutheran Church in Amsterdam suggest that the family was predominantly Lutheran.

Robbert van der Hoeve was born in Delft on 29 December 1581. He was inscribed as a student in the faculty of medicine of the University of Leiden in 1602. By 1604, he

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