Dulwich Picture Gallery I


Dirck van (den) BERGEN

Haarlem, 1645–?Haarlem, after 1690, before 1703
Dutch painter of pastoral landscapes and animals

His name appears both as Dirck van Bergen and Dirck van den Bergen. He was a pupil in Amsterdam of Adriaen van de Velde (1636–72), whose influence is visible in most of his work. His earliest dated painting is of 1676 and the latest of 1690. He painted idyllic sunny landscapes in golden tones, with cows, shepherds and shepherdesses, mostly in a small format. He visited England briefly, during which period he painted overdoors and overmantels for Ham House (c. 1673). After that he returned to Haarlem, where his work sold well.

Waterhouse 1988, pp. 24–5; Worm 1996a; Dethloff 1996a; Kollmann 2000, pp. 62, 154; Saur, ix, 1994, pp. 334–5 (U. Römer); Ecartico, no. 901: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/901 (May 20, 2017); RKDartists&, no. 7086: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/7086 (Nov. 7, 2019).

DPG177 – Peasants and Cattle

c. 1665–90; canvas on oak panel, 28.8 x 38 cm

Skinner & Dyke, 17 March 1802 (Lugt 6380), lot 76 (Adriaen Vanderveldt), buyer unknown, £22 1s.; Desenfans 1802, ii, pp. 176–7, no. 164;1 Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 31, no. 321 (‘Unhung / no. 52, Landscape, cattle & figures – P[anel] A. Vandervelde’; 1'9" x 1'10").

?Cat. 1817;2 ?Haydon 1817; ?Cat. 1820; Cat. 1830, p. 7, no. 108 (A. Vandervelde); Jameson 1842, ii, p. 459, no. 108 (A. Vandervelde); Denning 1858 and 1859, no. 108; Sparkes 1876, pp. 182–3, no. 108; Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 173, no. 108 (after A. van de Velde); Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 47, no. 177; Cook 1914, p. 112; Cook 1926, p. 105; Murray 1980a, p. 300 (after A. van de Velde); Beresford 1998, p. 246 (after A. van de Velde?); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 32 (Dirck van (den) Bergen); RKD, no. 284536: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/284536 (Nov. 7, 2019).

Hatchlands 1994, n.p., no. 177 (A. Sumner; ‘Called “after A. van de Velde” in earlier catalogues, but the original has not been identified’).

Coarse tabby-weave linen canvas mounted on an oak panel with a 0.7 cm batten along the bottom. There is a very slight left-to-right warp and the panel grain is pronounced, probably as a result of overheating. The weave of the canvas has also been emphasized by the mounting treatment. The reverse of the panel is painted, which is likely to have prevented the panel from warping more. The paint film itself is in fair condition, displaying drying cracks and a little thinness and minor wear in the darker glazes of the landscape. UV examination has revealed that the work was previously partially cleaned in the sky, figures, cows, centre and right; the river on the left, the lower portion of the composition, and the trees were left uncleaned. Some old darkened retouchings are visible as dark spots in the sky. Previous recorded treatment: 1953–5, conserved, Dr Hell.

1) Dirck van Bergen, Cows, Sheep, Goat and a Woman in a Landscape, signed D. v. Bergen, canvas, 26 x 31 cm. Musée Thomas Henry, Cherbourg, M.I. 1244.3
2) Dirck van Bergen, Southern Landscape with Shepherd and an Ox Cart, signed and dated D [v?] Bergen/1690, canvas, 36.2 x 48.7 cm. Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, M 1970–72.4
3) Dirck van Bergen, Landscape with Cattle and Shepherd, canvas, 29.7 x 37.8 cm. Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, III.439.5
4) Dirck van Bergen, Landscape with Cattle and Shepherds, signed D. v. Berghen, canvas, 39 x 59 cm. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, 660 [1].6
5) Dirck van Bergen, Landscape in the Campagna with Shepherds at a Fountain, Cows and Sheep, canvas, 37 x 47 cm. Private collection, Mainz.7
6) Copy: Ralph Cockburn, Landscape (as A. Vandervelde), 1816–20, aquatint, 117 x 178 mm (Cockburn 1830, no. 30), DPG [2].8

This was regarded as a work by Adriaen van de Velde until the Richter and Sparkes catalogue of 1880, and then as a work after him, but an original was never found. It is, rather, a typical landscape by Dirck van Bergen, whose work is very often confused with that of Adriaen van de Velde and Nicolaes Berchem (1621/2–1683).9 Characteristic elements are the rather clumsy figures, which are not in scale with the cattle. There are paintings by the same hand in Cherbourg (Related works, no. 1), Düsseldorf (no. 2), Berlin (no. 3), Vienna (no. 4) [1], and in a private collection in Mainz (no. 5). The last depicts an Arcadian landscape with a fountain, as in DPG166 by Nicolaes Berchem.

Dirck van Bergen
Peasants and cattle, c. 1665-1690
canvas on panel, oil paint 28,8 x 38 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG177

Dirck van Bergen
Mountainous landscape with a shepherdess and cows
canvas, oil paint 39 x 59 cm
lower right : D. v. Berghen
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./cat.nr. GG 660

Ralph Cockburn after Dirck van Bergen
Peasants and cattle, 1816-1820
paper, aquatint 117 x 178 mm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery


1 ‘By the same [= Adrian Vandervelde]; no. 164, A Landscape with Cattle and Figures. The foreground of this picture is occupied by a sheet of water; on its banks are a young shepherd and shepherdess – she is dressed in blue and yellow, and is sitting on a trunk of a tree, her feet in the water, while she drinks out of a goblet she holds with both her hands; the young man is standing near her, dressed in red; a light brown cow is drawing towards them, apparently lowing. At a little distance, another cow, and some sheep are reclining on a mossy bank, while the scene is greatly heightened by a grey cow, in the natural action of rubbing herself against one of the trees, in the more retired part of the picture. On canvas.’ Also in GPID (20 Sept. 2012). Desenfans also mentions a companion, but that had returned to its previous owner. NB: GPID (May 31, 2017) shows three Dirck van (den) Bergen paintings before 1811, two in Hamburg (Germany) and one in Brussels; their descriptions do not match DPG17.

2 There is no painting by A. van de Velde other than no. 122 in Cat. 1817, Haydon 1817, and Cat. 1820, which is DPG51 by Adriaen van de Velde. However, it is possible that no. 65 (P. Potter) in these three early catalogues is DPG177: Cat. 1817, p. 6, no. 65 (‘FIRST ROOM – East Side; A Landscape, with Cattle; Paul Potter’); Haydon 1817, p. 375, no. 65: ‘PAUL POTTER. Cattle’; Cat. 1820, p. 6, no. 65.

3 See CD-rom of Faroult 2007, pp. 20, 31 (no. 123), 46 (no. 12), 910–11 (B. Ducos and V. Verduron); not in Joconde (24 Sept. 2012).

4 Baumgärtel & Bürger 2005, p. 38.

5 Bock 1996, pp. 18, 319 (fig. 1155).

6 RKD, no. 287753: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/287753 (April 21, 2018); www.khm.at/de/object/577ef1154f/ (Nov. 7, 2019); Ferino-Pagden, Prohaska & Schütz 1991, pp. 31–2 and fig. 531.

7 Imiela & Hamann-MacLean 1968, pp. 88–9: ‘Möglicherweise von der Hand des Dirk van Bergen’ (Possibly painted by Dirk van Bergen).

8 RKD no. 284537: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/284537 (May 21, 2017).

9 Christopher Brown suggested ‘?Willem Romeyn’ (note in DPG177 file), but we consider that Van (den) Bergen is the correct attribution.

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