Adam van Breen
Amsterdam 1585 - 1642
Winter Scene with Skaters, the city of Middleburg in the distance.
Oil on panel, 46 x 68 cm.
Monogrammed and dated lower right: AVB.1.6.11
Collection George Fredrick (Fenton) Smith, Cromwell Lodge, Putney Hill;
Sale George Frederick Fenton Smith, London (Christie's), 16 April 1910,
Art Dealer Dr. Nicolaes Beets, Amsterdam, 1932;
Private Collection, Th. Rikkers, Amsterdam;
Art Dealer Evert J.M. Douwes,(his Private Collection), Amsterdam.(c.1960-1988);
Private Collection Netherlands, 1988 (purchased from the above).
J.G. van Gelder and N.F. van Gelder-Schrijver, “Adam van Breen, Schilder” in Oudheidkundig Jaarboek I, 1932, p. 11, 114, cat. No. 4, fig. 1 (with the remark: Haarlem in the background?);
Laurens J. Bol, Holländische Maler des 17 Jahrhunderts nahe den grossen
Meistern, 1969 Braunschweig, p. 157, ill. 148.
Tentoonstelling van Hollandische Winterlandschappen uit de 17e eeuw ten bate van het Rotterdamsche Crisis-Comite, J. Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1932, cat. no. 19, illustrated (Art Loss Register Certificate available, free of claim);
Tentoonstelling van Oude Meesters, Kunsthandel Gebroeders Douwes, Amsterdam March-April 1962, no. 4, illustrated;
Zee-Rivier en Oevergezichten, Museum Dordrecht, 1964, cat. no. 14, fig. 17;
Frozen Silence, Kunsthandel K. & V. Waterman, Amsterdam, March 1982, Cat. no. 27;
Ijzige Stilte, Provinciaal Museum, Zwolle, voorjaar 1982, cat. no. 27;
Jan Jan Steen tot Jan Sluijters, De smaak van Douwes, Fries Museum, Leeuwarden, 21 November 1998-21 February 1999.
To this date the life of Adam van Breen remains a bit of a mystery to us. Van Breen is identified in a document recording his wedding in The Hague to Maria Gelle on Feburary 13, 1611. In 1612 he joined the Guild of Saint Luke in The Hague, to which he belonged until 1621. He was documented to have appeared before a bankruptcy court in Amsterdam in 1622 and in 1628.
Although Van Breen painted a variety of subjects throughout his career, he is considered to have been a specialist of the Winter Landscape, painting wintry scenes filled with figures enjoying the pleasures of the ice. Occasionally these ice scenes depicted views of specific locations in Middelburg, Amsterdam or The Hague.