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MICHIEL VAN OVERBEEK (fl. c.1650-1719)
  • MICHIEL VAN OVERBEEK (fl. c.1650-1719)


    Pen & brown ink with red chalk, on brown prepared paper

    10.8 x 21.3cm



    (Probably) Samuel Woodburn, London;

    His sale, Christie's, London, 16.06.1854, Lot 115 (M. van Overbeck, Views of the Principal Buildings in Rome - a set of ten);

    Vincent Van Gogh (1866-1911, cousin of the painter), Amsterdam [1];

    By whose estate sold, R.W.P. de Vries, Dessins Anciens…Provenant en partie de la Collection de feu M. Vincent Van Gogh…, 16-17.07.1930, Lot 133 (as M. van Overbeek, Paysage montagneux; au premier plan quelques maisons et une tour ronde, anime de figures);

    Anonymous Sale (likely reoffered from the above sale]), Amsterdam, 9-10.12.1930, Lot 362;

    Max Lifschitz et al., R. W. P. de Vries, Amsterdam, 06.12.1932, Lot 195;

    Anonymous Sale, J.L. Beyers, Utrecht, 24-25.06.1947, Lot 98 (as Heuvelachtig landschap met voerderijen op den voorgrond met kasteelruine);

    Jacques & Colette Ulmann, Paris;

    Their sale, Beaussant Lefevre, Paris, 10.02.2022, Lot 260 (as École Hollandaise du XVIIe siècle, Paysage d'Italie)




    This drawing is the second by Michiel van Overbeek to be handled by the Nonesuch Gallery, following our sale of the artist's Pyramid of Cestius to the Cleveland Museum of Art in 2021. We are pleased to have restored its attribution, which had been lost at some point following its sale from the Van Gogh estate: it was once part of a group of works by the artist in the collection of the cousin of the artist Vincent Van Gogh, also called Vincent, who was an eminent collector, bibliophile, and dealer in prints and drawings based in Amsterdam.



    A substantial group of topographical drawings depicting English, French, Italian and Dutch views, all in the same distinctive media and of similar dimensions, with many bearing identifying inscriptions in black ink, have traditionally been linked with the artist Michiel (or Michel) van Overbeek, on the basis of the initials MVO which a number of the drawings bear.


    Other highly comparable drawings of Roman views by van Overbeek can be found in the collections of the British Museum, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New; The Morgan Library, New York; and the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. We suggest that the present drawing shows the Monte Mario looking towards the direction of Caracalla in the distance. This hill, formerly home to the Palace of the Caesars, was (in the 17th century) some way outside the city of Rome's formal boundaries, to the northwest.



    Michiel van Overbeek was a Dutch painter and picture dealer, the nephew of the topographical draughtsman Bonaventure van Overbeek. The older Overbeek was born and died in Amsterdam; but it was his Les restes de l'ancienne Rome (1709) that won him fame during his lifetime. Dedicated to Queen Anne, the book was - according to Arnold Houbraken - published posthumously by Michiel van Overbeek. Like his uncle, Michiel seems to have travelled extensively in France and Italy and made what appears to be a brief stay in England from about 1663 until 1666. Michiel's topographical views are almost entirely on small sections of paper around the same dimensions of the present work, prepared in brown wash and inscribed at the upper middle in ink. They differ considerably from the few known autograph drawings by his uncle of Rome, which do not offer the same extensive topographical views but, as one would expect, focus instead on specific ruins.

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