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'Notitie der Teekeningen van Sybrand Feitama', III*: de verzameling van Sybrand I Feitama (1620-1701) en van Isaac Feitama (1666-1709)

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Since the earliest sale catalogue of drawings known in which mention is made of artists and titles is that of Philips de Flines of 1701 (Notes I,2), the 'Notes' (see Appendix I) on the drawings of Sybrand I Feitama (1620-1701) can be regarded as unique. This manuscript, compiled in its definitive from by Sybrand II Feitama (1694-1755) between 1746 and 1758, enables us to reconstruct the nucleus of the collection. The earliest notes date from 1685 and 1690 and will have been made by Sybrand I Feitama (Note 3). They in fact constitute a precise and businesslike price list, reminding us that Feitama was a druggist by profession. His collection of 320 drawings was amassed in the 17th century in the house called 'The Golden Spectacles' on Damrak in Amsterdam. As the collection of a connoisseur who was not himself an artist, it was a relatively new phenomenon and it is also striking for its lack of Italian and French drawings (Note 4), especially as non-Dutch art formed the principal component of the holdings of known contemporary collectors like Dirk van Beeresteyn, Philips de Flines, Abraham van Lennep and Jan Six (Note 5). The Feitamas did not even follow the model of collections they knew at first hand, e.g. those of Jan Pietersz. Zomer, who supplied them with drawings for over thirty years (Note 6), and Lambert ten Kate, both of which showed a strong emphasis on art from the south. Sybrand II did not share this predilection, only coming into possession of a Jan Weenix from Ten Kate' estate in 1742 by a roundabout route. Nor do the Feitamas appear to have shared the preference, common among artist collectors, for the art of the past (Notes 8, 9), or that current around 1700 for curiosities such as first states and proofs (Notes 11, 12). Their taste was, then, rather unique. However, in connectio n with a portrait of Sybrand I Feitama the poet Jan Norel did praise his interest in 'Prints after Art' and 'wondrous Rarities' (Note 13). If this is taken literally, it can only be concluded that after that date Feitama abandoned prints and curiosities in favour of a fanatical concentration on mainly contemporary Dutch drawings. He collected almost encyclopedically, artists from A-Z, mostly reasonably priced works that were good value for the money, i.e. watercolours by Adriaen van Ostade rather than scribbles by Rembrandt. All three, generations of Feitamas had a special affection for Ludolf Bakhuizen, Nicolaes Berchem, Allaert van Everdingen, Jacob van Ruisdael and Adriaen van de Velde.


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