Information from the museum
Hundred years ago the famous Steengracht of Duivenvoorde collection was sold in Paris and Amsterdam. This private collection of Dutch and Flemish old master paintings and 19th century French, Belgian and Dutch paintings was collected from the middle of the 18th century onwards by (ancestors of) the Steengracht family. The Steengracht Gallery, as it was called, was housed at 3 Lange Vijverberg in The Hague, and was open to the public from 1823 onwards. Travel guides recommended that it was “not to be missed by admirers of the Old Masters”. Visitors books from the year of its opening (1823) until the eve of the sale of the collection at Gallery Georges Petit in Paris in 1913 have been preserved at Duivenvoorde Castle.
The roots of the collection can be found in Middelburg (Zeeland), where Johan Gualtherus van der Poort of Oostcapelle (1713-1784) and Johanna Susanna van der Mandere (1714-1793) started collecting old masters. The collection was enlarged substantially by their grandson, Johan Steengracht of Oostcapelle (1782-1846), the first director of the Mauritshuis. After his death the paintings were divided among his children, but the largest part went to his son, Hendrik Steengracht of Oosterland (1808-1875). Hendricus Adolphus Steengracht of Duivenvoorde (1836-1912), the last owner of the collection, inherited the collection of his uncle Hendrik in 1875. Hendricus Adolphus expanded the collection with paintings by masters of the 19th-century Dutch Romantic School, the Barbizon School and the Hague School. He was very fond of still lifes and genre paintings. He also bought paintings for his beloved Duivenvoorde.
The exhibition Passion for paintings tells the story behind this famous private collection by means of archival documents, books, paintings still in the Duivenvoorde collection and a few loans of former Steengracht paintings from Dutch private collections. The objects are exhibited throughout the fully furnished historic interior of Duivenvoorde castle. The exhibition will be accompanied by the publication Passie voor schilderijen. De verzameling Steengracht van Duivenvoorde by Annette de Vries, with a contribution by Quentin Buvelot (Primavera Pers Leiden, 144 pp, 250 illustrations, ISBN 9-78-90-5997-123-3). Passie voor schilderijen includes a catalogue of 218 paintings from the former Steengracht collection with a reconstruction of their provenance until the present day.