The Rijksmuseum has acquired four exceptional watercolour drawings by Jacob Cats (1741-1799). The acquired works are the largest and artistically most ambitious known landscapes by Cats, who gained fame for his carefully rendered colour land- and cityscapes. The acquisition was made possible with support from the Dutch lottery BankGiroLoterij, the Mondriaan Foundation and the independent art fund Vereniging Rembrandt.
The four landscapes were commissioned by Pieter Cornelis Hasselaer, who resided in the country estate Kasteel Groeneveld near Baarn and was Lord of Eemnes. Cats was paid the then substantial sum of 700 guilders.
The Rijksmuseum will display Cats’ landscapes of Het Gooi as part of an exhibition of a number of panoramic landscapes by 17th-century Dutch artists from its own collection, including three works dating back to ca. 1650 – a landscape by Aelbert Cuyp, a landscape including Schagen castle by Roelant Roghman and a landscape of the sand dunes near Haarlem by Anthonie Waterloo – as well as a Bonn cityscape from 1673.
Jacob Cats’ knowledge of Golden Age drawing techniques was extensive, and his work was heavily influenced by his predecessors. However, figures play a much larger role in Cats’ four landscapes than in the works by the 17th-century masters. His lively figures, which form an essential element of the presentation, all tell their own story.