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  • "156 Waltersspurg"
    Type: inscription
    Location: top center
    Materials: pen and brown ink
  • "den ouden breugol [?] No. 56"
    Type: inscription
    Location: verso
    Materials: graphite
  • James Bowdoin III( Collector, Boston) - 1811.
  • Bowdoin College Museum of Art( Museum, Brunswick, Maine) 1811- . Bequest
  • Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 5/17/1985 - 7/7/1985)
    • Clark Art Institute. ( 9/14/1985 - 10/27/1985)
    • University of Kansas. ( 1/19/1986 - 3/2/1986)
    • Art Gallery of Ontario. ( 5/17/1986 - 6/29/1986)
  • Nature Inhabited
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 4/20/1995 - 6/4/1995)
  • Drawings from Maine Collections
    • Colby College Museum of Art. ( 5/14/1978 - 7/16/1978)
  • Masterpieces from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
    • The Currier Gallery of Art. ( 9/5/1986 - 10/19/1986)
  • 30th Anniversary Exhib.: Masterworks from University & College Art Collections
  • Drawings - Fourth Anniversary Exhibition
    • Lyman Allyn Museum. ( 3/2/1936 - 4/15/1936)
  • Seventy Master Drawings
    • Fogg Museum of Art. ( 11/27/1948 - 1/6/1949)
  • Landscape Drawings & Water-Colors: Bruegel to Cézanne
    • The Pierpont Morgan Library. ( 1/31/1953 - 4/11/1953)
  • Prints & Drawings of Pieter Bruegel The Elder
  • An Exhibition of Drawings
    • Colby College. ( 4/27/1956 - 5/23/1956)
  • Old Master Drawings
    • The Newark Museum. ( 3/17/1960 - 5/22/1960)
  • European Drawings, 1450 - 1900
    • Santa Barbara Museum of Art. ( 2/25/1964 - 3/28/1964)
  • A Thousand Years of Landscape East and West
    • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. ( 10/24/1945 - 12/9/1945)
  • Masterpieces of Drawing - Diamond Jubilee Exhibition
    • Philadelphia Museum of Art. ( 11/4/1950 - 2/11/1951)
  • Five Centuries of Drawings
    • Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. ( 10/1/1953 - 11/30/1953)
  • Chinese Landscape Painting
    • Cleveland Museum of Art. ( 11/4/1954 - 1/2/1955)
  • Masters of Landscape: East and West
    • Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute. ( 9/15/1963 - 10/13/1963)
    • Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. ( 11/1/1963 - 12/1/1963)
  • Northern Renaissance
    • Busch-Reisinger Museum. ( 2/13/1967 - 4/1/1967)
  • Prints and Drawings by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
    • University of New Mexico Art Museum. ( 1/28/1968 - 2/25/1968)
  • Dürer to Bruegel: A Century of Humanism
    • Harvard University. ( 1/7/1970 - 2/21/1970)
  • Art Collections of New England Colleges
    • University of New Hampshire. ( 10/13/1960 - 11/13/1960)
  • Pieter Bruegel der Ältere als Zeichner: Herkunft und Nachfolge
    • Staatliche Museen. ( 9/19/1975 - 11/16/1975)
  • Drawing on Basics
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 10/14/1993 - 12/19/1993)
  • Selection: Paintings, Drawings, Prints and Sculpture from the Museum Collections
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 11/1/1967 - 12/10/1967)
  • Pieter Bruegel the Elder: Drawings and Prints
    • Metropolitan Museum of Art. ( 9/24/2001 - 12/2/2001)
    • Museum Boijmans van Beuningen. ( 5/27/2001 - 8/5/2001)
  • Pointed Pairings: The Valuing of Art
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 4/4/2002 - 6/16/2002)
  • RSVP: Farewell Our Lovelies
  • Drawings: Pieter Bruegel, the Elder
    • Lyman Allyn Museum, New London, Connecticut. ( 3/2/1936 - 4/15/1936)
  • Re-opening Exhibition: Great Graphics: Prints and Drawings 1470-1970
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 10/14/2007 - 3/9/2008)
  • The Art of The Deal
    • Bowdoin College Museum of Art. ( 9/15/2010 - 10/24/2010)
  • Old Master Drawings from the Bowdoin College Museum of Art
    • Timken Museum of Art. ( 5/13/2005 - 8/14/2005)

Type: catalogue
Author: H. Johnson
Document Title: Catalogue of the Bowdoin College Art Collections
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 98
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Pt. I, The Bowdoin Drawings
Date: 1885

Author: Rev. F. H. Allen
Document Title: The Bowdoin Collection
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: pt. 4
Reference: no 15, repr.
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Section Title: [five parts of four illustrations each, with individual texts]
Date: 1886

Author: F. J. Mather, Jr.
Document Title: Art in America, vol. II, no. 2
Location: pp. 108
Reference: fig. 1
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Section Title: Drawings by Old Masters at Bowdoin College Ascribed to Northern Schools: II
Date: 1914

Type: catalogue
Author: Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Document Title: Bowdoin Museum of fine Arts, Walker Art Building
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Reference: no. 98
Remarks: (as Unknown)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Section Title: Descriptive Catalogue of the . . .
Date: 1930

Author: C. de Tolnay
Document Title: Pierre Bruegel l'Ancian
Publ. Place: Brussels
Location: p. 102, supp. no. 5
Reference: repr. pl. 116, fig 198
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1935

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Winslow Ames
Document Title: Drawings
Publ. Place: New London
Reference: no. 46
Publisher: Lyman Allyn Museum
Section Title: Fourth Anniversary Exhibition
Date: 1936

Author: C. de Tolnay
Document Title: History and Technique of Old Master Drawings
Publ. Place: New York
Location: p. 134
Reference: no. 172, repr.
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1943

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Document Title: A Thousand Years of Landscape East and West
Publ. Place: Boston
Reference: no. 6
Date: 1945

Author: [H. C. Siber]
Document Title: Connoisseur, vol. 120, no. 506
Location: p. 116, 118
Reference: fig. II
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Section Title: James Bowdoin and His Collection of Drawings with Notes on . . .
Date: 1947

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Fogg Art Museum
Document Title: Seventy Master Drawings
Publ. Place: Cambridge
Reference: no. 27
Publisher: Harvard University
Section Title: A Loan Exhibition arranged in Honor of Professor Paul J. Sachs
Date: 1948

Author: A. Mongan
Document Title: One Hundred Master Drawings
Publ. Place: Cambridge
Location: p. 62
Reference: repr.
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1949

Type: handbook
Author: Bowdoin College Museum of Art
Document Title: An Illustrated Handbook of the Bowdoin College Museum of Fine Arts
Edition: 5th
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: p. 21
Reference: fig. 15
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1950

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Philadelphia Museum of Art
Document Title: Masterpieces of Drawing - Diamond Jubilee Exhibition
Publ. Place: Philadelphia
Reference: no. 48 (illus.)
Date: 1950

Author: C. de Tolnay
Document Title: The Drawings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Publ. Place: London
Location: pp. 58-59
Reference: no. 16, repr. pl. 9
Date: 1952

Type: catalogue
Author: Christies's
Document Title: Important Ancient and Modern Pictures and Drawings
Publ. Place: London
Location: p. 9
Reference: no. 41
Date: 1952

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Felice Stampfle
Document Title: Landscape Drawings and Watercolors:  Brueghel to Cezanne
Publ. Place: New York
Location: p. 23
Publisher: The Pierpont Morgan Library
Date: 1953

Author: O. Benesch
Document Title: Review of De Tolnay
Location: p. 79
Section Title: Die Zeichnungen Pieter Bruegels.  Kunstchronik, vol. 6, no. 3
Date: 1953

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
Document Title: Five Centuries of Drawings
Publ. Place: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Reference: no. 8 (illus.)
Date: 1953

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Cleveland Museum of Art
Document Title: Chinese Landscape Painting
Publ. Place: Cleveland
Reference: no. 119, illus. p. 86
Date: 1954

Author: F. Grossman
Document Title: Bulletin Museum Boymans Rotterdam, vol. 5, nos. 2 and 3
Location: pp. 54, 76, 84
Section Title: The Drawings of Pieter Bruegel the Elder . . .
Date: 1954

Author: M. Auner
Document Title: Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen in Wien, vol. 52, n.s. 16
Location: p. 75
Section Title: Pieter Bruegel, Umrisse eines Lebenbildes
Date: 1956

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Colby College Art Department
Document Title: An Exhibition of Drawings
Publ. Place: Waterville, Maine
Reference: no. 5
Publisher: Colby College
Date: 1956

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: The University of Kansas Museum of Art
Document Title: 30th Anniversary Celebration
Publ. Place: Lawrence, Kansas
Location: title page
Reference: fig. 38
Publisher: University of Kansas
Section Title: Masterworks from University and College Art Collections
Date: 1958

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: E. E. and W H. Gerdts
Document Title: Old Master Drawings
Publ. Place: Newark, New Jersey
Reference: fig. 20
Publisher: The Newark Museum
Date: 1960

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: University of New Hampshire
Document Title: Art Collections of New England Colleges
Publ. Place: Durham, New Hampshire
Reference: no. 20
Publisher: University of New Hampshire
Date: 1960

Author: L. Münz
Document Title: Bruegel -- The Drawings
Publ. Place: London and Greenwich
Location: pp. 14, 210, 
Reference: no. 19, pl. 19
Date: 1961

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Ebria Feinblatt
Document Title: Pieter Brueghel the Elder
Publ. Place: Los Angeles
Location: p. 11
Reference: no. 103
Publisher: Los Angeles County Museum
Section Title: Exhibition of Prints and Drawings
Date: 1961

Author: I. Moskowitz, ed.
Document Title: Great Drawings of All Time
Publ. Place: New York
Location: vol. 2
Reference: no. 497, repr.
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1962

Author: S. E. Lee
Document Title: Chinese Landscape Painting
Edition: 2nd
Publ. Place: Cleveland
Location: p. 79
Reference: fig. E
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1962

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Munson-Williams-Proctor Institute
Document Title: Masters of Landscape:  East and West
Publ. Place: Utica, New York
Reference: no. 21 (illus.)
Date: 1963

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Document Title: European Drawings:  1450-1900
Publ. Place: Santa Barbara
Reference: fig. 7 
Publisher: Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Date: 1964

Author: F. Grossman
Document Title: Bruegel -- The Paintings
Publ. Place: London
Location: p. 15
Date: 1966

Author: G. Arpino and P. Bianconi
Document Title: L'Opere completa di Bruegel
Publ. Place: Milan
Location: p. 85
Reference: repr.
Date: 1967

Author: C. D. Cuttler
Document Title: Northern Painting from Pucelle to Bruegel
Publ. Place: New York
Location: p. 470
Reference: fig. 654
Date: 1968

Author: B. Claessens and J. Rousseau
Document Title: Our Bruegel
Publ. Place: Antwerp
Location: p. 60, fig. 5, and p. 151
Date: 1969

Author: W. Stechow
Document Title: Pieter Bruegel the Elder
Publ. Place: New York
Location: pp. 18, 37
Reference: fig. 23
Date: 1969

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Busch-Reisinger Museum
Document Title: Dürer and Bruegel:  A Century of Humanism
Publ. Place: Cambridge
Date: 1970

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Kupferstichkabinett
Document Title: Pieter Bruegel d. Ä als Zeichner:  Herkunft und Nachfolge
Publ. Place: Berlin, Germany
Reference: no. 57a, fig. 88a
Publisher: Staatliche Museen
Date: 1975

Author: C. Eisler
Document Title: The Seeing Hand -- A Treasury of Great Master Drawings
Publ. Place: New York
Location: [p. 73]
Reference: no. F.8, repr.
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1975

Author: H. Spencer
Document Title: The Image Maker -- Man and His Art
Publ. Place: New York
Location: pp. 189-91
Reference: fig. 133
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1975

Author: W. S. Gibson
Document Title: Bruegel
Publ. Place: London
Location: pp. 34-35
Reference: fig. 12
Date: 1977

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Colby College Art Museum
Document Title: Drawings from Maine Collections
Publ. Place: Waterville, Maine
Reference: no. 6 (illus.)
Publisher: Colby College
Date: 1978

Author: P. Bianconi
Document Title: Bruegel
Publ. Place: Bologna and New York
Location: p. 20 (illus.)
Date: 1979

Author: J. Müller Hofstede
Document Title: Pieter Bruegel und seine Welt
Publ. Place: Berlin
Location: pp. 106-107 (n. 120-21), 111, 125
Remarks: O. von Simson and M. Winner, eds.
Section Title: Zur Interpretation von Bruegels Landschaft.  Asthetische . . .
Date: 1979

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: Palais des Beaux-Arts
Document Title: Bruegel, Une Dynastie des Peintres
Publ. Place: Brussels
Location: pp. 32, repr., 64
Date: 1980

Type: catalogue review
Author: Hans Mielke
Document Title: L'epoque de Lucas de Leyde et Pierre Bruegel
Publ. Place: Berlin, Germany
Location: pp. 75-90
Publisher: Kupferstichkabinett, Staatl. Museen PreuB. Kulturbesitz
Section Title: Dessins des anciens Pays-Bas:  Collection Frits Lugt
Date: 1980-1981 (?)

Author: C. D. Denison and H. B. Mules
Document Title: European Drawings, 1375-1825
Publ. Place: New York
Location: p. 56
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Date: 1981

Author: Konrad Oberhuber
Document Title: Master Drawings, vol. 19, no. 2
Location: pp. 146-56
Section Title: Bruegel's Early Landscape Drawings
Date: 1981

Type: exhibition catalogue
Author: David P. Becker
Document Title: Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: pp. 19-22
Reference: no. 8
Remarks: (as Bruegel)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1985

Author: James Snyder
Document Title: Northern Renaissance Art
Publ. Place: New York
Reference: fig. 573
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Section Title: Painting, Sculpture, the Graphic Arts from 1350 to 1575
Date: 1985

Author: Artists in Maine
Document Title: Artists in Maine, vol. I, no. 1
Publ. Place: Portland
Location: p. 36 (illus.)
Publisher: Artists in Maine
Date: 1986

Author: Hans Mielke
Document Title: Jahrbuch der Berliner Museen
Publ. Place: Berlin, Germany
Location: pp. 128-134
Publisher: Gebr. Mann Verlag
Section Title: Pieter Bruegel D. Ä. Probleme Seines Zeichnerischen Oeuvres
Date: 1991

Author: Walter S. Gibson
Document Title: La Glorification de la Montagne
Publ. Place: Chambéry, France
Location: p. 179
Reference: fig. 5 (illus.)
Publisher: Congrès national des Sociétés savantes
Section Title: Le paysage Alpestre dans l'art de Pieter Bruegel l'ancien
Date: 1991

Author: Hans Christoph von Tavel
Document Title: L'Iconographie Nationale
Location: p. 212 (illus.)
Date: 1992

Type: exhibiton catalogue
Author: Julia W. Vicinus
Document Title: Nature Inhabited
Publ. Place: Brunswick, Maine
Location: p. 4
Reference: no. 2 (illus.)
Publisher: Bowdoin College
Date: 1995
			
		

Bruegel drew his celebrated mountain landscapes presumably from direct experience on a journey through the Alps, at the time of a stay in Italy from 1552 to 1553. In his biography of the artist in the Schilderboek of 1604, Karel van Mander stated that Bruegel swallowed up the mountains and then spat them out onto his canvases upon his return. Direct evidence for his Alpine journey depends on a very few existing drawings of identifiable sites and on references to lost works depicting known sites. One of these is the Bowdoin landscape, unquestionably the masterpiece of the drawing collection.

The sheet remained completely unidentified (despite the inscription on the verso) until Mather published it as Bruegel's work in 1914, although its exceptional quality had been acknowledged by its inclusion in the 1886 facsimile publication of sixteen of the Bowdoin drawings. Otto Benesch was the first to propose that the landscape could be identified with the upper Rhine valley in the Grabünden (Grisons) district of Switzerland, near the small town of Waltensburg. He based his identification on the inscription at the top of the sheet, saying it could be in Bruegel's hand. The site is just north of the St. Gotthard Pass, also the subject of a Bruegel painting listed in Rubens's studio.1 Auner attempted to disprove a lengthy Alpine journey, saying it was an itinerary too difficult and irrational for an artist of the time.2 However, all other scholars have agreed that the evidence of the drawings themselves is too strong to deny the trip. Auner did establish that the inscription on the Bowdoin sheet could not be autograph, an opinion affirmed by Mielke, though the latter stated that it probably dates from the sixteenth century. Mielke still feels that the inscription refers to Waltensburg.3 Other scholars, however, have felt that a firm identification would depend upon direct examination on the spot, as first suggested by Grossmann. There is a photograph in the BCMA files of the valley at Waltensburg; the visual evidence it offers is inconclusive.

There are two other Bruegel drawings which bear a remarkable affinity in technique and subject matter to the Bowdoin sheet. One is the Mountain Landscape with River and a Cross in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam,4 and the other is perhaps Bruegel's most impressive work in this genre, the Landscape in the Upper Rhine Valley in the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York.5 Benesch has proposed that the Morgan drawing depicts the castle Jörgensberg and village of Ruiz, between Truns and Ilanz, slightly east of Waltensburg.6 The landscape in the Rotterdam drawing is tantalizingly similar—seemingly portraying the same site from a different viewpoint—without being precisely identical. Grossmann's study of the landscape drawings notes these resemblances but stresses that while Bruegel may have been inspired by the same view, these compositions are probably not direct studies from nature.7

All three drawings are highly finished (the Rotterdam sheet has been overlaid with pen and brush, probably by the artist Roelant Savery), both in their carefully composed formats and in the detailed and varied pen strokes delineating trees and rocks. The atmosphere of great height and distance is evoked by subtle gradations of penwork. Most authorities agree that the three drawings are compositions worked up from preliminary rough sketches (though not evident in the Bowdoin sheet, some pen drawings have slight black chalk sketches underneath). The three sheets are similarly anchored at the right side by tall stands of fir trees. Close examination of the Bowdoin drawing reveals that the two prominent outcroppings of rock in the central portion have been worked over previously drawn and gentler slopes. These changes are skillfully camouflaged by the artist in order to make the new formations appear entirely "natural." The additions considerably strengthen the drawn composition and reinforce the argument that these landscape drawings are "assembled" from different elements.

Müller Hofstede has suggested that the Morgan sheet and others like it were prepared by Bruegel as elaborate presentation drawings for friends and collectors in the Netherlands, as souvenirs of his Alpine trip.8 Its consummate technique and considered composition would suggest a similar function for the Bowdoin drawing. It has also been suggested that the vertical format of the Bowdoin sheet resulted from its being cut down at some point from a larger, horizontal composition.9 That seems unlikely, for the walking couple at the left and the large group of trees at the right adequately frame the sheet and present a balanced composition. The format is, however, relatively rare in Bruegel's Alpine landscape drawings, although he used it often in his forest scenes.10

The remaining scholarly question about these landscape drawings is their dating. Most scholars have placed the highly finished views such as the Bowdoin sheet during or soon after Bruegel's return journey from Italy to Antwerp—i.e., ca. 1553/54, postulating an Alpine journey on his way home. Recently, Konrad Oberhuber has proposed a redating of some of these landscapes to 1551/52, during Bruegel's outward journey to Italy, basing much of his argument on the large drawing in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge.11 He has characterized the major mountain group of that sheet (it was done in three distinct stages, the left foreground being the last) as an essentially "optical" view, without a highly developed landscape aesthetic, which he states Bruegel learned only in Italy. Thus he places the Morgan and Bowdoin sheets and the major portion of the Fogg drawing before Bruegel's arrival in Italy, in contrast to such progressively "organized" views as that dated 1553 in the Louvre12 or one formerly in the Seilern collection,13 also datable to 1553. As there is no documentary proof for either a journey through the Alps in 1551/52 or for the early dating of the Bowdoin drawing, any conclusion as to its dating remains tentative.

1. Benesch 1953, p. 79.

2. Auner 1956, pp. 64-75.

3. Ibid., p. 75; Berlin 1975, p. 53.

4. Münz 1961, no. 20.

5. Ibid., no. 21 .

6. Benesch 1953, p. 79.

7. Grossmann 1954, pp. 54, 84.

8. Müller Hofstede 1979, p. 98.

9. De Tolnay 1952, cat. nos. 41-49.

10. Cf. Berlin 1975, cat. nos. 41-49.

11. Oberhuber 1981, passim; the Fogg drawing is repr. in Münz 1961, no. 18.

12. Münz 1961, no. 5.

13. Ibid., no. 15.

Commentary credited to David P. Becker (or not otherwise captioned) appeared in his catalogue Old Master Drawings at Bowdoin College (Brunswick: Bowdoin College Museum of Art, 1985).