Berchem made the four seasons for an Amsterdam collector. They were inteded as overdoor pieces for his house on the Herengracht. The series became separated at the end of the nineteenth century, but is now reunited.
Each painting shows a medaillon with a chariot carrying the personification of the season. Figures and symbols connect each season with one of the four elements: spring with air, summer with fire, autumn with earth and winter with water.
Berchem is known mainly as a painter of Italianate landscapes, although he also painted decorative scenes, such as these allegories.
Herman van Swoll, Amsterdam, c.1670-1698; his sale, Amsterdam, 22 April 1699, no. 20 (the entire series for 570 guilders); private collection, Amsterdam; anonymous sale, Amsterdam, 13 July 1718 (Lugt 267), no. 5 (the entire series for 505 guilders); sale Amsterdam (Daniel Adrianus Beukelaar), 22 May 1731 (Lugt 409a), no. 1; Morel collection, Paris; Morel sale, Paris (Lebrun), 3 May 1786 (Lugt 4025 and 4040), no. 70 (the entire series for 7801 livres to Langlier); Jacques Langlier Gallery, Paris, 1786-1789; his sale (‘Lenglier’), Paris (Lebrun), 15 April 1789 (Lugt 4422 and 4429), no. 50 (unsold); private collection, Paris, until 1834; Marseille Middleton Holloway, London; his sale, London, 1872 (the entire series for 170 pounds to Nieuwenhuys); Charles J. Nieuwenhuys Gallery, Brussels and London, 1872; sale London (Christie’s), 17 May 1945, no. 129 (together with inv. no. 1221 for 32 guineas to Shapiro); Dr. E.I. Shapiro, London, 1945-1979 (together with inv. no. 1221); his sale, London (Christie’s), 30 November 1979, no. 4; Leger Gallery, London 1981 (together with inv. no. 1221); Noortman Gallery, Maastricht-London (together with inv. no. 1221); Eric Alberda Jelgersma, 1990-2018 (together with inv. no. 1221 and from 2013 together with inv. no. 1220); acquired with the support of the VriendenLoterij and the Rembrandt Association (thanks in part to its Themafonds 17de-eeuwse Schilderkunst and its Fonds 1931), 2018 (together with inv. nos. 1220-1221)
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