One of the most beautiful women’s portraits in the history of art is "Girl with a Pearl Earring" by Johannes Vermeer. This world-famous painting now part of the collection of the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague is but one of the gems sold at the Venduehuis in the past 210 years – in 1881, to be precise.
The spectacular Panorama Mesdag, the 120-metre-long, circular seascape by Hendrik Willem Mesdag, was also sold at auction at the Venduehuis in the 19th century, along with the museum of the same name, located in The Hague.
Across more than 210 years, many works of art were sold here to take up their place in important national and international collections and museums, either permanently or on long-term loans. A Pointilist painting by Ferdinand Hart Nibbrig was included in the year 2000 calendar of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. A sea container, which Keith Haring painted in the style of graffiti art, was shipped to Ibiza. An early work by the French painter Auguste Herbin, ‘Les Joueurs de Boules’, found its home in a French collection, and a rare, silver Hannukah lamp moved to a museum in the United States of America. An oil painting depicting a Javanese dancer by Isaac Israels was recently sold for €390.000 – just shy of a world record. It will be on display in a museum in Bali. A noteworthy discovery was the origin of François Boucher’s red chalk drawing ‘Le Ramonneur’ (the chimney sweep): the drawing, which dates back to 1737, was found to have been part of the collection of Tzar Paul I, the son of Catherine the Great. In May 2011, the drawing found a new owner at Venduehuis The Hague.
2021 marked the 210th anniversary of Venduehuis der Notarissen. The reason for its founding can be traced back to 1811: the Netherlands was part of the French Empire and French law ruled. This meant that public sales should be monitored by a notary public. Prior to this, the sale of properties and estates was arranged by local auctioneers.
The notaries public in The Hague were the first in the Netherlands to join forces and establish a ‘Venduehuis der Notarissen’ in 1811. In January 1812 the first auction was held on Nobelstraat where the auction house is located to this day – and it is still owned by the association of notaries public in The Hague. Access, however, is not exclusive to them: anyone can buy and sell (moveable) goods at our auction house. Real estate can only be sold by the notaries public.
Venduehuis was the stage for many important historic auctions. In 1878 the horses which, up until then, had drawn the horse trams were sold, made redundant by the introduction of a tram that ran on electricity. In 1983 ‘Babylon’ was sold: the striking shopping centre next to The Hague Central Station cost 100 million Dutch guilders.
Venduehuis is located at the former mayoral residence on Nobelstraat. The street can be found on a 15th-century map of the city of The Hague and owes its name to the noblemen and noblewomen who lived there in the 15th century, including several mayors as well as Christiaan Huygens, inventor of the pendulum clock in 1656. One of our rooms is named after him.