Art: The Buying Dutchman

The Six family is famed in Holland. In the 16th and 17th centuries Sixes were shrewd magistrates of Amsterdam, portly, solid men with provincial sagacity. Burgomaster Jan Six (1618-1700) was something of a visionary. As he walked by the placid River Amstel he heard the clopping of wooden shoes, saw the bright pageantry of Dutch costume, buxom, healthy girls in voluminous skirts, aprons, peaked caps. He loved little, angular Dutch gables, the wide Dutch sky over the flatlands. He knew an advanced, much-mooted artist named Rembrandt and often bought his etchings which caught the homely beauties of life in Holland in...