Overview

The Dutch Republic depended on international commerce and shipping for its wealth and power. Whether traveling on the open sea or through the network of rivers and canals that spread across the low-lying Rhine river delta, Dutch ships carried commodities to and from markets at home and abroad. Barges and ferries transported goods and passengers between the numerous towns and villages located along the banks of the inland waterways. Most travelers would approach these urban centers by boat, and depictions of cities viewed from across the water—combining water, ships, and a characteristic skyline—became iconic in Dutch art.

During the 1630s and 1640s, Dutch landscapes entered a monochromatic (or tonal) phase in which a single color pervades and unifies each scene. Jan van Goyen, one of the greatest early landscape artists, was particularly adept at suggesting the various moods of the land in different seasons and weather conditions. The subtle range of ochers and grays, the hovering clouds, and the limpid sails create a tranquil atmosphere. A fisherman works his traps on the left, and a sailboat takes on another traveler. The ferryman in the center foreground has just left his landing and is rowing passengers across the Maas River to Dordrecht.

Inscription

lower center on stern of boat: VGoyen 1644

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

(Eugene Glaenzer, New York and Paris), possibly for (Jacques Seligmann, Paris and New York);[1] sold 1906 to Baron Vladimir de Gunzburg [1873-1932], Paris;[2] by inheritance to his son, Serge de Gunzburg [b. 1911], Geneva;[3] sold 8 February 1978 through (Heim Gallery, Paris) to NGA.

Exhibition History

Bibliography

1981
Juffermans, Jan. "Han Ulrich Beck—een leven met Jan van Goyen." Tableau 3 (March/April 1981): 594-595, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 297, no. 393, color repro.
1984
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1984: 14-15, repro.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 185, repro.
1986
Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Washington and Grand Rapids, 1986: 305.
1987
Beck, Hans-Ulrich. Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656: ein Oeuvreverzeichnis. 4 vols. Vol. 3: Ergänzungen zum Katalog der Handzeichnungen und Ergänzungen zum Katalog der Gemälde. Doornspijk, 1987: 177, no. 296A, repro.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 125, repro.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 61-64, color repro. 63.
2004
Allen, Eva J. A Vision of Nature: The Landscapes of Philip Koch: Retrospective, 1971-2004. Exh. cat. University of Maryland University College, Adelphi. College Park, Maryland, 2004: 13, fig. 4.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 188, no. 147, color repro.

Conservation Notes

The support is a thin oak panel composed of three horizontally grained boards of equal width joined horizontally. The support has been mounted onto another thin panel and cradled, with a slight dislevel along the upper join of the original panel. Paint is applied over a thin white ground with low, fine brushmarking, in thin semi-transparent darks and thicker opaque lights.[1] In the sky and light areas of water, the buildings and boats were painted over a thin, pale underpaint layer. A thicker, more opaque upper layer was then applied, passing around the boats and townscape.

Small amounts of repaint cover the panel joins, edges, and areas of slight abrasion. In a prior restoration, four undamaged areas in the central sky were overpainted to make the clouds appear denser.


[1] Pigment analysis is available in the Scientific Research Department, 4 August 1982.

Related Works

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