Overview

Aert van der Neer initially painted realistic tonal landscapes and winter scenes, but by the late 1640s, he developed his own specialty of nocturnes, or night scenes. These mysteriously dark, moonlit pictures established him as an innovative and important landscape painter. Nevertheless, his paintings fetched low prices, so from about 1659 he took on a second, rather short-lived career as a tavern keeper in Amsterdam. He went bankrupt in 1662 and at the time of his death in 1677 was quite heavily in debt.

Van der Neer used his consummate technical skills to create this nocturne’s radiance by applying multiple layers of translucent and opaque paint. Here, the luminous clouds have parted to reveal a full moon over a tranquil stream. The moonlight reflects off the water that separates the town at left from the village and the country estate with its ornate gate at right. The light glints off window panes, shines upon a fashionable couple in conversation by the gate, and provides safe passage for the people crossing the stone bridge.

Inscription

lower right in ligature: AvdN

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Jacob Frederikszn van Beek, Amsterdam; (his sale, Jeronimo De Vries et al., Amsterdam, 2 June 1828, no. 49); Engelberts.[1] F. Tielens, Brussels. J. Walter, London.[2] Possibly August Thyssen [1842-1926]; his son, Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza [1875-1947), Schloss Rohoncz, Hungary, Amsterdam, and Villa Favorita, Lugano, by at least 1930; by inheritance to his daughter, Gabrielle Thyssen-Bornemisza [1915 or 1917-1999] and her husband, Baron Adolphe Bentinck van Schoonheten [1905-1970], Paris and London.[3] (Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna), by 1989; purchased 29 January 1990 by NGA.

Exhibition History

1930
Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, Neue Pinakothek, Munich, 1930, no. 238.
1974
Loan to display with permanent collection, Kunstmuseum, Düsseldorf, 1974-1984.

Bibliography

1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 7(1923):406, no. 347.
1930
Heinemann-Fleischmann, Rudolf. Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. 2 vols. Vol. 1: Gemälde. Exh. cat. Neue Pinakothek. Munich, 1930: 1:no. 238.
1937
Heinemann, Rudolf J. Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. Lugano-Castagnola, 1937: 1: Verzeichnis der Gemälde: 111, no. 300, as Mondscheinlandschaft.
1982
Bachmann, Fredo. Aert van der Neer. Bremen, 1982: 68, 73, repro. no. 66.
1989
Herzig, Roman. Gemälde alter Meister. Vienna, 1989: no. 4, color repro.
1991
National Gallery of Art. 1990 Annual Report. Washington, 1991: 9-10, repro.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 182-184, color repro. 183.
1996
Yapou, Yonna. "The new Dutch Cabinet Galleries in Washington." Apollo: The International Magazine of the Arts 144 (418 December 1996): 20.
2002
Schulz, Wolfgang. Aert van der Neer. Aetas aurea 18. Doornspijk, 2002: no. 528.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 196-197, no. 155, color repro.

Conservation Notes

The support is a single piece of thin, horizontally grained walnut cut across the entire tree trunk width.[1] All sides of the back are beveled, and the panel is slightly bowed. The wood grain is plainly visible through the smooth, extremely thin white ground. The thick fawn-colored imprimatura is incorporated as a mid-tone in the foreground and sky.

The paint was applied in thin layers. Brushwork is prominent in the sky, and stippling was employed in the foliage and lawn. Highlights were sometimes created by the application of light-colored paint, and sometimes by scratching into the dark paint to reveal the lighter imprimatura below. Slight cupping has formed along the wood grain. Judiciously applied inpainting covers scattered small losses and local abrasions. No conservation has been carried out since acquisition.

 

[1] Wood analysis was performed by the NGA Scientific Research department (see report dated February 25, 1992, in NGA Conservation files).

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum