Jan van Goyen - River Landscape with a Tower, Village and Windmill
Jan van Goyen
River Landscape with a Tower, Village and Windmill
Oil on panel (parquetted). 44 x 64 cm.
Signed and dated lower right (on the boat): VGoyen 1642.
River landscapes were a central motif in the œuvre of the Leiden-born artist Jan van Goyen from the very beginning of his artistic career. While at first they predominantly showed frontal views in a vivid colour palette, in the late 1620s he switched to a diagonal pictorial structure formed by a strip of river bank leading diagonally into the background, while the foreground is completely taken up by the reflective water surface of the river. Our painting, dated 1642, was created during the heyday of monochrome or tonal landscape painting, of which van Goyen was a pioneer along with Salomon van Ruysdael and Pieter Molijn. The colours palette therefore consists only of a few, mostly warm, subtly modulated tones of earthy brown, ochre and olive green. The shoreline, which is only slightly diagonal in the present painting, begins at the left edge of the picture with a tower painted in darker, shaded tones and leads over a village with a church, already depicted much lighter, and a windmill before leading into the seemingly endless expanse of the Dutch landscape in the right background. Several boats in the foreground frame the scene to reinforce the illusion of spatial depth. The composition, dominated by the horizontal lines of the water surface, the shoreline, and the sky, is leant vertical accents by the towering church steeple, the masts of the sailboats, and the windmill. No less than three quarters of the picture's surface is occupied by the sky, which is covered by heavy white and grey clouds.
Paul Tesse, Douai. - Auctioned from his collection ("Catalogue de tableaux anciens des écoles hollandaise et flamande et de tableaux modernes provenant du cabinet de M. Paul Tesse“), Paris, Hôtel Drouot (Charles Pillet), 11.3.1896, no. 8 ("Village au bord de l'Yssel“). - Acquired there by Isaac Pereire, Paris, for 3,100 FFRS. - Emile Pereire, Paris. - Auctioned by Paris, 28.11.1979, lot 13 (with colour illus.). - Acquired there by Galerie Koetser, Zurich. - Acquired there and subseqently in a North German private collection.
Cornelis Hofstede de Groot: Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII Jahrhunderts, 10 vols., Esslingen und Paris, 1910-28, vol. 8, Esslingen and Paris 1923, p. 219, no. 889 ("Vielleicht identisch mit unserer Nr. 884.“). - Hans-Ulrich Beck: Jan van Goyen 1596-1656. Ein Oeuvreverzeichnis, vol. II, Amsterdam 1973, p. 334, no. 741 and vol. III, Doornspijk 1987, p. 231, no. 741 (illus.).