Willem van de Velde II (Leiden 1633-1707 London)
These lots have been imported from outside the EU … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE CUNNINGHAM COLLECTION (LOTS 38-44)
Willem van de Velde II (Leiden 1633-1707 London)

The Evening Gun - Shipping in a calm with a Dutch Bezan yacht

Willem van de Velde II (Leiden 1633-1707 London)
The Evening Gun - Shipping in a calm with a Dutch Bezan yacht
signed with initials 'WVV' (lower left, on the mooring post)
oil on oak panel
14½ x 12 3/8 in. (37 x 31.5 cm.)
Edward William Lake; his sale, Christie’s, London, 11 July 1845, lot 58, ‘An admirable production of matchless quality’ (230 gns. to Farrer).
Samuel Sandars (1837-1894), by 1879, and by inheritance to
Mrs. K.D. Sandars; Christie’s, London, 21 December 1951, lot 99 (1,700 gns.).
Eric B. Moller, Thorncombe Park, Surrey; Sotheby’s, London, 8 December 1993, lot 25 (£177,500).
with Richard Green, London, April 1994, where acquired by the present owners.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters etc., London, 1835, VI, p. 508, no. 263; 1842, IX, Supplement, p. 772, no. 55, ‘An admirable production’.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century etc., London, 1923, VII, p. 47, no. 165.
M.S. Robinson, The Paintings of the Willem van de Veldes, London, 1990, I, pp. 317-8, no. 620, ‘Painted perhaps entirely by the Younger for the Van de Velde studio’.
London, British Institution, May 1836, no. 46.
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by Old Masters and by deceased Masters of the British School, 6 January-15 March 1879, no. 72.
London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Dutch Pictures, 1450-1750, 1952-3, no. 480.
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, 2001-2015, on loan.

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Abbie Barker
Abbie Barker

Lot Essay

Dated by Michael Robinson to the mid-1650s, this is a beautifully preserved example of Willem van de Velde II’s treatments of atmospheric Calms, painted during the early phase of his career in the Amsterdam studio of his father Willem van de Velde I. It demonstrates his supreme ability at rendering light and atmosphere, here capturing the essence of a still, bright summer’s day on the water as a private yacht fires a salute, a plume of smoke billowing up across its starboard bow. Typically, a large portion of the painting is devoted to the sky which the artist fills with voluminous, cumulus clouds depicted variously in light and shadow to dazzling effect, with their reflections subtly caught in the water below. The sun and a light breeze are coming from the left. Although the boats appear to have been casually arranged, the composition is calculated with careful precision to elicit an effortless sense of spatial harmony.

Van de Velde began painting scenes such as this in the early 1650s, no doubt inspired both by Simon de Vlieger (1600/01-1653), under whom he is thought to have trained in the years around 1648/49, and also by Jan van de Cappelle (1626-1679), who was probably also active in De Vlieger’s studio in Weesp at the same time. By 1652 he had returned to Amsterdam to work in his father’s studio. His younger brother Adrian was also active in the studio around this time, although only briefly and in a limited capacity, as he showed little interest in marine painting and soon moved to Haarlem to train with the landscape painter Jan Wynants. Robinson made the suggestion that Adrian might have had a hand in the present work, although this idea has resolutely been dismissed by Professor Jan Kelch, to whom we are grateful. Kelch dates the present work to the same period, circa 1655, and considers it wholly autograph, in the rendition of the figures as well as the ships, seeing no affinities with either of the two marines in which Adrian did irrefutably have a hand – the Dutch Yacht Mary with other yachts off Amsterdam, which bears both Willem and Adrian’s initials (Harcourt Collection); and Yachts and the Mary Yacht in a breeze (formerly with Duits, London). Judging from photographs, Kelch does question whether the present composition has been cut on the left side, although the well-preserved, chamfered panel gives no indication that the current format is not original.

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