Jan Josefsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)
Jan Josefsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)

The Valkhof at Nijmegen, with a coach and horses on a ferry on the River Waal

Details
Jan Josefsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)
The Valkhof at Nijmegen, with a coach and horses on a ferry on the River Waal
signed with monogram and dated 'VG 164[7?]' (lower left, on the boat)
oil on panel
14 1/8 x 20 1/8 in. (35.7 x 51.1 cm.)
Provenance
Sir Robert Peel, 2nd Bt. (1788-1850), Drayton House, London (according to a label on the reverse).
with François Heim, Paris, 1957.
Private collection, Paris, by whom acquired after a Paris sale in 1977 (according to Gazette de l’Hotel Drouot, 2 April 1999, no. 14).
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 5 June 2002, lot 21, as 'Attributed to Jan van Goyen'.

Brought to you by

Maja Markovic
Maja Markovic

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

The Valkhof, an ancient fortress in the city of Nijmegen, was one of the most iconic buildings on the Waal river, the main Dutch waterway connecting Rotterdam to Germany. The castle had first been constructed under Charlemagne in the eigth century. Rebuilt in the mid-twelfth century following its partial destruction by the Vikings, it remained an important structure in the city until its demolition by Napoleonic troops. Nijmegen, and the Valkhof in particular, assumed an important place for the ideology of the Dutch state during the mid-seventeenth century. The city had been a stronghold of the ancient hero Claudius Civilis who had led the Batavians (from whom the Dutch claimed direct lineage) in revolution against the oppression of the Roman Empire. Finding clear symbolic resonance with the recent rebellion against Spanish oppression in the Netherlands, the Valkhof and its cultural status as an emblem of Dutch independence, and the struggle for it, made the site a popular subject for painters and patrons. Indeed, van Goyen frequently depicted the view throughout his career, with his earliest dated version painted in 1633 (Moscow, The Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts). Many of van Goyen’s views were probably based on drawings he made during his frequent journeys across the United Provinces, and the present composition appears to have found its origin in a drawing made ‘naer het leven’ (from the life) in the early 1630s (Private collection).

The present view is one of a number of such pictures painted by van Goyen during the 1640s. During this period, the artist increasingly moved away from the more colourful ‘tonal’ landscapes which had typified his practice in the preceding decade, and instead focused his palette on softly modulating monochromatic tones of warm browns and greys.

We are grateful to Ellis Dullaart of the RKD, The Hague, for her assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.

More from Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

View All
View All