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This lot has been imported from outside of the UK … Read more PROPERTY FROM THE WETZLAR COLLECTION (LOTS 12, 15 & 16)

A wooded landscape with a man and two dogs on a path, a cottage beyond

A wooded landscape with a man and two dogs on a path, a cottage beyond
signed and dated ‘JvRuisdael 1648’ (lower right, 'JvR' in ligature)
oil on panel
20 1⁄2 x 26 3⁄4 in. (52 x 67.8 cm.)
(Possibly) [Van Terburg family]; Roos, Amsterdam, 16 July 1819, lot 148.
with Otto Hirschmann, Amsterdam, 1934.
David Birnbaum ten Cate (1891-1956), Amsterdam, by whom sold 15 June 1945 for £1,800 to the following,
with Duits & Co., London, inv. no. 7653, from whom acquired 16 June 1945 for £2,000 by the following,
John Enrico Fattorini (1878-1949), Bradford.
with Duits & Co., London, acquired 2 July 1956 for £3,500, inv. no. 426, from whom acquired by the following,
Dr Hans A. Wetzlar (d.1977), Amsterdam; his sale (†), Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 9 June 1977, lot 102 (Dfl.740,000), when acquired by a member of the family and by descent.
(Possibly) C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., London, 1912, IV, p. 260, no. 831b.
H. Gerson et. al., Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, Catalogue of Paintings, Cambridge, 1960, I, p. 112-113, no. 84, note 6.
D. Johns, ‘The Collection of Old Master Paintings formed by the late Dr. Hans A. Wetzlar’, Art at Auction, The year at Sotheby Parke Bernet 1976–1977, New York and London, 1977, p. 44.
P. Judge, ‘Hans Wetzlar paintings set 8 world records’, The Financial Times, London, 11 June 1977.
E. John Walford, Jacob van Ruisdael and the perception of landscape, New Haven, 1991, p. 68, no. 52.
S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael, A complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings, New Haven and London, 2001, p. 397, no. 551, illustrated.
J. Nicolaisen, ‘Ein Experiment in fremder und in eigener Handschift – zu einem Fruhwerk des Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael‘, Jahresheft, Leipzig, 2002, pp. 38-40, figs. 3-4.
M. Didier, ‘De laatste belangrijke collectie‘, Het Veilingtijdschrift, III, no. 1, Haarlem, January 2002, pp. 26-27, illustrated.
W.Th. Kloek, ‘Book review of S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael, 2001, and of M. Sitt and P. Biesboer, Jacob van Ruisdael, 2002’, Oud Holland, no. 116, 2003, pp. 115 and 117, fig. 2.
Laren, Singer Museum, De Kunst van het Verzamelen, keuze uit twee Nederlandse Collecties, 1966, no. 47.
Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Jacob van Ruisdael oder die Revolution der Landschaft, 18 January-1 April 2002, no. 22.
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, Jacob van Ruisdael: Grandioze landschappen, 27 April-28 July 2002, no. 22.
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, 2002-2017, on long-term loan.
Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum; Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, De Gouden Eeuw begint in Haarlem, 11 October 2008-7 June 2009.
Kyoto, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Tokyo, Mori Arts Center Gallery; Fukushima, Fukushima Prefectural Museum of Art, Vermeer and Rembrandt: the Masters of the 17th century Dutch Golden Age, 24 October 2015-8 May 2016.
Special notice

This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Clementine Sinclair Director, Head of Department

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Lot Essay

Painted in 1648, the year Ruisdael joined the Haarlem Guild of Saint Luke, this is a seminal early work by the greatest of all Dutch landscapists. Exceptionally well preserved, the picture provides an astonishing demonstration of Ruisdael’s prodigious talent and his instinctive feel for compositional harmony and poetic mood. Barely twenty years of age in 1648, Ruisdael had only been painting independently for a couple of years (his earliest dated works are from 1646), yet already he had managed to outshine his rivals with his technical virtuosity and his natural ability to evoke light and atmosphere. Ruisdael’s best early works, painted before he embarked on his journey east to Westphalia in 1650, comprise some of his most revered and ground breaking pictures, or as Peter Sutton put it: ‘some of his most beautiful and subtle works that had a lasting influence in the history of art’ (catalogue of the exhibition, Old Master Paintings from the Hascoe Collection, Greenwich, Bruce Museum, 2005, under no. 8).
In these early years Ruisdael found his inspiration in the local countryside in and around Haarlem. He painted a View of Egmond aan Zee, a fishing village about thirty five kilometres northwest of Haarlem, also in 1648 (New Hampshire, Currier Museum of Art), and in the same year produced Dunes by the sea, which adopts a diagonal composition similar to that used in this example (fig. 1; sold from the Hascoe collection at Christie’s, New York, 4 June 2014, lot 38, $1,805,000). Whereas a seascape recedes into the distance of the Hascoe panel, here Ruisdael depicts a cornfield (which was to become a signature motif in his mature output), with the rooftops of a village breaking the skyline, a plume of smoke emerging from a chimney. As E.J. Walford was first to observe (op. cit.) Ruisdael probably based his composition on a reversal of an etching Landscape with a hut and a shed that he made in 1646 (fig. 2), or from an associated sketch. The diagonal recession into space is established in the painting by a stream, reflecting light in the foreground and winding away towards the cornfield, running parallel to a track. On this track, in the centre of the composition, Ruisdael introduces a shepherd ambling away from the viewer, his dogs following behind, as if to provide a physical expression of the languid atmosphere of the summer evening.
Ruisdael no doubt owed his precocious command of landscape painting in large part to his upbringing within a family of artists. He is thought to have trained both with his father Isaack van Ruisdael (1599–1677) and with his more gifted uncle Salomon van Ruysdael (1602–1670), whose tonal landscapes and fluid application of paint exerted a strong influence on him. The fluent brushwork used in the evening sky in the present work is certainlyreminiscent of his uncle’s work. Ruisdael was also influenced in his formative years by Cornelis Vroom (1591–1661), who is credited with introducing a host of naturalistic techniques to Haarlem landscape painting in the 1630s, more than a decade before. Ruisdael’s filigree treatment of the trees in the present work and the subtlety of his palette owes a clear debt to Vroom.
A note on the provenance
The first notable owner of the picture on record was the Yorkshire based collector John Enrico Fattorini (1878–1949). Fattorini, who had made his fortune as a visionary retailer, developed a passion for collecting, acting with the advice of the London dealing firm Duits. He was especially interested in Dutch cabinet pictures, acquiring, with admirable discipline, a relatively small number of pictures of superlative quality. These included Willem van de Velde’s Calm, sold most recently from the Dreesmann collection (Christie’s, London, 3 July 2012, lot 18; now private collection), Gerard ter Borch's The Music Lesson (Sotheby’s, London, 3 July 1997, lot 7; now in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles); and a second painting by Ruisdael, of similar distinction, acquired a year after he bought this one – a Water-Mill (sold Sotheby’s, London, 8 December 2004, lot 23; private collection).
In 1956 he sold this picture, through his dealer Duits, to the celebrated Amsterdam collector Hans Wetzlar. Wetzlar began collecting in the 1930s and over the next 35 years formed one of the most important private collections of Old Master Paintings of his day. Dutch Golden Age paintings were at the core of the collection – still lifes, genre scenes, religious works and landscapes. Wetzlar also collected Flemish pictures as well as Early Netherlandish works, inspired throughout by the great art historian Max J. Friëdlander who was a lifelong friend. Wetzlar had a highly cultivated eye and a deep understanding of the art market. His collection, carefully displayed at his home in the Roemer Visscherstraat in Amsterdam, was open to those who were interested to learn and discuss Netherlandish painting and he was always willing to loan to exhibitions. His taste and his passion for collecting inspired a whole generation of collectors in Holland.
Dutch landscapes lay at the heart of Wetzlar’s collection and the present work was arguably the star. When a large portion of the collection (134 paintings) was dispersed in the landmark Wetzlar sale at Sotheby’s in 1977, five works by Ruisdael were offered, including an outstanding Seascape sold recently at Christie’s (7 December 2017, lot 9, £1,448,750). The present picture fetched the second highest price in the entire sale. It was bought back by the family and has remained there ever since.

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