Jacob Isaacsz. van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/9-1682 Amsterdam)
Jacob Isaacsz. van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/9-1682 Amsterdam)

A river landscape with fir trees by a cascade

Jacob Isaacsz. van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/9-1682 Amsterdam)
A river landscape with fir trees by a cascade
oil on canvas
27¾ x 22 in. (70.5 x 56 cm.)
Sir Charles Bagot, G.C.B. (1781-1843), by 1835; his sale, Christie’s, London, 17 June 1836, lot 7 (77 gns. to Mackenzie).
Colin A. Mackenzie; (†) Christie’s, London, 6 March 1858, lot 17 (70 gns. to Wigram).
(Possibly) François Delessert; his sale, Charles Pillet, Paris, 16 March 1869 [= 2nd day], lot 80 (FF 15,500).
George E.W. Hood; Christie’s, London, 20 May 1927, lot 76 (310 gns. to the following),
with van Diemen, Amsterdam, 1927.
G.A. Wahlund, Clearlake Oaks, California; Christie’s, London, 26 July 1957, lot 136 (580 gns. to Engell).
with Douwes, Amsterdam, 1957, where probably acquired in 1958 by
George Spencer Spitz, Vienna; (†), Sotheby’s, London, 9 December 1992, lot 187.
with Lindsay Fine Arts, London, 1993.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters, etc., VI, London, 1835, p. 51, no. 163; supplement, XI, London, 1842, p. 711, no. 95.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, etc., London, 1912, IV,p. 117, no. 355.
J. Rosenberg, Jacob van Ruisdael, Berlin, 1928, pp. 79-80, no. 122a.
S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael, New Haven and London, 2001, p. 240, no. 290.

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

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

Jacob van Ruisdael’s reputation as the most talented and versatile of the Dutch landscape painters of the Golden Age has remained undiminished since his lifetime. Dating to his early maturity, c. 1660, this picture shows the key influence of his compatriot Allart van Everdingen, from Alkmaar, who had travelled to Scandinavia around 1644 and returned to Haarlem the following year. Everdingen continued to paint landscapes inspired by his visit to the Nordic countries, far from the flat surroundings of the Netherlands. Shortly after, Ruisdael too began to experiment with rugged, even mountainous landscapes, introducing rocky waterfalls and running streams, perhaps also inspired by his own trips to the Dutch-German border.

Ruisdael would become so renowned for his waterfall pictures that Arnold Houbraken reports seeing a play in 1721 on the subject of the artist’s name ‘Ruis-dael’ (‘noisy valley’). Ruisdael, he went on, ‘painted both local and foreign landscapes, but especially those in which one sees water crashing down from one rock to another, finally to spread out with a roar into dales and through valleys: and he could depict spray, or water foamy from dashing on the rocks, so naturally clear and translucent, that it appeared to be real’ (quoted in The Golden Age of Dutch Landscape Painting, exhibition catalogue, Madrid, 1994, p. 199).

This compositional type would become Ruisdael’s trademark: his oeuvre contains more landscapes with cascades and waterfalls than any other vista. Given the lack of dated pictures, establishing a chronology for this group has proved challenging. It is likely, though, that pictures of a vertical format, such as the present lot, generally date to the first years of this new, popular type, in the late 1650s and early 1660s. Indeed, Seymour Slive suggest a dating in the 1660s for the present canvas.

Related Articles

View all
Virtual tour: Classic Week con auction at Christies
What to look for on the back o auction at Christies
Guilt free: 10 Old Master work auction at Christies

More from Old Master Paintings and Sculpture

View All
View All