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

A Water Mill

Jacob van Ruisdael (Haarlem 1628/9-1682 Amsterdam)
A Water Mill
signed with monogram ‘JvR’ (lower right)
oil on panel
10 ¼ x 14 5/8 in. (26 x 37.1 cm.)
with P. & D. Colnaghi, London.
Anonymous sale; Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, 11 December 1928, lot 24 (Dfl.10,000).
Ant. W.M. Mensing (1866-1936), Amsterdam; his sale (†), Frederik Muller & Cie, Amsterdam, 15 November 1938, lot 88, where acquired by the following,
D.A. Hoogendijk, Amsterdam, from whom acquired by the following,
Alois Miedl, Gallery Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1940 until 1943 (inv. no. 5994).
with Duits, London.
C. Berk, Burg Neu-Hemmerich, Frechen, Cologne.
with Alfred Brod Gallery, London, where acquired by the present owner in 1963.
J. Rosenberg, Jacob van Ruisdael, Berlin, 1928, p. 78, no. 102a.
N. MacLaren, National Gallery Catalogues: The Dutch School, London, 1960, pp. 359-360, note 11.
J. Giltay, 'De tekeningen van Jacob van Ruisdael', Oud Holland, ICIV, 1980, p. 174, nos. 2 and 3, note 74.
S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael, exhibition catalogue, Mauritshuis, The Hague and The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1981, p. 79.
N. MacLaren and C. Brown, The National Gallery: The Dutch School, revised edition, London, 1991, pp. 384-5, under no. 986, note 12.
S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings and Etchings, New Haven and London, 2001, no. 111, as datable to the early 1650s.

Lot Essay

Jacob van Ruisdael’s reputation as the most talented and versatile landscape artist of the Golden Age has endured since the seventeenth century. Early in his career, in the 1650s, he travelled to the borderlands between the Netherlands and Germany, in Gelderland, Overijssel and Westphalia, where he encountered the particular types of water mills he would go on to incorporate in his landscapes. His pictures of these mills constitute a relatively small but important group in his oeuvre, which Seymour Slive dates to the 1650s; on only one such work is the date fully legible, Two Water Mills with an Open Sluice, of ‘1653’ (Los Angeles, Getty Museum).

This well-preserved panel is the smallest of the group listed by Slive, with a slightly larger variant listed as formerly in Cassel, E. Habich (Slive, op. cit., 2001, p. 133, no. 112), and a drawing related to both pictures held in the Rijksprentkabinet, Amsterdam. It is unclear whether the mills he painted were faithful representations of known sites, or more liberally invented ideas of idyllic countryside. In this instance, however, the mills have been tentatively identified as those at Singraven, near Denekamp, which Ruisdael’s pupil, Meindert Hobbema, would go on to paint, one example of which is in the National Gallery, London. While Hobbema made the painting of water mills his speciality, it was Ruisdael who pioneered the subject, practising the genre a decade before his pupil, and his impact on Hobbema can be eminently felt in this eloquent landscape.

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