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

A winter landscape with skaters, elegant figures and kolf players on the ice in a village

Jan Josefsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)
A winter landscape with skaters, elegant figures and kolf players on the ice in a village
signed and indistinctly dated 'I.V. GOYEN. 162.' (lower left)
oil on panel
13.6 x 26.8 cm.
Anonymous sale; Drouot, Paris, 21 March 1874, lot 23 (Frs. 510), erroneously as a pendant to the consecutive lot.
Comte de Camondo; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 1 February 1893, lot 6 (Frs. 1,700 to W. Gretor).
Anonymous sale; Drouot, Paris, 18 February 1895, lot 13 (Frs. 750 to Lange).
G. Forbes, London (according to Dayot and Hofstede de Groot).
Jules Cronier; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 11 March 1908, lot 88 (Frs. 1,200 to Kleinberger).
with Kleinberger, Paris.
Eugène Max, Paris, by 1911 and up to 1927.
with Grange, Paris.
Private collection, Paris, by 1965.
Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 1 March 1992, lot 36 (£ 101,200).
with John Mitchell, London, by 1993.
A. Dayot, Grands & petits maîtres hollandais, exhibition publication, Paris, 1911, no. 42.
W. Martin, Alt-Holländische Bilder, Berlin, 1918, p. 51, fig. 25.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné, etc., VIII, London, 1927, p. 294, no. 1170.
H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen 1597-1656, II, Amsterdam, 1972, p. 46, no. 88, illustrated, erroneously as a pendant to no. 244.
Paris, Salle du Jeu de Paume, Grands & petits maîtres hollandais, 28 April-10 July 1911, no. 40 bis.

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Christiaan van Rechteren
Christiaan van Rechteren

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Lot Essay

The son of a cobbler, Van Goyen was apprenticed to a variety of Leiden-based artists before training from 1617-18 onwards with Esaias van de Velde in Haarlem. Van de Velde, his senior by six years, had a major impact on the younger artist, and his mark is particularly clearly visible in Van Goyen's work of circa 1618-26.

This work, which can stylistically be dated to the mid-1620s, is a fine example of Van Goyen's early style, and attests strongly to the influence of his teacher. Here, Van Goyen employs the format of constructing the composition from clear gradations of perspective, which was taken by Van de Velde from Flemish tradition. The dark solidity of the tree and the wood gathering figure in the left foreground, form a stark repoussoir and contrasts sharply with the frozen natural landscape. The centre of the composition is accentuated by the colourful figures and local colouration, set against the expeditiously and monochrome painted windmill, church and village in the third plane.

The present picture however also presages the characteristic elements of Van Goyen's later oeuvre; a monochromatic palette, greater naturalism and strongly horizontal compositions with a low horizon, only broken up by the verticality of the trees.

This finely executed picture is therefore not only a true masterpiece in its own right, but also a fine example of the skills and the steep development of a highly talented artist, who would become one of the exceptional exponents of Dutch 17th century landscape painting.

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