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

A winter scene with skaters and a village beyond

Jan Josefsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)
A winter scene with skaters and a village beyond
signed and dated 'I V GOIEN 1626' (lower right)
oil on panel
12 5/8 x 19 7/8 in. (32 x 50.5 cm.)
J.T. Irving, Glasgow; Christie's, London, 23 March 1934, lot 34 (360 gns. to Speelman).
with D. Katz, Dieren, 1934-1935.
Hans Ludwig Larsen, Wassenaar (1892-1937), by 1935;
Loaned by Susanne Menzel Larsen (1911-2001) to the De Lakenhal Museum, Leiden, 6 July, 1939;
Confiscated by the German authorities following the occupation of The Netherlands, after May 1940;
Sale, Van Marle and Bignell, the Hague, 25 January, 1943, lot 29;
Acquired for the Sonderauftrag Linz by Dr. Erhard Göpel (Linz no. 2776);
Recovered by the Monuments Fine Arts and Archives Section from the Salt Mines at Alt Aussee (Alt Aussee no. 5934);
and transferred to the Central Collecting Point, Munich, 10 October, 1945 (MCCP no. 10720);
Transferred to the Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit, The Netherlands, 8 July, 1946 (NK 2463);
Restituted to the heirs of Hans Ludwig Larsen, 2014.
Beeldende Kunst, XXII, August 1935, no. 28.
H.U. Beck, Jan van Goyen 1596-1656, Amsterdam, 1973, II, p. 21, no. 39.
O. Ter Kuile, Catalogus van schilderijen, Enschede (Rijksmuseum Twenthe), 1974/1976, pp. 49-50, no. 79.
Old master paintings. An illustrated summary catalogue. Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst/The Netherlandish Office for the Fine Arts, Zwolle and The Hague, 1992, p. 110, no. 832.
Alkmaar, Stedelijk Museum Alkmaar, Koud tot op het bot. Winterlandschappen in de 16de en 17de eeuw, 11 November-11 December 1977, no. 12.
Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, inv. 350, on loan from the Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst.

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Lot Essay

Beginning in the mid-14th century and lasting through the mid-19th century, Northern Europe experienced extraordinarily cold and long winters, and relatively cool summers, a period of climatic change known as the "Little Ice Age". The resulting snows and frozen waterways had a significant effect on everyday life. The Dutch quickly adapted, inventing a variety of winter activities which could provide outdoor amusement despite the bitter cold. By the 17th century, winter landscapes filled with frolicking figures such as the present panel had become a beloved staple of Dutch Golden Age painting.

Here, Van Goyen represents villagers skating on a frozen river beside a group of thatched houses. The town church is visible in the background, and charming vignettes abound. At far left, two children chase one another behind an elegantly dressed couple who may be their parents. Just to their right, four passengers huddle together for warmth inside a sleigh while the driver sits on the edge, watching his horse delicately negotiate its way across the ice. At right, another man bends over to adjust the straps on his skates, while at center, four men skate toward the viewer with varying levels of grace and skill. One of them rests a long, thin poll on his shoulder, which he could use both to keep his balance and to help himself out of the water if he should fall through the ice, a relatively common occurrence.

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