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

The beach at Egmond-aan-Zee

Jan Josephsz. van Goyen (Leiden 1596-1656 The Hague)
The beach at Egmond-aan-Zee
signed with monogram and indistinctly dated 'VG 1653' (lower right, on the boat, 'VG' in ligature)
oil on panel
19 3/8 x 29 ¼ in. (49.2 x 74.3 cm.)
Frederick C. Dickson.
Lady S.G. Balme.
Anonymous sale [Property of a Lady]; Sotheby's, London, 8 December 1971, lot 44, as 'Salomon van Ruysdael' (£30,000 to Denguin).
with H. Terry-Engell, London, by 1973.
with Noortman BV, Hulsberg, by 1975.
J.B. Beijer, Lanaken, Belgium, until 1977.
J.H. Bakker, until 1984.
with Noortman and Brod, London, by 1984.
Private collection, Germany, 1987.
with Noortman (Maastricht) BV, 1 May 1994, from whom acquired.
Art at Auction 1971-1972, Sotheby & Co, London, 1972, p. 22.
H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656, Amsterdam, 1973, II, p. 433, no. 963.
C.A. Breuer, in Weltkunst, 15 December 1975, p. 2356, illustrated.
H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656, Amsterdam, 1987, III, p. 255, no. 963.
London, Christie's, Fanfare for Europe: The British Art Market, January 1973, no. 225.
New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Sixth International Exposition presented by C.I.N.O.A., 19 October 1974-5 January 1975, no. 111.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts; and Philadelphia, Museum of Art, Masters of 17th Century Dutch Landscape Painting, 2 October 1987-31 July 1988, no. 38.
Leiden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, Jan van Goyen, 12 October 1996-13 January 1997, no. 51.

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Imogen Jones
Imogen Jones

Lot Essay

This remarkable, atmospheric view of Egmond-aan-Zee, a fishing village approximately 10 kilometres west of Alkmaar, is among the largest and most compositionally complex of van Goyen’s dozen or so treatments of the subject. Dated 1653, it is also his last extant view of the village, a summation of the charming incidental details found in earlier examples into a theatrical composition of discrete figural groupings. The central group features several kneeling fisherwomen surrounded by a broad cast of characters. In the foreground with her back turned to the viewer a maid dressed in a red bodice, blue skirt and white apron crouches to inspect the day’s catch, while a woman in a huik – a black cloak worn for warmth, protection from the sun and modesty – balances a basket of fish on her head. Behind, a well-to-do gentleman appears frontally atop his horse, while two labourers are seen loading a cart with the day’s haul. Several other groups of fish sellers are scattered throughout the composition, as is a group of men straining to push a boat off its blocks at left and a humorous vignette of a dog marking his territory in the central foreground.

On 5 April 1571 Egmond-aan-Zee fell victim to the notorious pirate Bartel Entes, whose men plundered its houses and set fire to the Sint Agneskerk, the tower of which can be seen rising above the dunes at right. While the nave burned, the tower survived. Some fifty years later, the nave was rebuilt with funds generated by taxing fishermen one stuiver apiece for the right to sell their catch in the town and along its beaches. Egmond-aan-Zee was an exceptionally popular subject for a large number of Dutch landscapists active in the middle of the seventeenth century, among them Jacob van Ruisdael and Salomon van Ruysdael, far outstripping its geographic and economic importance. Such images no doubt appealed for their picturesque qualities but, in light of the village’s history, may also have stood as visual embodiments of the resilience and civic-mindedness for which the Dutch prided themselves in the period.

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