Salomon van Ruysdael (Naarden ?1600/3-1670 Haarlem)
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Salomon van Ruysdael (Naarden ?1600/3-1670 Haarlem)

A view of Scheveningen from the dunes with travellers on a path, the sea beyond

Salomon van Ruysdael (Naarden ?1600/3-1670 Haarlem)
A view of Scheveningen from the dunes with travellers on a path, the sea beyond
signed and dated 'RuySDAEL 1663' (lower left)
oil on canvas
18 7/8 x 26¼ in. (47.9 x 66.7 cm.)
with Galerie Brunner, Paris.
Henry J. Pfungst; sale, London, 15 June 1917, lot 157 (£231 to Durlacher).
with Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1917.
J.C. van Schaardenburg, Rotterdam, 1938, and by descent to the present owners.
W. Stechow, Salomon van Ruysdael, Berlin, 1938, p. 99, no. 274.
W. Stechow, Salomon van Ruysdael, Berlin, 1975, pp. 109-10, no. 274.
Rotterdam, Goudstikker, 1917, no. 46.
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Lot Essay

Beach and coastal scenes make up only a small part of Salomon van Ruysdael's oeuvre. Wolfgang Stechow lists around twenty paintings including views of Zantvoort, Egmond aan Zee, as well as Scheveningen, the majority of which - like the present picture - were executed late in his career, in the first years of the 1660s. Ruysdael was increasingly drawn to the coast during those years and presumably made excursions from his native Haarlem along the coast. He painted Egmond in 1660 for the picture in the Landesmuseum, Mainz, and again in 1664 for a picture sold in these Rooms, 17 December 1999, lot 11. He painted Zantvoort in 1662, and two other coastal views with churches for the pair of upright panels in the Fogg Art Museum, Massachussetts. Stechow records only two other views of Scheveningen by the artist; a large canvas, dated 1665, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and an upright picture of 1660 in the Städtischen Suermondt Museum, Aachen, both of which are essentially beach scenes with the village of Scheveningen shown at the left (op. cit., 1975, nos. 275 and 32). Another, dated 1664, and adopting the same viewpoint as that in the Philadelphia picture, has since come to light, and was sold in these Rooms, 11 July 2001, lot 31.

The fishing village of Scheveningen and its broad beach was a popular summer excursion site for inhabitants of The Hague. Jacob van der Does, in an account of 1668, described it as a place for holiday amusements, walking, and buying fish. Peter Sutton has shown that Scheveningen was not just a place for recreation but held important associations for the city-dweller of a purer and simpler lifestyle (P. Sutton, in the catalogue of the exhibition, Masters of 17th Century Dutch Landscape Painting, Boston, 1988, p. 494, under no. 103). These notions were expounded by the moralizing poet Jacob Cats who in 1655 published a poem entitled 'Op de gelegenheyt van een Scheveninghs vroutje dat een benne mit visch op haer hooft draeght' (On the situation of a young woman of Scheveningen with a basket of fish on her head), which proclaimed that life at the beach, where one could be carefree and happy, was preferable to the stress and pretensions of city life.

The present work, unlike Ruysdael's other depictions of Scheveningen, shows the approach to the village over the dunes from the east. The view is centred on the imposing and instantly recognisable church which dominates the skyline in the centre. City dwellers are shown arriving at Scheveningen in a carriage and on horseback, on the type of excursion referred to by van der Does in the contemporary account mentioned above. Ruysdael's 1662 view of Zantvoort shows travellers approaching the village in the same way (Stechow, op. cit., 1975, p. 109, no. 272, illustrated, fig. 60).

The present picture was copied in a drawing by the Leiden artist Abraham Delfos (1731-1820) who is well known as a copyist after such 17th century Dutch masters as Vermeer, Jacob de Heusch, Ferdinand Bol and Rembrandt (Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam, inv. RP-T-1918-373).

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