Esaias van de Velde (Amsterdam 1587-1630 The Hague)
2 More

A winter landscape with a farmhouse, windmills and figures

A winter landscape with a farmhouse, windmills and figures
signed 'E · VEL · DE' (lower right)
oil on panel
10 ¾ x 18 1/8 in. (27.3 x 46 cm.)
A.D. van Es, Wassenaar.
with P. de Boer, Amsterdam, by 1954.
J.G. Schlingemann, The Hague.
Private collection, United States.
with Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague.
Private collection, England.
with Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hague, by 1985, where acquired by the present owner in 1991.
G. Keyes, Esaias van de Velde, 1587-1630, Doornspijk, 1984, p. 140, no. 78, plate 10, colorplate IV.
P.C. Sutton, The Martin and Kathleen Feldstein Collection, privately published, 2020, pp. 95-97, no. 25, illustrated.
Rotterdam, Rotterdamsche Kunstkring, Collectie C.V. Kunsthandel P. de Boer, 24 March-13 April 1954.
Ghent, Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Het landschap in de Nederlanden, 1550-1630: van Pieter Bruegel tot Rubens en Hercules Seghers, 1960-1961, no. 70.
Amsterdam, Gebr. Douwes, Tentoonstelling van een 60-tal landschappen uit de traditie van het noordnederlands realisme tussen 1615 en 1655, 12 March-12 April 1981.
Zuoz, Chesa Planta, “Holland im Engadin“: Dutch Painting of the Golden Age, 6 February-2 March 1986, no. 52.
The Hague, Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, The Hoogsteder Exhibition of Dutch Landscapes, 12 March-12 May 1991, no. 39.
Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Prized Possessions: European Paintings from Private Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 17 June-16 August 1992, no. 147.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620, 11 December 1993-6 March 1994, no. 336.

Brought to you by

Book an appointment
Book an appointment

Check the condition report or get in touch for additional information about this

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

With its painterly touch and broad, unmodulated passages of white, this unprepossessing image is a striking example of Esaias van de Velde’s revolutionary approach to the winter landscape. Though undated, the painting is an early work datable to circa 1614 on account of its similarities with the artist’s dated Winter landscape (fig. 1; Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge) and Winter scene (North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh). Executed a few years before the artist departed Haarlem for The Hague, these works rejected the visual vocabulary of an earlier generation of painters like Hendrick Avercamp and Adriaen van de Venne, who employed a profusion of picturesque details and monumental structures to organize their compositions, in favor of a restrained naturalism distilled to its essential elements. Such paintings led Wolfgang Stechow to proclaim the young Esaias to be ‘the real founder of Dutch seventeenth century landscape painting’ (see W. Stechow, ‘Esajas van de Velde and the Beginnings of Dutch Landscape Painting’, Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek, I, 1947, p. 85).
Characteristic of van de Velde’s early landscapes is the low horizon line, diagonally oriented road and frozen polder and the vertical framing tree along the far right edge. Each of these devices serves to focus the viewer’s eye and create a sense of immediacy. To this, van de Velde added only a minimum of figures and humble wooden buildings. Among the most prominent details are the ramshackle privy at lower left – a structure that features in a surprising number of contemporary landscapes – and the series of three windmills receding diagonally in the middle ground. The presence of the privy, depicted as if it were about to crumble onto the frozen water, may well have inspired a degree of laughter and, through its elevation of an inherently unpoetic aspect of daily life, furthered van de Velde’s glorification of the mundane – dare one say ‘necessary’ – aspects of the local environment. Similarly, windmills were a curious novelty at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Wouter Kloek explored their status as instruments of civic pride when the present painting was exhibited in the ground-breaking exhibition Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580-1620 at the Rijksmuseum in 1993-1994, noting how these machines, aided by advances in technology, were crucial to the land reclamation projects of the period (loc. cit.). Indeed, the draining of the Beemster Polder, the first major project of its type, had only recently been completed in 1612.

More from The Martin Feldstein Collection: Dutch Art in the Golden Age

View All
View All