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Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (1628/9-1682)
Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (1628/9-1682)

An extensive landscape in summer: in the foreground an artist sketching by a ruined wall above a moat, and a rowing boat by a ruined tower; beyond cornfields with harvesters, cottages near a church set in a copse on a hill, a panoramic view beneath roll

Details
Jacob Isaacksz. van Ruisdael (Haarlem c. 1628-1682 Amsterdam)
An extensive landscape in summer: in the foreground an artist sketching by a ruined wall above a moat, and a rowing boat by a ruined tower; beyond cornfields with harvesters, cottages near a church set in a copse on a hill, a panoramic view beneath rolling clouds beyond
signed 'J v Ruisdael' (JvR in monogram, lower right); the signature is partially indistinct.
oil on canvas
21 x 23.7/8 in. (53.3 x 60.6 cm.)
Provenance
Bouchier Cleeve (label on the reverse), Foots Cray Place, Kent, recorded in the Gallery, South wall, no. 65, by 1761.
Sir George Yonge, Bt.; sale, White's, London, 24 March 1806, lot 65 (to Mortimer).
William Wells, Redleaf, by 1835; his sale,(+) Christie's, London, 12 (=1st day) May 1848, lot 58, as 'The Ruins of a Fort ..', (unsold at 180gns.).
William Wells, Holme Wood, Peterborough; (+) Christie's, London, 10 (=1st day) May 1890, lot 95 (350gns. to Martin Colnaghi).
Samuel S. Joseph, London, by 1891, when lent to the Royal Academy.
Mrs. Joseph, by 1912.
J. H. Dunn, London.
with Knoedler, London.
Purchased from the above in October 1923 by Frank P. Wood, Toronto.
Mrs. R. M. Nesbitt, by whom inherited from the above in 1955.
Literature
R. & J. Dodsley, London & its Environs Described, London, II, 1761, p. 315, 'A View near Haarlem Ruysdale'.
T. Martin, The English Connoisseur, London, I, 1766, p. 61.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., London, VI, 1835, p. 68, no. 215.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., London, IV, 1912, p. 245, no. 775, and p. 254, no. 812.
J. Rosenberg, Jacob van Ruisdael, 1928, nos. 63a and 512.
N. MacLaren, National Gallery Catalogues The Dutch School, London, 1960, pp. 362 and 363, note 5.
S. Slive and H.R. Hoetink, catalogue of the exhibition, Jacob van Ruisdael, Mauritshuis, The Hague, and Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1981-2, pp. 125-126, under no. 43.
N. MacLaren, National Gallery Catalogues The Dutch School 1600-1900 revised and expanded by Christopher Brown, London, I, 1991, pp. 388-389 and note 5.
Exhibited
London, Royal Academy, Works by the Old Masters, 1876, no. 61.
London, Royal Academy, Works by the Old Masters, 1891, no. 77.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, Loan Collection of paintings by Old Masters, Jan. 12-25, 1929, no. 19, illustrated.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, Fifty Paintings by Old Masters, April 21-May 21, 1950.
Toronto, Art Gallery of Toronto, Paintings by European Masters from Public and Private Collections in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Jan. 15- Feb. 21, 1954.

Lot Essay

The present picture relates to the famous landscape in the National Gallery, London, no. 990, which with 'its heroic mood and strong chiaroscuro effect was [probably] painted about 1665-1670' (see Slive and Hoetink, op. cit., p. 125). Several other works fall into the group; all show a landscape seen from a height, which sweeps away into the distance from a similar ruin in the foreground. The distant views have variously been identified as of Haarlem, Beverwijk and in Gooiland, but they differ and presumably were intended generically to be Dutch, though the terrain undulates in the middleground. A small version of the National Gallery picture in the same collection (no. 2561) also has a rowing boat; the present work seems to be the only one to show an artist sketching. This figure is most likely the work of Ruisdael himself.

Jacob van Ruisdael did not greatly prosper by his art, but he is now recognized as one of the greatest of landscape painters, who influenced both Gainsborough and Fragonard. His versatility was remarkable, as he was a master of every aspect of the art of landscape as developed in the Golden Age.

Of the previous owners of the picture, Bouchier Cleeve assembled a notable collection for his Palladian villa in Kent, Foots Cray (one of the few houses outside London for which Dodsley supplied a full list of pictures), while William Wells of Redleaf, also in Kent, best known as a major patron of Landseer, assembled a substantial group of Dutch pictures.
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