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Jan Brueghel II Antwerp 1601-1678
Jan Brueghel II Antwerp 1601-1678

A river landscape with a ferry crossing near a windmill, a village beyond

Jan Brueghel II Antwerp 1601-1678
A river landscape with a ferry crossing near a windmill, a village beyond
inscribed, 'Iean Brueghel Artem arte compensa' (lower right)
oil on panel
17 x 26 1/8 in. 43.4 x 66.5 cm.
Rudolf Busch, Mainz, 1918.
with P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1934.
Hugo Kaufmann, Amsterdam, 1940 to 1941.
with G. Cramer, Den Haag, 1941.
Selected by Hans Posse for the 'Führermuseum Linz', 1941.
Returned to the Netherlands, 1947.
Instituut Collectie Nederland, no NK1415, until
restituted to the heirs of Hugo Kaufmann in 2007.
K. Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Älter, Cologne, 1979. pp. 167, 169, no. 187, illustrated, as 'Follower of Jan Brueghel the Elder'.
K. Ertz, Jan Breughel der Jüngere (1601-1678): die Gemälde mit kritischem oeuvrekatalog, Freren, 1984, I, pp. 234-5, cat. 56, no. 12, as 'Jan Brueghel the Younger'.
Rijksdienst Beeldende Kunst - Old Master Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue, Zwolle and The Hague, 1992, p. 57, no. 333, as 'Jan Breughel I'.
Amsterdam, Kunsthandel P. de Boer, De Helsche en Fluweelen Brueghel, 1934, no.58.
Woudrichem, Museum Woudrichem, Schilders van de Grote Rivieren, 2 July-31 August 1958, no. 1.

Lot Essay

Bustling harbor scenes were a significant part of the work of both Breughel the Elder and Younger, but the present River landscape with windmills and ships is a unique composition. It is most assuredly an independent work by Jan Brueghel II in which he explores his own ability to interweave in a new way themes developed by his father.

Nevertheless, the composition does repeat motifs invented by the elder Brueghel. One such element is the windmill on the left shore, which derives from Breughel the Elder's Mills by the Roadside in the Palazzo Spada, Rome (K. Ertz, Jan Breughel der Älter (1568-1625): die Gemälde mit kritischem oeuvrekatalog, Köln, 1979, pp. 63-64, 85, 164, cat. 151, no. 36). The red-shirted miller carrying a sack on his back as he trudges towards the river in the present panel reworks a similar figure (shown in reverse) in the Palazzo Spada picture. Other elements derived from the father's studio include the boats ferrying passengers across the river, and the windmills dotting the coastline.

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