PROPERTY FROM A DUTCH PRIVATE COLLECTION
signed lower right on the flag: VROOM, and dated lower centre on the small flag: 1630
The depiction of the Dutch beach saw a slower development than other sub-genres of landscape painting, such as scenes of mountains, forests, rivers or the countryside. Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom was instrumental in establishing the beach scene as an independent genre which culminated in the third quarter of the seventeenth-century with Adriaen van de Velde. Through Van Mander we know that Vroom begun producing beach scenes before 1604,
for he writes that Vroom painted many pieces, including beaches with fish and fishermen.1 From his earliest beach scenes, Vroom included the motif of people selling fish, see for example his View of the beach at Zandvoort seen from the southwest, circa 16152, in Enschede, and a later View of the beach at Scheveningen, circa 1623, in a private collection.3 This motif of a fish auction or visafslag was soon taken up by other marine painters and became a staple of the staffage of the Dutch beach scene. The staffage consisted of fishermen bringing their catch to a group of customers, inspecting the fish.
Among these beach scenes, views of Scheveningen were without doubt the most frequently depicted. The characteristic tower of the Oude Kerk and surrounding houses make the identification of the village possible. The beach of Scheveningen was not only known for its visafslag, but because of its proximity to The Hague, it was a place where the city's elite enjoyed a leisurely stroll or a coach ride at the beach. Thus like many other beach scenes, the staffage featuring in this painting consists of an amusing mixture of simple fishermen and elegant townsfolk.
1. See J. Giltaij and J. Kelch, Lof der Zeevaart. De Hollandse zeeschilders van de 17de eeuw, exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam/Berlin 1996, p. 90.
2. Dumas under Literature, p. 104, reproduced fig. 2.
3. Giltaij and Kelch, op. cit., p. 90, cat. no. 5, reproduced p. 91.
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