Collection Théophile Bascule, Bordeaux
Sale Paris (Hôtel Drouot), 12-14 April 1883, lot 95
Collection Gustave Tempelare, Paris, no. 3230
Collection M.G. Kellner
Sale Paris (Hôtel Drouot), 4 December 1984, lot 10, illustrated in colour
Richard Green, London 1987
Paris, Palais des Champs Elysées, Salon de 1867, no. 807
Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Jongkind, 4-23 February 1921
Paris, Daniel Malingue, Maîtres Impressionistes et Modernes, 1985, no. 4, illustrated
Zeist, Slot Zeist, Jongkind een Hollander in Frankrijk, 10 December 1991-16 February 1992, no. 18, illustrated in colour
The Hague, Haags Gemeentemuseum, Johan Barthold Jongkind 1819-1891, 11 October 2003-17 January 2004, cat.no. 115
H. Lutz, 'Sterk pleidooi voor kwaliteiten van Jongkind op expositie Slot Zeist', Utrechts Nieuwsblad, 13 December 1991, illustrated
M. Jager, 'Eerbetoon op Slot Zeist. Jongkind zorgt voor kijkgenot', De Telegraaf, 20 December 1991, p. 21 illustrated
A. Stein, S. Brame, F. Lorenceau, J. Sinizergues, Jongkind. Catalogue critique de l’oeuvre. Peintures I, Paris 2003, no. 463, illustrated
J. Sillevis, J. Foucart, S. Patin, G. Czymmek, M-P. Salé, Johan Barthold Jongkind, Zwolle 2003, cat.no. 115, illustrated in colour on p. 49
Jongkind was born as son of Gerrit Adrianus Jongkind and Wilhelmina van der Burght in Lattrop, province of Overijssel on 3 June 1819. The Jongkind family soon moved to Vlaardingen. Jongkind spent his childhood in the surroundings of Vlaardingen and Maassluis. His father passed away in 1836 and a year later, his mother gave him permission to start his education at the drawing academy in The Hague as a student of Andreas Schelfhout. Through the intercession of Schelfhout and Charles Rochussen, who both kept in close contact with the court, Jongkind was issued a grant by Willem Frederik, Prince of Orange Nassau. In 1845, Jongkind had the opportunity to become acquainted with Eugène Isabey. He had accompanied Alfred Emile de Nieuwkerke, who held an influential position as directeur des beaux-arts in Paris, to The Hague for the unveiling of the equestrian statue of William the Silent in front of the Paleis Noordeinde. Isabey was willing to complete Jongkind’s education in Paris. A royal grant facilitated his stay. Jongkind arrived in France in 1846. Here, he soon met the progressive artists of those days like Théodore Rousseau, Georges Michel and Boudin. By the incitement of Troyon, Jongkind also took lessons at the studio of Picot and was joined by Jozef Israels and Gustave Moreau not much later.
Eugène Isabey, who had already become renowned for his Romantic coastscapes, urged Jongkind to journey to Normandy and Brittany. In 1848, he exhibited his first painting, Un Port de Mer at the Parisian Salon. In 1850, he journeyed to Normandy again where he discovered the extraordinary atmosphere of places like Honfleur, Fécamp and Yport. In the meanwhile, he had also met the art-dealer Martin who was willing to support Jongkind financially. The art-dealer Adolphe Beugniet also saw Jongkind’s potential. His firm was established at the famous Rue Lafitte. Jongkind was soon included in the so-called Cercle Mogador: a group of young landscapists like Diaz, Troyon, Corot, Daubigny, Jacques and Ziem who met regularly at the cafés near Rue Mogador where Martin had established his art shop.
Everything seemed to go along very well, however, in 1855 one disaster struck after another. His entries for the Salon were turned down and in addition, his mother died. He returned to the Netherlands depressed. Five gloomy years passed by, but his Parisian friends had not forgotten him. On the initiative of Comte Doria, an auction of the pieces of his friends was organised and with its proceeds (6046 Francs in total) Jongkind was able to return to Paris.
The painter Cals picked up Jongkind in Rotterdam and settled him in a room on Rue St. Nicolas. Through the art-dealer, Père Martin Jongkind became acquainted to Madame Josephine Fesser, a lady of Dutch origin who was married to a Frenchman. Jongkind was soon included in the family circle of Madame Fesser. In 1862, Jongkind made a set of etches with the title Cahier de six eaux-forte, Vues de Hollande. He gave Baudelaire a portfolio and in that same year, Baudelaire wrote an enthusiastic article about it in Le Boulevard in which he pointed out both the revival of the art of etching and the exceptional excellence of Jongkind. In Le Havre, Jongkind met Monet for the first time. Jongkind stayed in Normandy and worked in Sainte-Adresse, Trouville and Honfleur. A year later, Boudin made sure that Jongkind and Madame Fesser were able to stay a while longer in Honfleur.
Jongkind sent in three pieces for the Salon des refuses in 1863 and his most successful piece was a scene with ice skaters, which soon proved a popular theme for collectors. In the years following, the young landscapists like Monet, Boudin, Sisley, Diaz and Daubigny met up frequently at the Ferme Saint-Siméon near Honfleur; a meeting place comparable to the inn of Père Ganne in Barbizon. Encouraged by his success with the Dutch subjects, Jongkind returned to The Netherlands in 1866 for new inspiration, which he found especially in the familiar surroundings of Rotterdam and Overschie. In 1867, he stayed in Antwerp for a while where he chiefly depicted the harbour and the views of the Schelde. In 1869, he travelled to The Netherlands for the last time. Madame Fesser’s husband initially held a position in Nevers and when Jongkind and his friend visited him there, Jongkind worked in this area. In 1870, Alexandre Fesser was transferred to Pupetière in the Dauphiné and from then on Jongkind often travelled there to draw and paint watercolours. He still held on to a pied-à-tierre in Paris. Again, three of Jongkind’s paintings were turned down for the Salon in 1873 and from then on, he decided, he would no longer take part in official exhibitions. Madame Fesser’s son bought a villa in Côte-Saint-André in 1878 that was large enough to accommodate his own family, his mother and Jongkind.
Jongkind spent the last years of his life mostly in Côte-Saint-André. Sometimes he would journey to the south of France to, for instance, Grenoble, Avignon, Nîmes and Marseilles. It is possible to reconstruct his wanderings because of his notes of dates and places on his sketches. His work was seriously hindered by his health problems that derived from his excessive use of alcohol. In 1890, he suffered from a stroke and he died a year later. Madame Fesser and Jongkind are buried next to each other in the cemetery of Côte-Saint-André. Jongkind himself was unpretentious in many ways, Monet and the Impressionists, however, regarded him as their great master.
The views Jongkind painted in 1867 of both the harbour of Antwerp and the surroundings of Rotterdam partly traces back to his stay in Belgium and the Netherlands in 1866. With drawings and watercolours made on the spot as an example, Jongkind was able to produce an oil paint version in his studio and brought in variations at will. The composition of Les patineurs à Overschie matches a watercolour from 1866, dated 19 October, most closely. It is not a view of Overschie with ice skaters but of open water on a sunny day. The French collectors had a great fondness for the typically Dutch winter tableaux because they saw a link to the wintry landscapes from 17th-century Dutch painting. In this genre, the present lot is an outstanding example and a masterpiece in the oeuvre of the artist.
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