THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN
Henry J. Pfungst, F.S.A., 44 Cleveland Square, London;
His deceased sale, London, Christie's, 15 June 1917, lot 167, for 178 Guineas to Durlacher;
With Jacques Goudstikker, Kalverstraat 83, Amsterdam, 1917, bears his seal on the stretcher and his label, with the number 831;
Private collection, Holland, 1929;
Private collection, Southern Netherlands, 1938;
B.H.M. Lips, Singel 67, Dordrecht, by 1948;
A.J.M. Lips, Dordrecht, 1950;
H.A. Wetzlar, Amsterdam;
By whom (anonymously) offered, Cologne, Lempertz, 18-21 November 1954, lot 15, unsold;
Eduard Plietzsch, Cologne, by whom sold to
Emil G. Bührle, Zurich, 27 February 1956;
The Estate of Emil G. Bührle, Zurich, by which sold to
Arthur Kauffmann, London, 1965;
With Böhler, Munich, 1965-6, from whom bought by the father of the present owner.
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Tentoonstelling van Oude Kunst, 1929, no. 159, lent by a private collector via J. Goudstikker;
Rotterdam, Boymans Museum, Meesterwerken uit vier Eeuwen 1400-1800, 25 June - 15 October 1938, no. 161, lent from a private collection in the Southern Netherlands;
Eindhoven, Stedelijk Museum Van Abbe, Nederlandse landschapskunst in de 17e eeuw., 10 August - 10 October 1948, no. 75, reproduced in the catalogue, lent anonymously by B.H.M. Lips;
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Kunstschatten uit Nederlandse verzamelingen, 19 June-25 September 1955, no. 133, reproduced in the catalogue, lent from a private collection.
De Vlieger's beach scenes are usually composed along similar lines, with a watch-tower above the dunes, figures at the high tide mark buying and selling fish, and fishing pinks drawn up together on the shore. As here, he often leaves large parts almost empty. These works mainly date from the 1640s. In style, composition, figure types and warm palette this picture is comparable to a beach scene in Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz-Museum1, which is datable circa 1643-4 by comparison with two dated beach scenes: of 1642 and 1644.2 Other similar beach scenes by De Vlieger are at Firle Place, Sussex, Mainz, Gemäldegalerie (inv. 739) and in the St. Michel sale, Berlin, 27 February 1917, lot 19.
In 1929 this picture was exhibited as depicting the Beach at Scheveningen. De Vlieger may well have intended it to depict Scheveningen, but the topographical details are too general to distinguish it from other sites on the same stretch of coast. The viewer looks south-west along the coast, which curves, so that dunes can be seen in the distance. The scene is set in the morning, with rays from the rising sun lighting the beach with raking light from the left, the dunes and the fishing huts still casting long shadows.
We are grateful to Professor Jan Kelch for confirming the attribution, and for supplying further information about the provenance. Dr. Kelch considers it a later work, painted circa 1648.
Henry Pfungst had a large collection of paintings - principally landscapes - and drawings by Thomas Gainsborough, which comprised the first 98 lots of his sale in 1917.
1. See J. Kelch, in J. Giltay & J. Kelch, Praise of ships and the Sea. The Dutch Marine Painters of the 17th Century, exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam & Berlin 1996, pp. 190-3, no. 35.
2. London, Art Market, before 1971, and Essen, Krupp Collection; discussed by Jan Kelch, idem.
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