After winning medals and enjoying great success and state purchases from the Paris Salons of 1851 and 1852, Jongkind returned to his home country in 1855. Here, he turned his focus to marine landscapes, which became his most iconic and celebrated subjects. In these compositions he lowers the horizon and focuses on an active expanse of sky, characteristics shared by the seventeenth-century Dutch masters and his friend and peer, Eugène-Louis Boudin. In the present work, a complex and rigorously painted nocturne, Jongkind offers a peaceful view of modern industrial bustle and explores the effects of light on water. Backlit by a shining full moon, the row boat of the foreground is overwhelmed by the towering windmills and tall-mast ships, which crowd the atmospheric harbor of Rotterdam.
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