Lot 5
  • 5

Jan Josefsz. van Goyen

150,000 - 200,000 GBP
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  • An estuary scene with the onset of a squall and weyschuits lowering their sails
  • signed in monogram on the lee-board of the boat lower left: VG
  • oil on oak panel


Louise-Élisabeth-Félicité-Françoise-Armande-Anne-Marie-Jeanne-Joséphine de Croÿ d’Havré, Marquise and later Duchesse de Tourzel, known as Louise-Élisabeth de Croÿ, (1749-1832);
By inheritance to her grand-daughter, Anne-Hélène-Aldegonde du Bouchet de Sourches de Tourzel (1806-1837), who married Comte Louis-Marie-Paul d’Hunolstein (1804-1892);
Their son, Comte Antoine-Jean d’Hunolstein (1832-1859), who married Anne-Marie-Josèphe de Montmorency-Luxembourg (1839-1900);
Thence by descent to the present owner.


The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden, who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's. This painting is on an oak panel, which has been cradled comparatively recently, perhaps at the same period as the present restoration. The varnish has grown slightly brown and any retouching has rather darkened also. However this scarcely affects the overall sepia tone of the painting. It is possible that the subtly cooler areas in the sky would play a stronger part in the changing cloudscape as the storm approaches were the varnish lighter. There seems to have been two or three fine cracks in the upper part of the sky parallel with what might be an upper joint or perhaps brief successive fine horizontal cracks along a narrow strand in the grain of the wood. This seems however to have been stabilised and secured some time ago, with no sign of any recent movement anywhere. The upper sky has had more fairly minor surface retouchings than elsewhere, although darkened touches have become more visible across the middle and upper sky. Under ultraviolet light a wide scattering of little touches can be seen across much of the darker cloudscape with very few lower down in the lighter clouds. The water is also largely free of retouching and the beautiful horizon detail is finely intact, crisp and unworn. This report was not done under laboratory conditions.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This picture amply demonstrates Van Goyen's mastery at capturing mood.  On the choppy, brackish, peaty-brown shallow waters of a non-tidal Dutch inland stretch of water, such as the Haarlemmermeer, small vessels are lowering their sails at the onset of a squall.  The baleful light threatens lightning, and under the lowering sky we see human activity pausing while nature takes over, albeit probably briefly.  Van Goyen's tonal landscapes vary, partly by period, from green to yellow-brown to grey, but he also chooses a predominant tonal cast - here brown - to convey weather and mood.

Though undated, this unrecorded picture can be dated to circa 1643-4 by comparison with similar pictures.  One such from 1643, also of predominantly brown tones and with small vessels lowering sails, but with sheet lightning in the clouds, is in the Stedelijk Museum 'De Lakenhal', Leiden.1  Another, also from 1643 was in the collection of Dr H. Otto in Hamburg, 1939.2

1.  See H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen 1596 - 1656, vol. II, Katalog der Gemälde,  Amsterdam 1973, p. 362, no. 807, reproduced; see also C. Vogelaar, Jan van Goyen, exhibition catalogue, Zwolle/Leiden 1996, p. 114, no. 28, reproduced.
2.  See Beck, op. cit., p. 362, no. 806, reproduced.