Black chalk and gray wash;
inscribed in black chalk, top centre: Rencom, and bears numbering in brown ink, top right: 99
This sheet and lots 154, 158-9 and 165-7, are from a sketchbook used by Van Goyen during the course of a journey he made in 1650-51 from his home town of Leiden to the German border around Nijmegen, Kleve and Arnhem, before returning to Amsterdam and the surrounding area. In common with many Dutch landscape artists of the 17th Century, Van Goyen made a number of sketching tours, although he did not stray as far from home as some of his contemporaries and the journey of 1650-51 appears to have been one of the most extensive that he undertook. During his travels, Van Goyen filled several sketchbooks with rapid studies of landscapes such as this, as well as buildings, animals and figures, which he then used as the basis for elements in his oil paintings and also in his more elaborate, finished drawings, composed and executed in the studio.
Dr. Beck has associated Van Goyen's sketches with six distinct sketchbooks, of which four have survived largely intact (in the Albertina, Vienna, the British Museum, the Kronig Collection and the Dresden Kupferstichkabinett).1 It cannot now be ascertained how many sheets the sketchbook of 1650-51 originally contained. Up to 190 sheets remained in the album at the time of the 1937 sale, but others must have been removed prior to that date, and the counting of the sheets seems in any case not to have been precisely undertaken (at the time of the 1918 sale, Campbell Dodgson gave the number of sheets as only 179). In any case, those remaining together in 1937 were seperated by Dr Lilienfeld after he acquired them in 1957, although a final group of thirty sheets was still together a few years ago, in the collection of the late Carel Goldschmidt.2
The location depicted is Renkum, in the Lower Rhine region of the Eastern Netherlands, roughly half way between Rhenen and Arnhem. Van Goyen used this sketch as the basis for no fewer than three larger, more elaborate drawings, two of them dated 1651 and one 1652.3
1. See Beck, op. cit., nos. 843-6
2. Sold, New York, Christie's, 12 January 1995, lots 220-249
3. See Beck, op. cit., nos. 214, 224a and 298
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