Lot 2
  • 2

Joos de Momper, Jan Brueghel the Elder

100,000 - 150,000 GBP
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


  • Joos de Momper
  • A winter landscape with travellers passing through a village
  • oil on oak panel


With Dorus Hermsen, The Hague, by 1920;
Possibly with D. Sala & Zonen, The Hague, probably after 1935 and before 1949;
Kurt Meyer, Los Angeles;
By whose Executors sold, London, Christie's, 29 March 1974, lot 90 (as Joos de Momper the Younger), for 29,000 Guineas, to Smith;
With David M. Koetser, Zurich;
From whom acquired by the late owners, circa 1980.


K. Ertz, Josse de Momper der Jüngere (1564–1635). Die Gemälde mit kritischem Œuvrekatalog, Freren 1986, p. 578, cat. no. 405, reproduced p. 214, reproduced fig. 231;
K. Ertz and C. Nitze-Ertz, Jan Brueghel Der Ältere (1568–1625). Die Gemälde, 4 vols, Lingen 2008–10, vol. IV, p. 1579, cat. no. 767, reproduced.


The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's: Joos de Momper, Jan Brueghel the Elder. A Winter Landscape with Travellers passing through a Village. This painting is on a single piece of oak. It has remained very stable (with traces apparently of an old cradle perhaps removed from the back). There is a cluster of tiny touches visible under ultra violet light by the upper edge near the upper right corner, with others grouped just below to the left of the spire in the sky. These could date from a restoration a few decades ago, with a narrow border at the top edge and upper right edge of rather older retouching, as also in the top left corner. However elsewhere there are only minor traces of intervention, with some thinness in the houses at lower right, for instance down the slanting roof, and in the house at lower left, with a little strengthening. However the vivid brushwork remains finely intact elsewhere almost throughout with the figures beautifully crisp and intact. 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

De Momper's lively brushwork is evident in this animated winter landscape that captures the comings and goings of travellers passing through a village. The artist paints the uneven snow-covered terrain with freely applied modulations of light and dark colour that convey beautifully the trammelled and wind-driven snow. So vigorously has the paint been applied that hairs from the artist’s brush are captured in its surface.
Ertz dates the panel to the end of the second decade of the seventeenth century. He groups it with a small number of other winter landscapes, the compositions of which are built along similar principles: strong diagonals across the ground and gabled buildings that serve as a framework. Village landscape in winter in the Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, Dortmund, is one example that is close in date to this work.1
The same scene depicted here features in an earlier work, Village landscape in winter on a river in the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, a large painting that extends the composition to the right to include a wide expanse of water.2 Ertz dates the Copenhagen panel to 161015. In both pictures, the immediate foreground is defined emphatically as higher ground that drops away towards the village beyond. In each, Jan Brueghel the Elder – De Momper’s friend and frequent collaborator – has painted a cart but only in this picture is it angled down the slope. The rise and fall of travellers over the crest of hilly ground is a rare motif in their winter scenes and makes one of its first appearances in this picture.3
In the d’Hoop collection, Brussels, is a version of the composition on canvas. Much enlarged, it recalls the Copenhagen picture, widening to the right to include frozen water, this time with skaters.3 Like the present panel, it too includes a lively detail at the lower left of a figure at work but differs from the one here, a woodchopper energetically engaged in his task. Brueghel’s carefully observed figures are grounded in De Momper’s spirited landscape; together they combine in this work to create an atmospheric evocation of winter and man's place in it.  

1. Panel, 49.4 by 73 cm. Reproduced in K. Ertz, under Literature, 1986, p. 19, fig. 4 (in colour); p. 208, fig. 223; p. 578, no. 408.
2. Panel, 37.5 by 98.5 cm., ibid., p. 617, no. 556, reproduced p. 247, fig. 277.
3. In the Copenhagen panel the cart appears on flatter ground and faces the opposite way.
4. Canvas, 117 by 167 cm., ibid., p. 587, no. 446, reproduced.