Jan van de Cappelle
- Jan van de Cappelle
- A winter landscape by a frozen pond, a figure dragging a pile of driftwood and a mother and child by the gate of a house
- signed with initials lower centre: J V C
- oil on canvas
His deceased sale (et al.), London, Christie's, 10 May 1879, lot 97 (as Van Der Capella), for 200 Guineas, to Levy;
Albert Levy, London;
His deceased sale (et al.), London, Christie's, 3 May 1884, lot 57 (as J. Van Der Capella), for £189, to Denison;
Christopher Beckett Denison (1825–84), Upper Grosvenor Street, London;
By whose Executors sold, London, Christie's, 6 June 1885, lot 20 (as J. Van Der Capella), for 210 Guineas, to Martin Colnaghi (on behalf of Stephenson Clarke);
Colonel Robert Stephenson Clarke (1862–1948), Borde Hill, Haywards Heath, Sussex;
Thence by inheritance to Mrs Stephenson Clarke, Brook House, Haywards Heath, Sussex;
Thence by descent to Robert Clarke;
By whose Executors offered, London, Christie's, 11 December 1992, lot 97 (as Jan van Kessel), unsold;
Acquired after the sale by Lindsay Fine Art;
From whom acquired by the late owner.
London, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Dutch exhibition, 30 March – 10 May 1904, no. 173 (as Van de Capelle);
London, Royal Academy, Dutch pictures 1450-1750. Winter Exhibition, 22 November 1952 – 1 March 1953, no. 370 (as Van de Capelle).
M. Russell, Jan van de Cappelle 1624/6-1679, Leigh-on-Sea 1975, p. 84, cat. no. 149, reproduced fig. 89 (as attributed to an unknown follower);
M. Russell, 'A winter landscape after Jan van de Cappelle', in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXX, no. 1025, August 1988, p. 607, under note 8 (as Jan van Kessel).
Van de Cappelle's winter scenes are characterised by an austerity and restraint which sees figures subordinated to the subject of the landscape itself, its atmosphere, and light, expressed through a muted and subtle palette. Closest in mood to this painting is the upright composition in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede.1 The foreboding sky and twisted, spiny trees in this view lend the scene a rather menacing air, heightening the sense of urgency with which the figure in the foreground drags his sled full of driftwood. Another upright winter landscape, sold in these Rooms, 7 July 2011, lot 198, presents a comparable subject and is similarly signed with initials. Van de Cappelle's winter landscapes exerted an influence on other artists out of proportion to their small number. Hendrick Dubbels, for example painted a number of winter scenes that are directly dependent on Van de Cappelle, and indeed have on occasion been confused with his works. In a handful of winter scenes painted early in his career, Jan van Kessel too was strongly influenced by Van de Cappelle.
On the basis of a black and white photograph, Margarita Russell, who took an astringent view of Van de Cappelle's winter scenes, attributed this painting to 'an unknown follower' of Van de Cappelle in 1975, and later credited Dr. Alice Davies with an attribution to Jan van Kessel (1641–80) in her article of 1988 (see under Literature). In correspondence from 1993, Dr. Davies refuted this attribution, pointing out that she had not included the picture in her catalogue raisonné of Jan van Kessel because she had come to the conclusion that the long-standing attribution to Van de Cappelle was most likely correct. More recently, on the basis of first-hand inspection, Dr. Frits Duparc has confirmed this work to be in his view an autograph work by Van de Cappelle, and Dr Davies has kindly reiterated her view that it is by him.2
1. Inv. no. 396 (see O. Ter Kuile, Collectie Scholten, Enschede 1972, cat. no. 3).
2. By email, dated 30 October 2015.