The present panel, dated 1628, is certainly one of de Bloot's finest landscapes. It can be most closely compared to a larger, signed painting, which sold in these Rooms, 12 July 2001, lot 199, as well as to another panel, reversed in composition, with very similar figural types awaiting their ferry, and the same curving river in the background creating a fine sense of distance, which sold at Hargesheimer, Düsseldorf, 17 March 2018, lot 2119. However, the present painting remains unique not only in its particularly fresh palette, almost reminiscent of a watercolour, but also in its extremely refined draughtsmanship. Much of the underdrawing remains visible to the naked eye throughout, most notably by the ladder on the left and in the figures sitting on the ferry, revealing de Bloot to be a rather impulsive artist.
Frits Duparc has tentatively suggested an alternative attribution to Gerrit Claesz. Bleker (1592–1656), and compares this painting to a signed and dated work in the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem,2 drawing attention to the similar types of trees and figures, as well as the horizontal format. The trees also evoke the work of Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630), such as those found in the signed and dated work from 1622 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.3
We are grateful to Dr. Fred G. Meijer for suggesting an attribution to de Bloot following first-hand inspection, and to Bart Cornelis and Prof. Christopher Brown for supporting this attribution.
1 See H.-U. Beck, Künstler um Jan van Goyen, Doornspijk 1991, pp. 42–49, cat. nos 61–78.
2 Inv. no. OS I-660; see N. Köhler (ed.), Painting in Haarlem 1500–1850, The collection of the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem 2006, p. 397, cat. no. 34, reproduced.
3 Inv. no. SK-A-1293; see P.J.J. van Thiel et al., All the Paintings of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, Amsterdam/Maarsen 1976, p. 558, cat. no. A 1239, reproduced.
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