SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL | River landscape with figures in rowing boats, and fishermen hauling a net in the foreground
SALOMON VAN RUYSDAEL
Naarden circa 1602 - 1670 Haarlem
River landscape with figures in rowing boats, and fishermen hauling a net in the foreground
signed with monogram and dated on the boat lower left: SvR 1668
oil on oak panel
39.7 x 55.8 cm.; 15⅝ x 22 in.
The panel is uncradled, flat and stable. There is a horizontal join just above centre. The paint surface is clean and the varnish clear and even. There are a handful of tiny scuff marks in the shrubbery, lower right, but no major damages are visible to the naked eye. Inspection under ultraviolet light reveals minor retouchings consisting of small spots scattered in the sky, notably on the left-hand side; fine, horizontal lines of retouching in the water along the lower margin, where there appears to have been some flaking in the past; and to an old, repaired, horizontal split at the centre of the right margin, approx. 3.5 cm. long. The painting is in overall good condition.
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Private collection, Switzerland, since the beginning of the 20th century;
Thence by descent until anonymously sold, Zürich, Koller, 30 March – 1 April 2017, lot 3038 (as signed and dated: SR 1667, as circle of Salomon van Ruysdael).
This painting is one of Salomon van Ruysdael’s last dated works depicting a river landscape – the subject that the artist returned to throughout his career with seemingly limitless invention, and for which he is most acclaimed. This view is painted in the rich, vibrant palette of the artist’s later years, as opposed to the tonal, more monochromatic works of the 1630s, with a composition entirely typical of Ruysdael’s river scenes. The quiet, probably afternoon, landscape – pale pink clouds reflected softly in the glassy water – is taken as if from a boat mid-stream. The dark diagonal of the riverbank on the right leads the viewer’s eye towards the central accent of the overhanging trees in the centre of the composition, and on into the cool tones of the distance, the horizon line animated by the silhouettes of a church steeple and two sailing boats. Other paintings from the last decade of Ruysdael’s life employ a similar format and elements ingeniously combined into different variations on the theme, such as the now lost River landscape dated 1667, formerly in the Schlesisches Museum, Breslau (inv. no. 137).1
1 See W. Stechow, Salomon van Ruysdael, Berlin 1975, pp. 129–30, cat. no. 389, reproduced fig. 69.