Old Masters Evening Auction

Old Masters Evening Auction

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 3. Dutch vessels and fishermen on a rocky coast.

Property from a European Private Collection

Adam Willaerts

Dutch vessels and fishermen on a rocky coast

Auction Closed

July 6, 06:35 PM GMT


60,000 - 80,000 GBP

Lot Details


Property from a European Private Collection

Adam Willaerts

Antwerp 1577 - 1664 Utrecht

Dutch vessels and fishermen on a rocky coast

signed and dated on the rowing boat lower centre: AD · Willarts · 1616 · (AD in ligature)

oil on oak panel

41.3 x 79.7 cm.; 16¼ x 31⅜ in.






款識:藝術家簽名並紀年 AD · Willarts · 1616 ·(中下方划槳船,AD為相連字體)


41.3 x 79.7 公分;16¼ x 31⅜ 英寸

Probably Hans W. Lange;

Sale, Berlin, Hans W. Lange, 25 January 1940, lot 41 (consigned by ‘H.L., Berlin’, most likely the above), for RM 2,520 to Schantung AG, on behalf of Alois Miedl;

Transferred by Schantung AG to Buitenlandsche Bankvereeniging, 13 February 1940 (marked III 6);    

Transferred from Goudstikker-Miedl to Hans W. Lange, 6 December 1940;

Sale, Berlin, Hans W. Lange, 12 March 1941, lot 103 (consigned by ‘L.V.B., Berlin' for Landvolkbank/Schantung AG/Goudstikker-Miedl), to Steinmeyer;

(Probably) Kommissionär Dr. Heinz Steinmeyer;

Sale, Berlin, Spik, 19–20 November 1953, lot 225;

Anonymous sale, Munich, Neumeister, 21 May 1980, lot 1415, for DM 90,000;

Anonymous sale (‘The Property of a Lady’), London, Christie’s, 21 April 1989, lot 9, for £80,000;

With Gallery Rob Kattenburg, Bergen, March 1990 (when exhibited at TEFAF, Maastricht, and illustrated in Tableau);

With Charles Roelofsz, Amsterdam, March 1997 (when exhibited at TEFAF, Maastricht);

From whom acquired by the father of the present owners.

This painting is a fine example of Adam Willaerts' coastal scenes, in very well-preserved condition with even the smallest of minute details still distinctly legible, combining his favoured motifs of recognisable subjects with a fantastical landscape. This uncradled panel is one of his earliest dated works, from 1616, just five years after he became one of the founding members of the painters' Guild of St Luke in Utrecht. Willaerts was born in Antwerp, and the early influence of Jan Brueghel the Elder is felt here particularly in the foreground figures, while the ships owe more of a debt to the examples of Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom, the founder of the Netherlandish school of marine painting.

A Dutch man-o'-war has anchored just off the beach, and another one seems to be drawing away into the distance, while a kaag sails into the cove, and a couple of fishing boats have been pulled up onto the sand in the foreground, strewn with pebbles and starfish, where men and women are sorting the catch; other figures are visible on the opposite bank, carrying a load from some rowing boats up to a cottage below a rocky outcrop topped with a ruined castle and scattered with goats, beyond which the spires, steeples and flags of a town are just visible.

This painting is typical of Willaerts' most accomplished style, which would reach its maturity in the 1620s. Some of his marines and beach scenes depict historical events, such as The Embarkation of Frederick V, Elector Palatine in 1613, which exists in two versions, dated 1622 and 1623, or biblical subjects, which nevertheless contain numerous anecdotal details. The present work exemplifies his predilection for imaginary harbour scenes, and the development of naturalism within his œuvre, with a relatively low horizon line and the hazy recession of the landscape, contrasting with the balanced accents of bright colours in the foreground.

Note on Provenance

We are grateful to Dr. Caroline Flick, who has conducted extensive research into the activities of the Berlin auction house Lange, for her help in elucidating the provenance of this lot. This picture is not recorded in the publicly available databases of lost or stolen art, nor is it recorded as a loss with the Art Loss Register.