Anonymous sale, Rotterdam,Van Marle, de Sille & Baan, 21 December 1955, lot 73; Anonymous sale ('Property from a Deceased's Estate'), Amsterdam, Sotheby's, 18 May 2004, lot 25; Where acquired by the present owner.
This early work, of which there are not many examples known, clearly shows Van Minderhout's Rotterdam roots, and can be dated to the early 1650s, when the painter was in his twenties. His earlier paintings show parades and views of the cities of Antwerp, Rotterdam or Amsterdam. Although the depicted view seems to be very close to that of the harbour of Amsterdam as seen from across the river IJ, this composition seems to be a capriccio view based on familiar topographical features of both Amsterdam and Antwerp.
The following condition report is provided by Sarah Walden who is an external specialist and not an employee of Sotheby's:
Hendrik van Minderhout. Seascape and View of a Port City.
This painting has quite an old lining and an old stretcher, although not probably the original. It has been very well preserved and clearly carefully treated with minimal intervention over centuries. The precision and minute detail of the shipping and the port, has been preserved very largely intact, including much of the finest rigging.
A very fine craquelure seems to have developed particularly in the blue of the sky, while the clouds have remained quite evenly smooth. The areas of blue sky have been fairly extensively retouched quite recently, as is visible under ultra violet light. There is also a quite wide band of retouching (about an inch wide) down the left edge, and a narrower band down the right edge. Elsewhere in the clouds there seem to be only a few incidental retouchings, including one fairly large patch by the upper right edge with a small vertical scrape nearby, and one other incidental damage at centre left.
The lower half of the painting has remained remarkably finely intact overall, with just a few little touches and even minuscule dots in places. Occasional thinness can be seen, for instance in the little rowing boat on the left, sometimes in the foreground, and in some rare details of the rigging, but throughout the distant minutiae of the port itself, as well as the fine details of the central ship are beautifully complete. The signature in the right base corner has not been cleaned in the recent restoration.
This report was not done under laboratory conditions.
09/04/2018 "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."