Ruisdael is considered one of the greatest Dutch landscape painters. Of the nearly 700 paintings in his oeuvre, this work, signed in the lower left, is one of only about thirty winter scenes. Here Ruisdael aptly captured the hushed, late afternoon chill of a Dutch winter’s day. Every element serves to intensify the mood, including the cool tonality of the palette, the blustery storm clouds fast approaching, and the feathery foliage white with frost. Yet people still go about their daily business, unperturbed by the gloomy weather. Ruisdael’s paintings are sometimes interpreted as expressing an underlying moral theme. Here the decayed vegetation at the water’s edge might embody the inevitable transience of nature, and correspondingly, of human life.
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- Titles Winter Landscape (Proper)
- Artist Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, Haarlem 1628 - 1682 Amsterdam
- Medium oil on canvas
- Dimensions 14 x 12 1/2 in. (35.6 x 31.8 cm) frame: 9 7/8 × 20 1/8 × 2 1/2 in. (25.1 × 51.1 × 6.4 cm)
- Credit Line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Spencer, Jr., 1968.43
- Work Type painting
- Classification Paintings
- On View
- Provenance Collection of Baron Étienne Martin de Beurnonville (1782-1876); his sale Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 9-16, 1881, lot 447 [see note 1]. M. Laurent-Richard, Paris; his sale Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, May 28-29, 1886, lot. 43 [see note 2]. Possibly Étienne Nicolas, Paris [see note 3]. Sale Hotel Drouot, Paris, May 9, 1945, lot 17 [see note 4]. Possibly Hans Alfred Wetzlar, Amsterdam [see note 5]. Possibly with dealer Alfred Brod, London, by 1957 [see note 6]. Sale Sotheby’s London, June 27, 1962, lot 31 [see note 7]. With dealer Paul Drey, New York, 1963 [see note 8]; Mrs. Frederic H. Lassiter (i.e. Barbara Babcock Millhouse), New York. Newhouse Galleries, New York, by 1967 [see note 9]; purchased by the Birmingham Museum of Art, 1968
1. Listed as “Canal de Hollande en Hiver,” sold for FF2250. The name of the purchaser is listed in the copy of the auction catalog at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Library, but illegible.
2. Listed as “Canal de Hollande, en hiver.” The auction catalog is not illustrated, but Beurnonville provenance and identical description compared to the 1881 identify 1968.43.
3. This provenance given in the 1962 Sotheby’s auction catalogue.
4. Listed as “Canal de Hollande en Hiver, illustrated p. 15.
5. See Slive 2001, p. 470. 1968.43 is not listed in the 1952 catalogue of Wetzlar’s collection.
6. See Slive 2001, p. 470. 1968.43 is not included in Brod’s 1957 exhibition Pictures for the collector: recent acquisitions.
7. Sold to Carlson (?) for GBP 4000.
8. According to correspondence dated August 2 and August 3, 2017.
9. Stock number 17824.