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Title Landscape with Bleaching Grounds
Collection English Heritage (Wellington Museum, Apsley House)
Artist Follower ofRuisdael, Jacob van (Dutch painter and draftsman, born 1628 or 1629, died 1682)
Date Earliest probably about 1650
Date Latest probably about 1700
Description While the woman is spreading out the sheets on the grass, a man is bringing a further load in a wheel-barrow. Another woman, carrying linen, is entering an outhouse. Both the style and the subject matter derive from Jacob van Ruisdael. He painted bleaching grounds near Haarlem on several occasions (see Slive 2001, pp. 51–96, nos. 35, 36, 37, 40, 41, 43, 46, 48, 50, 52, 53, 55, 58, 62, 64, 65, 70), and the closed-in type of composition is typical of Ruisdael in the 1650s. Born in Haarlem, he was the son of a frame-maker and dealer who was also a painter, and may have studied under his uncle, Salomon van Ruysdael; he was also influenced by Cornelis Vroom (c.1590/91–1661). A member of the Haarlem guild in 1648, he had settled in Amsterdam by 1657. He later became a doctor of medicine in 1676, at Caen. Hobbema was among his pupils.
Current Accession Number WM 1594–1948
Inscription front ll '(?)Gi...or Ri...; front lr (inventory no.) '147'
Subject landscape; buildings and gardens; trade and industry
Measurements 54 x 65 cm (estimate)
Material oil on canvas
Notes The picture's poor condition generally, in particular the thinness of the paint surface in the foreground and on the trees, makes it difficult to speak with confidence about details of style and quality, yet it is clear that on neither count can it be attributed to Jacob Ruisdael himself. Jan Vermeer van Haarlem (1628–1691) has been the traditional attribution accepted in the Wellington Catalogue, but this is difficult to support from his secure work. He was much influenced by Ruisdael and is known to have painted comparable views of bleaching grounds (e.g. Senff sale, Anderson, New York, 28–29 March 1928, lot 12, repr.; or Dune Landscape, c. 1675, Frans Halsmuseum, Haarlem, inv. OSI–255), but the comparisons are insufficiently close to warrant a definitive attribution. Most of Vermeer van Haarlem's dune landscapes are seen from an elevated vantage point and encompass extensive vistas (signed examples in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin; and sold Christie's, 3 Dec. 1997, lot 125). Another follower of Ruisdael for whom bleaching grounds were a favourite subject was Jan van Kessel III (1641–1680), but his works differ in composition, being derived from Ruisdael's later, open vista landscapes (examples at Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brussels; Felbrigg Hall, National Trust; and formerly in the Gemäldegalerie, Kassel; Alice I. Davies, Jan van Kessel (1641–1680), Doornspijk, 1992, nos. 23, 34, and 24 respectively). Until a convincing attribution is found, therefore, the picture can best be described as by an immediate follower or imitator of Jacob van Ruisdael.

For Ruisdael see J. Rosenberg, Jacob van Ruisdael, Berlin, 1928; S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, Drawings and Etchings, London and New Haven, 2001.

Rights Owner Copyright English Heritage
Author C.M. Kauffmann, revised by Susan Jenkins



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