A Pair of River Landscapes

Tuesday, April 23rd 2024

by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Jan Brueghel the Younger

Jan Brueghel the Elder (Flemish, 1568-1625) and Jan Brueghel the Younger (Flemish, 1601-1678)

Village on a Rivershore and Landscape with a Wharf

A pair of oil on copper paintings.

H. 18.5 W. 22.5 cm.
In French Louis XIV carved giltwood frames.

- Collection of Ms X;
- Collection of Roger Aubert, Besançon 1952;
- Collection of Louis Henri Girard (1881-1973), Champagnol, Jura;
- his succession, private collection, Tours.

A pair of copperplate paintings started by Brueghel the Elder and finished by Brueghel the Younger

Jan Brueghel the Elder painted many harbor and fish market scenes as well as river landscapes along the Scheldt. He enjoyed depicting boats, the changing colors of the water in the background, the reflection of a sunbeam piercing through the clouds... People getting from one shore to the other and paying the ferry can often be found in his paintings. Boats are overloaded, passengers wait to dock after the crossing, goods are unloaded... These subjects were also favored by his son, who excelled at depicting a subtle atmosphere and the infinite scale of a landscape with the same subtlety of execution and miniaturist qualities as his father.

The Village on the Rivershore is a reproduction of a painting by Jan Brueghel the Elder held in a private collection (Klaus Ertz and Christa Nitze-Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere (1568-1625), Luca Verlag Lingen, 2008, vol. I, p.309, no. 147). Another version of the second painting, Landscape with a Wharf by Jan Brueghel the Younger, can be found at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum in Milan (Klaus Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Jüngere, The Paintings with Oeuvre Catalogue, Luca Verlag Ed., 1984, vol. 1, p. 229, no. 47). It draws inspiration from a 1604 painting by Jan I the Elder that is part of a pair belonging to King Louis XIV before being deposited in Nantes in 1804 and currently held in the collections of the Nantes Museum (Ertz 2008, op. cit., p. 256, no. 113).

We would like to thank Dr. Ursula Härting for confirming the authenticity of these paintings by direct examination on April 17, 2024. She points out that Jan Brueghel the Elder’s participation in the Village by the River is significant: he painted most of the trees and the figures on the riverbank, while those in the boat in the foreground were painted by his son.
As for Landscape with a Wharf, she notes that the "foliage" of yellowed branches on the far right side and the one on the top right can only be attributed to Jan I the Elder. The luminous space in the background is also of the highest quality.

According to Dr. Härting, both paintings can be linked to an entry in Jan II Brueghel's diary mentioning that he bought two lots of four copperplates started by his father - although neither the subjects nor the state of completion of these paintings are known. According to an 18th C. transcription of his diary, they were purchased after his father’s 1625 death - at the time of the division of his inheritance, probably around 1626-27 - for 23 and 19 gulden respectively (see Ursula Härting, Der buchhalterische Jan Brueghel der Jüngere (1601?1678) und sein Journal (ca. 1625?51), in Der Künstler als Buchhalter. Serielle Aufzeichnungen zu Leben und Werk, Petersberg 2024, pp. 53-66).

36th Garden Party Auction
May 24-27, 2024

at château d'Artigny
92, rue de Monts 37250 Montbazon, France.
Subscribe to our newsletter:
Follow us: