Thursday, 18 May 2017

Jan van de Velde II’s etching, “Wagon on a path in a mountainous river landscape”, 1616


Jan van de Velde II (c.1593–1641)
“Wagon on a path in a mountainous river landscape”, 1616, from the series of landscapes, “Amenissimae aliquot regiunculae” (Some very attractive regions). (See the description of this series offered by the Rijksmuseum shown below).

Etching on fine laid paper, trimmed along the image borderline and lined onto a conservator’s support sheet
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 19.1 cm
Numbered: (upper right) “3”; (lower right) “9”

Hollstein Dutch 264-2 (2); Franken & van der Kellen 303-4 (4)
The Rijksmuseum offers the following description of this print:
“A man with a dog and a wagon on a dirt road along a river with a stone bridge. Left a building on a mountain. Ninth picture of the third part of an array of a total of sixty prints with landscapes, divided into five portions of each twelve prints. … Originally the first states of the prints formed a series consisting of two parts of 26 prints. The later states formed a series of five parts of each twelve prints.” (http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.333547)

Condition: crisp, well-printed impression, trimmed to the image borderline and laid upon a conservator’s support sheet. The sheet is in a clean/restored condition with thin areas that are only visible when the print is held up to the light.

I am selling this delicate and very beautiful etching for AU$284 (currently US$211.22/EUR190.02/GBP162.11 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this superb example of Dutch landscape etching by one of the greatest masters of the early 1600s, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold


To set a context for this print in terms of its date of execution in 1616, Rembrandt’s first print had just been published in this same year by Johannes Pietersz. Beerendrecht (fl.1614–45). This may not seem very significant beyond being a coincidence. For me, however, the shared date reveals a rising spirit of the time to see value in the surrounding Dutch landscape—a fresh attitude arguably initiated in the paintings of Jan van de Velde II’s cousin, Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630) (see http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/term_details.aspx?bioId=104379).

From a personal standpoint, this etching is the work of a true master.  Note for example the way that the treatment of clouds has been codified into a system of straight horizontal lines and concentric curved lines to suggest cloud mass. Note also how the patterns of light and shade are arranged to connote spatial depth by use of dark tones and sharp tonal contrasts in the foreground leading ultimately to just the white of the paper to represent the pale infinity of distant sky.

Beyond the treatment and compositional arrangement of the landscape features, there is one other feature of this print which is remarkable—and indeed which makes most of Jan van de Velde’s prints remarkable: his skill and curious interest in making etchings that look like engravings. Van de Velde was so skilful in this pursuit that his famous set of prints designed as copybooks for calligraphers can mislead even the most astute viewer into believing that they are engravings when, in fact, they are etchings.





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