recto © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Farms and a Dovecote by a Frozen River is an early example of Van de Velde’s innovative use of black chalk for a summary sketch of a landscape. Following his lead, countless landscapists—including Jan van Goyen and Jacob van Ruisdael—came to favor the medium for both quick sketches and finished compositions. The drawing served as the basis for a more finished iteration of the same scene executed in black chalk and gray wash. Whether Van de Velde routinely followed this process to develop his finished drawings is not clear. The survival of this preliminary sketch and a more definitive version of the same composition is unique in his oeuvre of drawings. The urban skyline in the center distance is that of Haarlem, where the artist lived from 1609 until 1618.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2015.169
People
Esaias van de Velde, Dutch (Amsterdam, Netherlands 1587 - 1630 The Hague, Netherlands)
Title
Farms and a Dovecote by a Frozen River; verso: River Scene with a Ferry
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1617-1618
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Black chalk on off-white antique laid paper; verso: black chalk counterproof, possibly worked up in black chalk
Dimensions
18.5 x 30.5 cm (7 5/16 x 12 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • watermark: Strasbourg Lily with reversed 4 and WR below; variant of Heawood 1769 (Schieland, 1616)
Provenance
[Alfred Brod Gallery, London], sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1969; The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2015.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Gift of George Abrams in honor of Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann
Accession Year
2015
Object Number
2015.169
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
The Harvard Art Museums encourage the use of images found on this website for personal, noncommercial use, including educational and scholarly purposes. To request a higher resolution file of this image, please submit an online request.
Publication History

Curtis O. Baer, ed., Seventeenth Century Dutch Landscape Drawings and Selected Prints from American Collections, exh. cat., Vassar College Art Gallery (Poughkeepsie, NY, 1976), cat. no. 7, p. 28, repr.

George S. Keyes, Esaias van de Velde 1587-1630, Davaco Publishers (Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1984), cat. no. D 70, pp. 51 and 234-5, repr. pl. 73

Frederik J. Duparc, Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, exh. cat., The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (Montreal, 1988), cat. no. 90, p. 211, repr.

William W. Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., H. O. Zimman, Inc. (Lynn, MA, 1991), cat. no. 28, pp. 74-75, repr.

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), p. 20; cat. no. 89, pp. 296-298, repr. p. 297 (recto) and p. 298 (verso) as fig. 2; watermark p. 382

Exhibition History

Seventeenth Century Dutch Landscape Drawings and Selected Prints from American Collections, Vassar College Art Gallery, Poughkeepsie, 03/28/1976 - 05/07/1976

Landscape in Perspective: Drawings by Rembrandt and his Contemporaries, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 02/20/1988 - 04/03/1988; The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, 04/15/1988 - 05/29/1988

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 02/23/1991 - 04/18/1991; Albertina Gallery, Vienna, 05/16/1991 - 06/30/1991; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 01/22/1992 - 04/22/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/10/1992 - 12/06/1992

Abrams 50th reunion exhibition, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/2004 - 06/14/2004

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu