Jan van Goyen

Leiden 1596 - The Hague 1656

A River Estuary with Fishermen and Boat on the River

Oil on Panel, 37,6 x 54 cm
Indistinctly Monogrammed, and Dated on the boat: VG 1647



Collection Rev. Benjamin Rudge (1680-1741), Northamptonshire;
Thence by inheritance to A. Rudge Esq.;
His sale, Sotheby’s London, 29 November 1961, no. 121 ($ 11000 to Hallsborough);
William Hallsborough Gallery Ltd., London;
Collection Dr. G. Henle* (1899-1979), Duisburg, 1963;
Thence by inheritance to Anne Liese Henle (his wife, 1908-1997);
By whose estate sold, “Old Master Paintings, The Henle Collection”, London, Sotheby’s 3-4 December 1997, lot 4, where acquired by the present owner;
Private Collection, England.

*Günter Henle (1899-1979), who owned our painting, was a Diplomat, Politician and Industrial Magnate who founded in 1948 the famous publishing house G. Henle Verlag for Urtext editions of classical music. He was himself an accomplished pianist.


L. Frohlich-Bum, «Alte Meister bei Hallsborough», Die Weltkunst, 15 May 1963, p.24 (reproduced);
The Illustrated London News, 1 June 1963, p. 855 (reproduced);
Dr. H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656, Vol. II, Katalog der Gemälde, 1973, p. 388-389, cat. no. 867, reproduced p. 389;
Dr. H.-U. Beck, Jan van Goyen, 1596-1656, Vol. III, Ergänzungen zum Katalog…, 1987, p. 285


London, W. Hallsborough, Exhibition of Fine Paintings and Drawings of Five Centuries, Summer 1963, no. 17, reproduced;
Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Die Sammlung Henle Aus dem grossen Jahrhundert der niederländischen Malerei, 22 February-5 April 1964, no. 14, reproduced.

Additionnal Information

Jan van Goyen’s early landscapes follow in the footsteps of his teacher Esaias van de Velde. Realistic, somewhat colourful landscapes, often painted as a pair or sets of seasonal paintings. After 1626/27 Van Goyen exchanged Van de Velde’s style for a more monochrome palette. His landscapes generally contain just one or two colours: mainly greens, browns and greys. Van Goyen’s rapid, monochrome technique enabled him to paint high quality landscapes prolifically.  Jan van Goyen was a keen draughtsman. He drew countless sketches of landscapes on his travels around the Netherlands, France and Germany which he would later implement in his compositions.


The composition of this River Estuary painted in 1647 is typical for the artist. With a loose brushstroke Jan van Goyen devoted a quarter of the scene to the foreground and the middle ground with boats on the river, while the remainder three-quarters of the panel is devoted to a dramatic overcast sky. The foreground features two fishermen tending to their catch. A central boat can be seen heading towards deeper water. In the middle and distant background feature array of fishing and sailing boats are visible against a city along the horizon. 


Our painting dated 1647 exemplifies a new era of Dutch landscape painting which was distinguished by modest, domestic subject matter, a low vantage point, and a palette limited in color but richly varied in tone. Paintings of this period in Jan van Goyen’s oeuvre can be found in museum collections around the world.