Woods with travelers on a path by a stream



Rotterdam c. 1628 – c. 1670 Amsterdam

Woods with travelers on a path by a stream

Brush in gray ink over black chalk on light brown paper; brown ink framing lines.

163 x 204 mm (6-3/8 x 8 in).

WATERMARK: none. (R36)
CHAIN LINES: horizontal, 25-27 mm.
INSCRIPTIONS: at lower left Ruisdael (graphite, 18th century, Francis Fagel?); verso, at lower left Greffier Fagels Colln  1799 WE. P4(crossed out) 55N60x / Old Hackaert (pen in dark brown ink, in the hand of William Esdaile); at upper left Cat. 894 (pencil).
PROVENANCE: Francis Fagel (1740-1773) and Hendrik Fagel, Sr. (1706-1790), sale, London, T. Philipe, 20-25 May 1799, probably part of lot 398 or 400.

William Esdaile (1758-1837), London (L. 2617), his sale, London, Christie and Manson, 24 June 1840, lot 1180 (one of two, as “Hackaert”).

Sale, London, Sotheby’s, 10 December 1968, lot 69.

Th. Laurentius, Voorschoten, 1969, cat. no. 33.

Hans van Leeuwen, Amerongen (L. 2799a), his sale, Amsterdam, Christie’s, 24 November 1992, lot 208, acquired at the sale.

EXHIBITIONS: Robinson, Franklin W. and Peck, Sheldon. Fresh Woods and Pastures New: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Drawings from the Peck Collection. Chapel Hill/ Ithaca/ Worcester. 1999-2001. Published catalogue.

Adriaen Verboom’s landscape drawings are among the most intimate and charming of his time. His work in the 1640s is close to that of the Haarlem amateur Claes van Beresteyn and Cornelis Vroom, and is mainly executed in pen and ink.  In the 1650s, he came under the influence of Jacob van Ruisdael, and his drawings then are usually in black chalk and gray wash.

The present drawing is probably from the 1650s; the foreground is lively and animated, lacking the intense, linear calligraphy of his earlier work, and still far from the more sedate, less individual views of the 1660s, as in his drawing of the village of Moordrecht, dated 1663, in the Fondation Custodia, Paris (Van Hasselt 1968, cat. no. 161, fig. 128).  The present sheet is close in style to his paintings dated in the 1650s (in the Rijksmuseum, 1653, and the Boymans, Rotterdam, 1657), as well as his superb etching of a landscape with stream, Hollstein 2.  I. Q. van Regteren Altena (before 1968) appears to have been the first to attribute this drawing to Verboom.

In this typical work, Verboom’s trees seem like miniature, bonsai versions of trees, gnarled yet blossoming, blown up to full size; their long, twisting trunks contrast with the short, stunted branches and sprays of leaves executed in individual short strokes.  The trunks seem too big for their branches, and yet the final effect is fresh and unassuming, less muscular and heroic than Ruisdael’s conception of nature, intimate instead of intimidating.

On the verso is the sketch of a building, probably not by Verboom.