Art/ Collection/ Art Object

River View with a Village Church

Style of Jan van Goyen (Dutch, mid-17th century)
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 38 1/2 in. (64.8 x 97.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Adele L. Lehman, in memory of Arthur Lehman, 1965
Accession Number:
Not on view

When this painting was in the Lehman collection it was thought to be a view of Overschie by Van Goyen, monogrammed and dated 1637. The inscription came off with cleaning in 1967, one year after Cevat (verbal opinion in departmental archives) dismissed the little-known canvas from the landscapist's oeuvre. Shortly thereafter, Beck (1973) placed the picture among five "varying copies" after a lost painting by Van Goyen.

The pictures by Van Goyen that most resemble this one date from 1645 onward. They include a panel dated 1645 in the National Gallery, London; another panel of 1645 that was on the London art market in 1923; a version of 1648 formerly in the Argenti collection, London; and a panel dated 1651 formerly in the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington. In these versions the church steeple is central in the composition, there are more trees and some undeveloped land to the left, and a strip of land, occupied by cows and/or fishermen, fills most of the immediate foreground. Beck is probably right to consider The Met's canvas and versions of it to have derived from another painting by Van Goyen that is now lost or unknown.

This does not suggest that the five examples listed by Beck are all from Van Goyen's studio. Aspects of The Met’s picture, such as the execution of the building at the water's edge and some passages of foliage, recall works by Frans de Hulst (1605/7–1661) more than the related paintings by Van Goyen. Nonetheless, the sheer number of Van Goyen's known followers makes any attribution to an individual artist inappropriate, especially in the case of a work most likely copied after Van Goyen himself.

The earlier identification of the church in this canvas, in the painting of 1645 in the National Gallery, London, and in similar compositions derives from the erroneous inscription "Oudeschie" in a later hand on a sketch in Van Goyen's Bredius sketchbook of 1644. More recently, Buijsen identified the drawing as a view of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, and this is confirmed by his comparisons with several images, including two paintings by Van Goyen (dating from 1650 and 1651), a drawing by Jacob van Ruisdael, and an engraving in Abraham Rademaker's Kabinet van Nederlandsche Outheden en Gezichten (Amsterdam, 1725; see Edwin Buijsen, The Sketchbook of Jan van Goyen from the Bredius-Kronig Collection, The Hague, 1993, pp. 76–79).

It does not follow that The Met's picture and related paintings show the church at Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, since that structure differs in almost every detail (including its alignment with the river), except for the similar, but slimmer, spire, and the arcade on the tower. With Van Goyen's architectural subjects, one repeatedly reaches the same conclusion: occasionally his depictions of buildings are more or less faithful to life, but generally he allowed topographical material to serve his artistic whims.

[2016; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Robert Hutcheson, Glasgow (until 1851; sale, Christie's, London, April 4, 1851, no. 58, for £7.15.0 to Nichols); John Bell, North Park, Glasgow (until 1881; sale, Christie's, London, June 24, 1881, no. 623, for £90.6.0 to Denison); Christopher Beckett Denison, London (from 1881); ?Lady Christopher Beckett Denison; Lord Faber (until 1913; sale, Christie's, London, June 20, 1913, no. 66, for £157.10.0 to Schnell); [J. Schnell, Paris, from 1913]; Adolph Lewisohn, New York (until d. 1938); Sam A. Lewisohn, New York (1938; given to Lehman); his sister, Mrs. Arthur (Adele Lewisohn) Lehman, New York (1938–d. 1965)
Columbia, S.C. Columbia Museum of Art. "Landscape in Art: Origin and Development," January 17–February 26, 1967, no. 27 (as by Van Goyen).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.

C. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 8, London, 1927, p. 194, no. 765, as by Van Goyen.

Claus Virch. The Adele and Arthur Lehman Collection. New York, 1965, p. 46, ill., as by Van Goyen.

Hans-Ulrich Beck. Jan van Goyen, 1596–1656. Vol. 2, Katalog der Gemälde. Amsterdam, 1973, pp. 285–86, no. 628b, copy V, ill., as a copy after a lost painting by Van Goyen.

Edward Morris and Martin Hopkinson. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool: Foreign Catalogue. [Liverpool], 1977, text vol., p. 85 n. 1, under no. 613.

Julia Lloyd Williams. Dutch Art and Scotland: A Reflection of Taste. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Scotland. [Edinburgh], 1992, p. 176, states that John Bell bought the picture from Robert Hutcheson.

Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 244–45, no. 56, colorpl. 56.

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