The topography in this late work by Koninck was probably inspired by the easterm Dutch province of Gelderland but is nonetheless imaginary. Dutch landscapists usually made up their views in the studio, often using drawings from nature for particular motifs. A river landscape of 1676 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, is very similar in composition, and features the same elegant hunting boat, a jacht (yacht), to the right.
In this colorful late work of the 1670s, the artist's emphasis is on elegant leisure and the picturesque. The staffage, as usual, is by Koninck himself. No other work in the Museum's extensive collection of Dutch landscape paintings so clearly illustrates the decorative tendency of the genre during the 1670s and 1680s, when for many artists the embellishment of fine interiors became more important than verisimilitude. Koninck never rivaled Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29–1682) in the study of clouds and trees, but the primary importance of painterly effects in this picture is remarkable nonetheless.
The composition would seem more arbitrarily conceived than those of Koninck's panoramic views of the 1660s, and it finds an apparent counterpart in a canvas of the same dimensions, Extensive River Landscape (private collection), that was separated from the Museum's picture between 1900 and 1908. It is possible that the two paintings were designed as pendants. The MMA canvas is also very close in composition and execution to Koninck's last dated painting, the River Landscape of 1676 (Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam). Motifs such as the hunting boat, the country house, and the figures on the road reoccur with minor differences. Unlike the present picture and its possible pendant, the composition of the Amsterdam painting, with its horizon uninterrupted by trees, is reminiscent of Koninck's panoramic landscapes dating from the 1660s. It is possible that the design of the MMA painting evolved from that of the Amsterdam work or from a very similar design. Other paintings by Koninck with trees placed prominently to one side also date from the last years of his activity.
[2011; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Signed (lower left): P. Koninck.
Mrs. Whatman, Vinters, Maidstone (until 1900; sale, Christie's, London, June 16, 1900, no. 59 [with a pendant, no. 60], as "An Extensive Bird's-Eye View over a River, with a horseman and beggars on a road," 32 x 44 in., for £315 to Colnaghi); [Martin Colnaghi, London, 1900–d. 1908; sale, Robinson and Fisher, London, November 19, 1908, no. 58, as "A Bird's-Eye View over a Hilly Country, with Figures and Sheep; a Clump of Trees in the foreground on the left," 33 x 44 in., for £252]; J. Friedlander (until 1943; sale, Sotheby's, London, October 27, 1943, no. 98, for 660 gns. to Minken); [Minken, from 1943]; Mrs. Mendelsohn-Bartholdy, St. James's Place, London (until 1946; sold to Speelman); [Edward Speelman, London, 1946–47; sold to Silcock]; R. P. Silcock, Preston, Lancashire (1947–68; sold to Speelman); [Edward Speelman, London, 1968; sold to Samuel]; Harold Samuel, Baron Samuel of Wych Cross, London and Wych Cross Place, Forest Row, Sussex (1968–77; sale, Christie's, London, July 8, 1977, no. 65, for £120,000 to Colnaghi); [Colnaghi, London, 1977–80; sold to MMA]
Bordeaux. Galerie des Beaux-Arts. "Profil du Metropolitan Museum of Art de New York: de Ramsès à Picasso," May 15–September 1, 1981, no. 105.
London. Colnaghi. "Art, Commerce, Scholarship: A Window onto the Art World—Colnaghi 1760 to 1984," November 7–December 15, 1984, no. 45.
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.
Horst Gerson. Philips Koninck. Berlin, 1936, p. 113, no. 89.
Walter A. Liedtke inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1979–1980. New York, 1980, p. 41, ill. (color), dates it probably mid-1670s, based on its similarities to Koninck's "River Landscape" of 1676 in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.
British Life Through Painters' Eyes, 1740–1840, and Some Aspects of Dutch Landscape, 1640–1680. Exh. cat., Hirschl & Adler Galleries. New York, 1982, unpaginated, under no. 27.
Werner Sumowski. Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler. Vol. 3, B. Keil–J. Ovens. Landau/Pfalz, 1983–[94?], pp. 1534, 1551, no. 1073, ill. p. 1623, dates it about 1676.
C. W. inArt, Commerce, Scholarship: A Window onto the Art World—Colnaghi 1760 to 1984. Exh. cat., Colnaghi. London, 1984, p. 158, no. 45, ill. p. 91 (color).
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 191.
Colnaghi in America: A Survey to Commemorate the First Decade of Colnaghi New York. Ed. Nicholas H. J. Hall. New York, 1992, p. 131.
Walter S. Gibson. Pleasant Places: The Rustic Landscape from Bruegel to Ruisdael. Berkeley, 2000, pp. xxvii, 120, fig. 85.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), p. 62.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 411–13, no. 103, colorpl. 103, dates it to the 1670s.
Artist: Philips Koninck (Dutch, Amsterdam 1619–1688 Amsterdam)Date: late 1650sMedium: Pen and brown ink, brush and brown wash, over traces of red chalk, heightened with white gouache, with framing line in pen and brown ink. Laid down.Accession: 2001.500On view in:Not on view