The Pelkus Gate near Utrecht

Jan van Goyen (Dutch, Leiden 1596–1656 The Hague)

Oil on wood
14 1/2 x 22 1/2 in. (36.8 x 57.2 cm) Frame, 23 1/4 x 31 x 2 3/4 in. (59.1 x 78.7 x 7 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Francis Neilson, 1945
Accession Number:
  • Gallery Label

    About a dozen paintings by Van Goyen feature some form of the once familiar Pelkus gate (erected 1371), a freestanding tower on the tow-path of the river Vecht. The setting is always invented and the monument treated as a picturesque haven for birds.

  • Catalogue Entry


  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Signed and dated (on boat): VG 1646

  • Provenance

    ?Graf Luckner, Altfranken, Dresden (in 1889); private collection, Berlin; [Galerie Van Diemen, Berlin, until 1921; sold to Neilson]; Francis Neilson, Chicago (1921–45)

  • Exhibition History

    Leipziger Kunstverein. "Ältere Meister aus sächsischem Privatbesitz," mid-September–November ?, 1889, no. 87 (as "Flusslandschaft, links über dem Wasser ein alter Thurm, im Mittelgrund eine Kirche," lent by Herr Graf Luckner auf Altfranken, probably this picture).

    Sarasota. John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. "Time and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art," August 20–October 30, 2005, not in catalogue.

    Louisville. Speed Art Museum. "Time and Transformation in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art," January 10–March 26, 2006, not in catalogue.

    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.

  • References

    C. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8, London, 1927, p. 200, no. 789, as no. 87 in the 1889 Leipzig exhibition, probably this picture.

    Anna Dobrzycka. Jan van Goyen, 1596–1656. Poznan, Poland, 1966, fig. 67.

    Wolfgang Stechow. Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. London, 1966, p. 56, fig. 103.

    Hans-Ulrich Beck. "Katalog der Gemälde." Jan van Goyen, 1596–1656. 2, Amsterdam, 1973, p. 344, no. 765, ill.

    Hans-Ulrich Beck. "Ergänzungen zum Katalog der Handzeichnungen und Ergänzungen zum Katalog der Gemälde." Jan van Goyen, 1596–1656. 3, Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1987, p. 233, no. 765, records a copy sold in Monte Carlo on December 12, 1982, no. 155, ill., attributed to Abraham van Strij.

    Jos de Meyere. Utrecht op Schilderijen. Utrecht, 1988, p. 95, fig. 33.

    Olivier Le Bihan. L'Or & l'ombre: catalogue critique et raisonné des peintures hollandaises du dix-septième et du dix-huitième siècles, conservées au Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux. Bordeaux, 1990, pp. 120–21 n. 7, ill., under no. 29.

    Walter A. Liedtke. "'Pentimenti' in our Pictures of Salomon van Ruysdael and of Jan van Goyen." Shop Talk: Studies in Honor of Seymour Slive. Cambridge, Mass., 1995, pp. 156–57 n. 31, fig. 6.

    Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 232–36, 500, no. 51, colorpl. 51; vol. 2, p. 934.

  • Notes

    The Pelkus Gate (or "Pellekussenpoort") was a free-standing tower erected in 1371 on the tow path of the Vecht river between Utrecht and Muiden. By 1732 it had disappeared. Van Goyen included some form of the tower in about a dozen paintings, often taking artistic license not only with the site but with the tower itself. There is also a drawing by Van Goyen depicting the tower (private collection, The Netherlands). A copy of the MMA composition was sold at auction in Monte Carlo on December 12, 1982, no. 155, ill., attributed to Abraham van Strij.