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Salomon van Ruysdael - Landscape with waggons on a sandy road
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Salomon van Ruysdael

Landscape with waggons on a sandy road

Oil on panel: 17.2 x 26.1 (in) / 43.8 x 66.4 (cm)
Signed and dated lower centre: S. VRVYSDAEL / 1647 (VR in ligature)

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Naarden Naarden 1600/03 - 1670 Haarlem

Ref: BS 342


Landscape with wagons on a sandy road


Signed and dated lower centre: S. VRVYSDAEL / 1647 (VR in ligature)

Oil on panel: 17¼ x 26 1/8 in / 43.8 x 66.4 cm

Frame Size: 25½ x 32½ in / 64.8 x 82.6 cm




Karl Haberstock, Berlin Pieter de Boer, Amsterdam, 1954 Julius Böhler, Munich Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna;

from whom acquired circa 1960 by Ing. Karl Rutter (d. 1970), Vienna;

by descent to his son, Ing. Hansjörg Rutter



Amsterdam, Pieter de Boer, summer 1954


Wolfgang Stechow, Salomon van Ruysdael: eine Einführung in seine Kunst, Berlin 1975, p.97, no. 192c



Under a bright windswept sky, a loamy road retreats diagonally from right to left. It is travelled by companionably overbooked waggons filled with passengers presumably travelling to the city with the church tower on the horizon. Cows loiter on the side of the road and other figures are silhouetted on the brow of the hill at the right. Tall trees rise at the centre of the composition and a slender denuded tree trunk, possibly marking a well, rises in the distance.


Together with Jan van Goyen (1596-1656) in Haarlem in the late 1620s and early 30s, as well the lesser known artists, Pieter van Santvoort (1604/5-1635) in Haarlem and Pieter de Molijn (1595-1661) in Amsterdam, Salomon van Ruysdael was one of the first artists to perfect the ‘tonal’ landscape style, which first unified naturalistic views with a restrained palette of earth hues and a pervasive atmosphere, usually applied to diagonal compositions. Over the course of the 1630s and early 40s, van Goyen remained more closely wed to the original tenets of tonalism, while Salomon introduced greater contrasts, more emphatic motifs, like the trees in this composition, and more colour accents, which point the way to the ‘classical’ phase of landscape painting that would dominate Dutch landscape in the third quarter of the century. Salomon painted river views, dunescapes and winter scenes in this style. Besides Salomon, one of its greatest practitioners was his nephew, Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29-1682), probably the most versatile Dutch landscapist of all time. The late 1640s, when this painting was executed, was a prolific one for Salomon. With its low horizon line, rapidly receding road and tall sky, the present work may be compared to another painting dated the same year, formerly in the Shickman Gallery, New York (see Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam / Museum of Fine Arts, Boston / Philadelphia Museum of Art, Masters of Dutch Landscape Painting, 1987-88, fig. 53; Stechow 1975, no.193). There the contrast in the social demographics of the road traffic is even more pronounced, as coaches with footmen in livery speed toward the ‘deftig’ court of The Hague seen on the horizon in the distance. But other aspects of the technique are quite comparable. Salomon favoured dragging a loaded brush across the horizon line in his skies, giving the impression of the air cleared by the recent passing of a shower, although ironically he never painted stormy landscapes. Notwithstanding the fact that he often recycled familiar motifs in his scenes – the tall silhouetted trees, the soaring skies, and the perennial ferryboat in his river scenes – his art is never repetitive or formulaic, rather it gives the impression of being plausibly real and immediate. But as naturalistic as the clouds appear to the casual viewer in his skies and those of other Dutch landscapists, meteorologists confirm that they are an artful fiction; see John Walsh, ‘Skies and Reality in Dutch Landscape,’ in David Freedberg & Jan de Vries, Art in History – History in Art. Studies in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Culture, Santa Monica, 1991, pp.94-117.


Peter C Sutton



Naarden 1600/03 - 1670 Haarlem


Salomon Jacobsz van Ruysdael was born in Naarden in Gooiland. He was originally called Salomon de Gooyer (Goyer), but he and his brother Isaack (1599-1677), also an artist, adopted the name ‘Ruysdael’ from Castle Ruisdael (or Ruisschendael), near their father's home town. Salomon spelled his name Ruysdael (or occasionally Ruyesdael), as distinguished from his nephew Jacob, who used the name Ruisdael. Salomon entered the painters' guild in Haarlem in 1623 (as Salomon de Gooyer), was named vinder of the guild in 1647, dean the following year, and a vinder again in 1669. His earliest dated painting is of 1626, and as early as 1628 he was praised as a landscapist by the chronicler of Haarlem, Samuel van Ampzing. In a document of 1651 he was also called a merchant, and dealt in blue dye for Haarlem's bleacheries. His wife, Maycken Buysse, was buried in St Bavo Church in Haarlem on 15th December 1660. Like his father, Salomon was a Mennonite and was listed as such when he was living on the Kleyne Houtstraat in 1669. His religion forbad him to bear arms but he contributed to Haarlem's civic guard. Although he seems to have lived in Haarlem all his life, he undoubtedly travelled in the country; his paintings depict scenes in, among other places, Leiden, Utrecht, Amersfoort, Arnhem, Alkmaar, Rhenen, Dordrecht and Weesp. The artist was buried in St Bavo's Church on 3rd November 1670.


Although Salomon's teacher is unknown, his earliest works of c.1626-29 recall the art of Esaias van de Velde (1587-1630), who worked in Haarlem from 1609-1618. Salomon's early works also show many parallels with the landscapes of Jan van Goyen and Pieter de Molijn and it is likely that all three influenced one another. In addition to numerous landscapes, river views and seascapes of calm - never stormy - weather, Salomon also painted a few still lifes in his later years. Salomon was the father of Jacob Salomonsz. van Ruysdael (c.1629/30-1681), also a painter.


Peter C Sutton



Other Works By
Salomon van Ruysdael:

Salomon van Ruysdael - A wijdschip and other small Dutch vessels on the Haarlemmermeer, with Heemstede Castle in the distance


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