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Adam Willaerts (1577 - 1664)

Lot 42: Adam Willaerts , Antwerp 1577 - 1664 Utrecht A river estuary with a royal barge and other shipping, a ruined tower and numerous figures on the banks in the foreground oil on panel


May 5, 2009
Amsterdam, Netherlands

More About this Item


signed and dated lower left: A willarts.1620. oil on panel


measurements note 41.3 by 69.8 cm.


Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 23 January 1953, lot 109.


Born in Antwerp, Willaerts started his career as a marine painter, probably after he settled in Utrecht in 1602, where he stayed until his death in 1664. He is recorded in 1611 as one of the founders of the Utrecht St. Luke's Guild. Willaerts painted beach scenes, historical subjects, fleets off foreign shores, and marine genre paintings. The earliest of Willaerts' marines, often panoramic views with high horizonlines, are closely related in style to the early works of the pre-eminent marine painter of the time Hendrick Cornelisz. Vroom (1562/3-1640). This beautifully balanced composition is a fine and characteristic example of Willaerts' own more naturalistic style, which he had gradually developed by the early 1620s. His marine paintings dating to around this time are usually colourful beach or coastal scenes in horizontal formats with numerous figures in the foreground, and as is particularly evident in the present work, tend to have a strong narrative touch. In this two-pronged compositional structure, with a rocky Mediterranean coastline on the left, and a town facing on the right, the English royal barge entering the river-mouth forms the centre of a fictional narrative. This painting may be compared stylistically to a coastal landscape sold in these Rooms, 15 November 2005, lot 8, and to a Marine with a deer hunt in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg.υ1

1. See J. Giltaij and J. Kelch, Lof der Zeevaart. De Hollandse zeeschilders van de 17de eeuw, exhibition catalogue, Rotterdam/Berlin 1996, pp. 114-6, cat. no. 12, reproduced p. 115.

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Old Master paintings

May 5, 2009, 12:00 PM CET

Amsterdam, Netherlands

For Sale from Sotheby's