Aert van der Neer (Gorinchem 1604–1677 Amsterdam) Skaters and ‘kolf’ players on a frozen waterway Oil on panel 33.6 x 49 cm Signed lower right with monogram ‘AV DN’ With certificate, dd. Berlin 13 April 2013, by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulz, after first hand inspection of the original. The present painting is recorded at the RKD, The Hague, under n° 6401 Provenance: collection Arnoud van den Lennep; sale of the deceased's collection, Amsterdam, 24 July 1792, as lot 67 (30 fl. To Van der Schley); collection of Henry, 3rd Marquess of Lansdowne (1780-1863), Bowood House, and by descent to: collection of Henry, 6th Marquess of Lansdowne (1872-1936), to: Collection Lady Nairne, London; with Agnew’s, London, by 1991; Anonymous sale, Christie's, London, 8 December 1995, as lot n° 21 ‘Collection of a Noblewoman’ (£ 200.000-300.000, withdrawn); with Johnny van Haeften Ltd., London, who then exhibited it at TEFAF, Maastricht 2013 (ref. VP4609), where it was acquired by: Private collection, The Netherlands Literature: Ambrose, G.E. (1897). Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures Belonging to the Marques of Lansdowne, K.G., at Lansdowne House, London and Bowood, Wiltshire. London, pp.70-71, n° 107; Hofstede de Groot, C. (1923). A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch painters of the seventeenth century. London, vol VII, p. 411, n° 489 and p. 454, n° 547 (‘Bright and masterly in style’); Schulz, W. (2002). Aert van der Neer. Doornspijk: Davaco, p. 188, n° 223 (as whereabouts unknown); Seifert, Ch. T. (2012). 'On Slippery Ground. Kolf in the Art of the Dutch Golden Age.' In: The Art of Golf. Atlanta: The High Museum of Art, pp. 23-24, ill. 3 Exhibitions: On loan to the National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1996-2012; ‘The Art of Golf’, The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia (February-June 2012); The Oklahoma City Museum of Arts (July-October 2012); Museum of Fine Arts, St Petersburg; Florida (November 2012-February 2013)
Aert van der Neer is one of the important Northern Dutch landscape painters of the Golden Age. Van der Neer became best known for his nocturnal landscapes and his ice views, of which this painting is a very fine and important example. Paintings by Van der Neer hang in almost every famous museum in the world. The present Winter Landscape has a history of provenance back to the 18th century (collection of Arnoud van den Lennep), when winter landscapes by Van der Neer were highly sought after. Thereafter, the work was owned by the Marquises of Lansdowne for several generations. In his catalogue raisonné on leading Masters of the Golden Age (published in 1923), renowned art historian Cornelis Hofstede de Groot praised this landscape as "bright and masterly in style". Between 1996 and 2012, this undoubtedly museum-quality work was on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland in Edinburgh. Also special is the 'kolf' theme: a sport that was very popular in the Low Countries from the Middle Ages to the Golden Age. It is a game that was mostly played on ice with a ball made of wood or leather and a bat called 'kolf' (or 'colf'). Kolf is widely regarded as the forerunner of today's golf. Like Hendrick Avercamp, Van der Neer became famous for his rare and sought-after winter landscapes featuring golfers. Consequently, the present painting has recently been part of an exhibition on the history of golf and has been exhibited in several leading international museums (see the exhibition and publication history).