Entrance to the Port of Volendam

Théo van Rysselberghe

Entrada de puerto en Volendam

Rysselberghe, Théo van

Gante, 1862 - Saint-Clair, 1926

Entrance to the Port of Volendam, ca. 1896

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed lower right: Monogram
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid.

Oil on canvas

38 x 55,5 cm

CTB.1998.44

Artwork history

  • Dr. Jean Sutter, París

  • Altschul, New York, 1973

  • Sotheby’s Auctions, New York,  Lot 279,  November 17-18, 1998

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

1896

La Libre Esthétique, Bruselas, n. 474

1899

Sezession, Viena, n. 32

1962

Théo van Rysselberghe, Gante, Musée des Beaux-Arts, n. 68

1965

Autour de 1900: l'art belge, Londres, Arts Council

1993

Théo van Rysselberghe néo-impressionniste, Gante, Musée des Beaux-Arts, 50, pp. 99, 112 (lám.)

2000 - 2001

La Révolte de la couleur. De l'impressionnisme aux Avant-gardes. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la Collection Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bruselas, Musée d'Ixelles, n. 10, p. 42

2002

Il trionfo del colore. Collezione Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Kandinsky, Roma, Palazzo Ruspoli, p. 126

2006

Théo van Rysselberghe, Bruselas, Paleis voor Schone Kunsten; La Haya, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, p. 258, lám. p. 253

2007

Neoimpresionismo. La eclosión de la modernidad, Madrid, Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida, n. 39, pp. 202 y 343, lám. p. 203

2011 - 2012

Henri-Edmond Cross et le néo-impressionisme. De Seurat à Matisse, París, Musée Marmottan Monet; Le Cateau-Cambrésis, Musée départemental Matisse, n. 39, p. 81, lám. [sólo París]

2012

Théo van Rysselberghe. L'instant sublimé, Lodève, Musée de Lodève, n. 13, p. 82, lám. p. 83

2014

L'ideal en el paisatge. De Meifrèn a Matisse i Gontxarova. Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, fundació Privada Centre d'Art Col·lecció Catalana de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, p. 94, lám. p. 95

  • -Sutter, J.: Les néo-impressionnistes. París, Biblithèque des Arts-Neuchâtel, éd. Ides et Calendes, 1970, p. 208, lám.

  • -Théo van Rysselberghe Neo-Impressionniste. Hoozee, Robert y Lauwaert, Helke [et al.]. [Exhib. Cat.] Ghent, Musée des Beaux-Arts; Amberes, Petraco-Pandora s.a., 1993, n. 50, cit. p. 99, lám. p. 112.

  • -Feltkamp, Ronald: Théo van Rysselberghe (1862-1926). Brussels, Éditions Racine-París, Les Éditions de l’Amateur, 2003, n. 1896-027, p. 312 (fig), lám. p. 75.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 2, p. 176, lám. p. 177 [Sheet by Guillermo Solana]

  • -Neoimpresionismo. La eclosión de la modernidad. Lemoine, Serge [et al.]. [Exhib. Cat.]. Madrid, Fundación MAPFRE, 2007, p. 202, lám. p. 203 [Sheet by Dominique Lobstein]

  • -Théo van Rysselberghe. L’istant sublimé. Papin-Drastik, Ivonne [et al.]. [Exhib. Cat.]. Lodève, Musée de Lodève, 2012 , n. 13, p. 82, lám. p. 83 [Sheet by Ivonne Papin-Drastik]

  • -L’ideal en el paisatge. De Meifrèn a Matisse i Gontxarova. Col·lecció Carmen Thyssen, Sant Feliu de Guíxols, Fundació Privada Centre d’Art Col·lecció Catalana de Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 2014,  p. 94, lám. p. 95 (Exhib. Cat.).

Expert report

The Belgian artist Rysselberghe was an enthusiastic promoter of modern art in his own country and in 1883 he founded, together with the writer Octave Maus, the avantgarde group Les Vingt. Many of the great names of post-Impressionism took part in their annual exhibitions. As a painter, his most decisive experience was a trip to Paris in 1886 in the company of his friend the poet Émile Verhaeren, which enabled him to admire Seurat’s Grande Jatte. He befriended Signac and in 1889 he adopted the divisionist technique, which he exercised until the end of the first decade of the 20th century. Rysselberghe was particularly renowned for his portraits, in which he combined a neo-Impressionist execution with the naturalist conventions of this genre, with clear references to Manet, Degas and Whistler. His compositions of figures, in indoor or open-air scenes, constituted an eclectic and refined model for the diffusion of Pointillism in Europe at the end of the 19th century.

But the section of Rysselberghe’s oeuvre of interest to us today is primarily composed of his landscapes, like this delicate view of a small Dutch port. Volendam is an old fishing village, 18 km northwest of Amsterdam, with small wooden houses, all different from each other (today it is a highly profitable mass attraction). However, Rysselberghe avoids the anecdotal or picturesque details (the village itself does not appear in the image) in order to construct, with a few essential lines, a synthetic and almost abstract composition. The choice of the subject and its interpretation is typical of neo-Impressionism: Seurat, Signac and Cross chose French harbours as the subject of their best landscapes. By excluding the hustle and bustle of Impressionist open-air scenes, Seurat’s ports seemed still, deserted, surrounded by a disturbing silence which foreshadowed metaphysical painting. Some of Seurat’s rigour, although somewhat mellowed, can be felt in the structure of Rysselberghe’s painting: a web of horizontal and vertical lines in which the dynamic curves of the foreground are inscribed. The device of using the sailing boats to mark the perspective, which imposes on the painting an almost musical rhythm, also appeared in Signac’s seascapes (and certainly, many years before that, in Caspar David Friedrich). But, in contrast with Signac, who in that period emphasised the intensity of his blues, reds, greens and yellows, Rysselberghe was a poet of “shades” rather than colour, as Verlaine advocated in a famous poem. The painter used a limited range of colours, with subtle variations of pink, blue, green and mauve, thus creating a dialogue between the filtered light of the sky, the sea and the land, and wrapping the whole in a delicately melancholic atmosphere.

Guillermo Solana