Landscape with a Distant Town

Philips Koninck

Paisaje con ciudad lejana

Koninck, Philips

Amsterdam, 1619 - 1688

Landscape with a Distant Town, c. 1645-1646

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection

Oil on panel.

20,5 x 28,6 cm

CTB.1930.95

Artwork history

  • Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., Stratton Park, Micheldever, Hampshire (died in 1848).

  • Christie´s, lot 68, London, June 2nd-3rd, 1848. Estate sale following the death of Sir Thomas Baring; 3.5 guineas.

  • Cogan.

  • Francis Duroveray (died in 1849).

  • Samuel Woodburn, London.

  • Christie´s, lot 83, London, May 15th-19th and 23rd-25th, 1854. Estate sale following the death of Samuel Woodburn; 70 guineas.

  • C. J. Nieuwenhuys, London.

  • Thomas Baring, prior to 1856 (Second son of the Baronet).

  • Inherited by Thomas Baring’s nephew, also Thomas Baring, Stratton Park (died in 1904).

  • Bequeathed as part of a trust, together with the ”Stratton Painting Collection”, to Francis Baring (the second Earl of Northbrook), the son of Thomas Baring.

  • Duven Bros., London, Paris and New York, prior to 1928.

  • Paul Bottenwieser, Berlin, 1928.

  • Jacques Goudstikker, Amsterdam, 1928.

  • Baron Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, Amsterdam, 1928.

  • Thyssen Bornemisza Collection, Lugano, 1964.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on deposit at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid.

1837

Pictures by Italian, Spanish, Flemish, Dutch and French Masters, London, British Institution, nº 45, p. 9.

1843

The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds together with a Selection of Pictures by Ancient and Deceased English Masters, London, British Institution, nº 66, p. 10.

1889

Loan Exhibition, London, Grosvenor Gallery, nº 118, p. 29.

1897 - 1898

Rembrandt, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, nº 50.

1898

Rembrandt, Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, nº 50.

1899

Works by Rembrandt, London, Royal Academy of Arts, nº 33, p. 16.

1912

Pictures, Decorative Furniture and other Works of Art, London, Burlington Fine Arts Club, nº 12, p. 8.

1930

Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, Plastik und Gewerbe, Munich, Neue Pinakothek, nº 270, pp. 79-80.

1961

From Van Eyck to Tiepolo: An Exhibition of Pictures from the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, London, The National Gallery, nº 90, p. 46.

2006

Rembrandt? The Master and his Workshop, Copenhague, Statens Museum for Kunst, nº 44, pp. 256 y 295, illus. p. 257.

2006 - 2007

Rembrandt's Landscapes, Cassel, Staatliche Museen Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister; Leiden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, nº 13, p. 206, illus. 14 p. 29. [listed as "Attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn"].

  • -Waagen, George Friedrich: Galleries and cabinets of art in Great Britain: forming a supplemental volume to the Treasures of Art in Great Britainº London, J. Murray, 1857, p. 98.

  • -Bode, Wilhelm von: ”Die Ausstellung von Gemälde älterer Meister aus Berliner Privatbesitz’‘. In Jahrbuch der preussischen Kunstsammlung. 1883, vol. 4, nº 225, pp. 492, 588.

  • -Dutuit, E.: Tableaux et dessins de Rembrandt. Catalogue historique et descriptif. Paris, A. Lévy, 1885. [Supplement by Dutuit, E.: L’oeuvre complet de Rembrandt. Paris, A. Lévy, 1883-84], nº 445, pp. 47, 65, 67.

  • -Gower, Ronald Charles Sutherland, Lord: The Northbrook gallery, an illustrated, descriptive and historic account of the collection of the earl of Northbrook. London, S. Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington, 1885, p. 31.

  • -Wurzbach, A. von: Rembrandt-Galerie. Stuttgart, 1886, nº 229, p. 65.

  • -Bredius, Abraham: ”De ‘Old Masters’ in de Royal Academy’‘. In Nederlandsch Spectator. 1889, p. 133.

  • -Weale, W. H.: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Collection of Pictures belonging to the Earl of Northbrook, The Dutch, Flemish and French School. London, 1889, nº 86, p. 62.

  • -Michel, Émile: Rembrandt, sa vie, son oeuvre et son temps. Paris, 1893. [English edition by F. Simmonds (ed.). London, 1894], pp. 314, 558.

  • -Bode, Wilhelm von and Hofstede de Groot, C.: Rembrandt, beschreibendes Verzeichnis seiner Gemälde. Paris, 1897-1906. [ – English ed. by F. Simmonds. Paris, 1897-1906], vol. 4, nº 235, pp. 6, 62, photogravure illus. 235.

  • -Cook, H. F.: ”L’Exposition Rembrandt à London’‘. In Gazette des Beaux-Arts. 1899, vol. 21, pp. 256-257.

  • -Michel, Émile.: Les Maîtres du paysage. Paris, 1906, p. 280.

  • -Hofstede de Groot, C.: Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts: nach dem Muster von John Smith’s Catalogue raisonné. 1907-28, nº 947, p. 394, n, 966c, p. 402.

  • -Rosenberg, Adolf: Rembrandt. Des Meisters Gemälde in 643 Abbildungenº Valentiner, W. R. (ed.). 3rd ed. Stuttgart – Berlin, Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1909. Klassiker der Kunst in Gesamtausgaben; vol. 2, p. 236.

  • -Holmes, C. J.: Notes on the Art of Rembrandt. London, 1911, p. 135.

  • -Eisler, M.: Rembrandt als Landschafter. Munich, 1918, pp. 197-198, 199, illus. p. 201, fig. 120.

  • -Meldrum, D. S.: Rembrandt’s Paintings. London, 1923, nº 228, pp. 70, 194, illus. CCXXVIII.

  • -Van Dyke, J. C.: Rembrandt and his School. New York, C. Scribner’s sons, 1923, pp. 163-164.

  • -Grosse, R.: Die holländische Landschaft Kunst, 1600-1650. Leipzig – Berlin, 1925, p. 107.

  • -Weisbach, W.: Rembrandt. Berlin – Leipzig, 1926, p. 406.

  • -Holmes, C. J.: ”The landscape work of Hercules Seghers’‘. In The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. London, 1928, vol. 52, p. 216.

  • -”Notable works of art now on the market’‘. In The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs. [Advertising supplement]. London, 1928, vol. 53, illus. 17.

  • -Hanfstaengl, E.: ”Castle Rohoncz Collection shown in Munich’‘. In Art News. August 16th, 1930, vol. 28, p. 16, illus. p. 17.

  • -Hind, A. M.: Rembrandt. Cambridge (MA), 1932, p. 112.

  • -Velhagen und Klasings Monatshefte. Berlin, 1933, nº 47, p. 2, illus. [ – Record by Rudiger].

  • -Benesch, Otto: Rembrandt, Werk und Forschung. Viena, 1935, pp. 26-27.

  • -Bredius, Abraham: Rembrandt Gemälde. Viena, 1936. [ – English ed.: London, 1937], nº 447, p. 18, fig. 447.

  • -Gerson, Horst: Philips Koninck. Ein Beitrag zur Erforschung der Holländischen Malerei des XVII. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1936, p. 20.

  • -Heinemann, Rudolf J.: Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. Lugano-Castagnola, 1937, vol. 1, nº 346, pp. 126-127, illus. vol. 2, illus. 126.

  • -Hanfstaengl, E.: Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijnº Munich, 1947, p. 44, illus.

  • -Gelder, H. E. van: Rembrandt en het landschap. Amsterdam, H. J. W. Becht, 1948. Palet Serie, p. 42, illus. p. 34.

  • -Hamann, R.: Rembrandt. Berlin, 1948, p. 298.

  • -Heinemann, Rudolf J.: Aus dem Besitz der Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. Feulner, Adolf. Castagnola – Lugano, 1949, nº 205, p. 62.

  • -Gerson, Horst: ”Dutch Landscapes’‘. In The Burlington Magazine. 1953, vol. 95, nº 12, p. 48.

  • -Godfrey, F. M.: ”The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. II. The German, Flemish and Dutch Schools”. In Apollo. London, 1954, vol. 59, p. 38, fig. VII.

  • -Gerson, Horst: ”Rembrandt in Poland”. In The Burlington Magazine. 1956, vol. 98, p. 280

  • -Beaufort, H. L. T. de: Rembrandt. Nuremberg, 1958, p. 87.

  • -Heinemann, Rudolf J.: Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz. Castagnola-Lugano, Stiftung Sammlung Schloss Rohoncz, 1958, nº 346, pp. 87-88.

  • -Nicolson, Benedict: ”The National Gallery and the Thyssen Collection’‘. In The Burlington Magazine. 1961, vol. 103, editorial, pp. 123-124.

  • -Gerson, Horst: ”Bredius 447’‘. In Festschrift Dr. H. C. Eduard Trautscholdt. Hamburg, 1965, pp. 109-111, fig. 58.

  • -Bauch, Kurt: Rembrandt Gemälde. Berlin, W. de Gruyter, 1966, p. 49.

  • -Stechow, Wolfgang: Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century. London, Phaidon, 1966, p. 44, note 39.

  • -Thiel, P. J. J. van: ”Philips Konincks Vergezicht met hutten aan de weg’‘. In Bulletin van het Rijksmuseum. 1967, vol. 15, p. 111.

  • -Bredius, Abraham: Rembrandt: The Complete Edition of the Paintings. H. Gerson (rev.). London – New York, Phaidon, 1969, p. 590, illus. p. 355.

  • -Heinemann, Rudolf J. (ed.): The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Ebbinge-Wubben, Johann; Salm, Christian and Sterling, Charles. Lugano-Castagnola, Villa Favorita, 1969 [German edition 1971], vol. 1, nº 260, pp. 281-283, illus. vol. 2, illus. 142 [ Sheet by Ebbinge- Wubben].

  • -Lecaldano, Paolo: L’opera pittorica completa di Rembrandt. Arpino, G. Milan, Rizzoli, 1969. Classici dell’arte; vol. 33, p. 130, illus.

  • -Gage, J.: Turner: Rain, Steam and Speed. London, 1972, pp. 59, 61, fig. 39.

  • -Gerson, Horst: ”Rembrandt’s workshop and assistants”. In Rembrandt after 300 Years: A Symposium. Rembrandt and his Followers. Art Institute of Chicago, 22-4 October, 1969. Chicago (IL), 1973, p. 26.

  • -Bolten, J. and Bolten-Rempt, H.: The Hidden Rembrandt. Oxford, 1978, nº 277, p. 187.

  • -Borghero, Gertrude: Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection: catalogue of the exhibited works of art. Lugano-Castagnola, Villa Favorita, 1981, nº 260, p. 264, illus.

  • -Walsh, John and Schneider, Cynthia P. (lit. eds.): A mirror of nature: Dutch paintings from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Edward William Carter. [Exhib. cat. Los Angeles (CA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art – New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1981-1982]. Los Angeles (CA), 1981, p. 69, fig. 3.

  • -Sumowski, Werner: Gemälde der Rembrandt-Schüler in vier Bänden. Landau-Pfalz, Edition PVA, 1983, vol. 3, nº 1,041, pp. 1,532, 1,544, illus. p. 1,591.

  • -Schwartz, Barth David: ”The Baron’s Americans’‘. In Connoisseur. London, The National Magazine, January, 1984, nº 214, p. 65, illus.

  • -Borghero, Gertrude: Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, catalogue raisonné of the exhibited works of art. Lugano, The Collection – Milan, Electa International, 1986, nº 260, p. 264, illus.

  • -Watteville, Caroline de: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. Guide to the Exhibited Works. Lugano – Milan, Electa, 1989, p. 272, illus.

  • -Gaskell, Ivan: Seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish Painting: The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection. London, Sotheby’s, 1990, nº 84, pp. 366-369, illus.

  • -Schneider, C. P.: Rembrandt’s Landscapes. New Haven – London, 1990, pp. 161-163, 213-215 (nº R7), 218, illus. p. 162, fig. 127.

  • -Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza. Arnaldo, Javier (ed.). 2 vols. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2004, vol. 1, p. 98, illus. p. 99 [Sheet by Ivan Gaskell].

    ]

  • -Rembrandt? The Master and his Workshop. Bøgh Rønberg, Lene and De la Fuente Pedersen, Eva (eds.). [Exhib. cat.]. Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst, 2006, pp. 256 and 295, illus. p. 257 [Sheet Eva de la Fuente Pedersen].

  • -Schneider, Cynthia P.: “Rembrandt’s landscapes: the exception that proves the rule”. In Cassel/Leiden 2006-2007, pp. 13-35, cit. p. 28, illus. 14 p. 29 [listed as “Attributed to Rembrandt van Rijn”].

  • -Rembrandt’s Landscapes. Vogelaar, Christiaan and Weber, Gregor J.M. (eds.). [Exhib. cat. Cassel, Staatliche Museen Kassel, Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister; Leyden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, 2006-2007]. Zwolle, Waanders Publishers, 2006.

Expert report

For much of its known history this small panel was attributed unquestioningly to Rembrandt van Rijn. Rembrandt’s activity as a landscape painter appears to have been confined largely to a period during the later 1630s and is limited to a small and, thanks to re-attribution, ever declining number of works. As early as 1854 Kolloff warned against the tendency to attribute landscapes erroneously to Rembrandt. The present work has been read repeatedly in terms of the “pathetic fallacy” by which such landscapes were interpreted as symptomatic of a melancholic poetic vision associated with Rembrandt. A combination of emotional stereotyping, surface dirt, discoloration and damage, commercial interest and deference to both owners and earlier authors inhibited disinterested examination of the panel.

The support is of unusually poor quality when compared with those used by Dutch painters of good repute. It was not cut square to the grain and has warped on the right. As early as 1893 Michel noted the pictorial discordances of the picture, characterizing it as an accumulation of rather disparate details. Even allowing for deterioration of glazes and losses owing to over-cleaning, and while bearing in mind the subjective nature of qualitative judgements, the painting can nonetheless be said to exhibit many shortcomings of spatial organization and draughtsmanship. This was stated unequivocally by Van Dyke who was the first scholar publically to deny Rembrandt’s authorship of the panel, assigning it to an unidentified pupil. The name of Philips Koninck was first mentioned in connection with this panel by Cook in 1899, an observation elaborated by Gerson in 1936 who noted affinities between the present panel (amongst others attributed to Rembrandt), the panoramic landscape experiments of Jan van Goyen in the 1640s and Koninck’s early works. Gerson attributed the present work to Koninck first in 1953, repeating his opinion in 1956 and finally devoting a paper to it in 1965, since when his view has not been seriously questioned.

Koninck, trained by his brother Jacob in Rotterdam, was probably never actually a pupil of Rembrandt, though he most likely studied Rembrandt’s landscapes after his return to Amsterdam in or shortly after 1640. Nothing certain is known of his painting career until 1647, the date on a signed panel in London with which the present work can be compared. Other early works suggest that, like Rembrandt, he studied the art of Hercules Segers and the division of the receding landscape into alternating light and dark bands in the present panel may have been derived directly from Segers’s example. Gerson’s proposed date of about 1645 has been accepted by recent commentators, so the present work has been placed as the earliest of a group of comparable landscapes.

Ivan Gaskell