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Rare Willem van de Velde painting on show this summer


Rare Willem van de Velde painting on show this summer

At Masterpiece we will be presenting this very rare penschilderij (‘pen painting’) by the Dutch seventeenth-century artist, Willem Van de Velde the Elder (1611-1693). Last recorded in a sale in Germany ninety years ago, this re-discovered work is a fascinating addition to the known work of this famous master. Van de Velde and his son, Willem the Younger, are regarded as the most important marine artists in the history of art, and their paintings found their way into many of the great collections in Britain in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Van de Velde the Elder specialized in highly finished, precisely detailed compositions using the technique of ‘drawing’ with the brush on a white ground, this being either a canvas or wooden panel prepared with a fine layer of gesso (plaster) which would be delicately impressed with the lines of his drawing. His paintings are few in number compared to the thousands of drawings and sketches on paper which served him and his son as templates for their more elaborate oils.
Our example shows a large English ship-of-the-line, and is most unusual in dating from the very end of his life (c.1690), by which time he and his son had been established as court painters in London for nearly twenty years. The quality and accuracy of his work here reveal that Van de Velde the Elder’s talents remained undimmed by the years, his mastery of the subject as assured and competent as in his more familiar pen paintings of the 1650s and 1660s.
See us at Masterpiece 2014, Royal Hospital Chelsea, stand B17, 26th June - 2nd July.