Seventeenth-century Dutch Marine landscape with fishing boats in a rough sea.

Fishing Vessels Offshore in a Heavy Sea, 1684

Oil on canvasexpand_more

Gift of John Hawley, by exchangeexpand_more  82.84

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A fishing boat caught in a storm thrashes about the waves, its mainsail torn. Another boat, in the far right of the picture, is on its way to help. Meanwhile, a merchant ship in the distance heads out to battle the storm. As one of the great marine painters of the 1600s, Ludolph Backhuysen painted many dramatic scenes like this. A Dutch artist, he would naturally have been drawn to the sea as a subject, the oceans being the main source of food, trade, and military victories for the Dutch, enabling their prosperity. Though, as this painting shows, the sea was sometimes more foe than friend.

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Backhuysen, Fishing Vessel Offshore in Heavy Sea (#693)
Details
Title
Fishing Vessels Offshore in a Heavy Sea
Artist Life
1631–1708
Role
Artist
Accession Number
82.84
Provenance
Collection [Mrs.] Barnard; (Mrs. Barnard sale through Christie's, London, England, June 12, 1925, lot 32);[1] Collings, by 1925. (Sale, private collection through Galerie Commeter, Hamburg, Germany, April 27, 1940, lot 3, repr.).[2] (Christie's, London, July 10, 1981, lot 17, repr.).[3] (Richard Green, London and Douwes Fine Art, London);[4] sold to MIA in 1982. [1] Lugt, 88769. Photocopy of annotated auction catalogue in curatorial file. Bought by Collings. [2] Photocopy of auction catalogue in curatorial file. [3] Photocopy of auction catalogue in curatorial file. The work was listed as "The Property of a Gentleman". [4] See letter of reservation from Douwes dated April 1, 1982. Douwes owned the painting jointly with Richard Green (see letter in curatorial file dated January 14, 1988); sale invoice in curatorial file dated November 30, 1982 from Douwes Fine Art.
Curator Approved

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Seventeenth-century Dutch Marine landscape with fishing boats in a rough sea.