Dulwich Picture Gallery I



Haarlem, c. 1605; active in Haarlem, c. 1635–55
Dutch landscape painter

Nothing is known of the life of J. van Moscher, but a small group of signed works survived.1 These reveal a consistent style, reflecting the influence of the Haarlem painters Pieter de Molijn (1595–1661) and Salomon van Ruysdael (c. 1600/1603–70), but with a very individual way of painting trees and shrubbery. Jacob van Mosscher is not to be confused with the Haarlem painter Jacob van Musscher I (c. 1580–1623), who was a student of Karel van Mander I (1548–1606).2 The figures in his landscapes are often attributed to Adriaen van Ostade (1610–85) or his brother Isaac (1621–49).

Van Regteren Altena 1926; Van Regteren Altena 1931; Bernt 1948, ii, figs 561–2; Beck 1991, pp. 318–32; Saur 1999–2000, vii, p. 164; Gerhardt 2007, p. 111;3 Ecartico, no. 5492: http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/5492 (I. van Moscher; Jan 28, 2021); RKDartists&, no. 57928: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/57928 (Jan. 28, 2021).

DPG16 –A Road near Cottages

?;4 Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 15, no. 126 (‘Middle Room 2nd Floor’ / no. 4, Landscape. - Cottage & figures - P[anel] A: Ostade’; 2'8" x 2'9"). It was the companion in this room to no. 6, ‘I. Ostade’ = DPG64, now Govert Camphuysen.)

Cat. 1817, p. 6, no. 77 (‘FIRST ROOM – East Side; A Landscape and Figures; Solomon [sic] Ruysdael’); Haydon 1817, p. 376, no. 78 (Adrian Ostade);5 Cat. 1820, p. 6, no. 77 (Solomon [sic] Ruysdael); Cat. 1830, no. 178 (I. Ostade); Jameson 1842, ii, p. 471, no. 178 (Isaac van Ostade); Denning 1858, no. 178 (I. Ostade; ‘genuine’);6 Denning 1859, no. 178 (‘A genuine picture though not numbered in Smith’); Sparkes 1876, p. 115, no. 178 (I. Ostade); Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 147, no. 178 (School of S. Ruijsdael and facsimile of signature as P van .. olo;7 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, pp. 4–5, no. 16; Cook 1914, p. 11, no. 16 (School of S. Ruysdael); Cook 1926, p. 11, no. 16 (School of S. Ruysdael); Van Regteren Altena 1931 (first attribution to Moscher); Cat. 1953, p. 36; Murray 1980a, p. 84 (Jakob van Moscher); Murray 1980b, p. 19; Beck 1991, pp. 318, 324–5, no. 905 A22; Beresford 1998, pp. 160–61; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 135 (Jakob van Mosscher); RKD, no. 285973: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/285973 (August 28, 2017).

London 1986, p. 209, no. 99 (C. Brown).

Two member oak panel with horizontal grain. The landscape has been painted ‘wet-in-wet’ with brushy low impasto. The right side of the panel join is slightly stepped. There are some tiny repaired partial splits in the lower corners. The back edges are bevelled and the remains of a red seal can be seen on the back. The figures, and the tops of the paint texture in the large tree, are slightly abraded. There is a retouched scrape in the middle distance below the tree. Previous recorded treatment: 1953, cleaned and restored, Dr Hell; 2002, cleaned, splits in panel repaired, losses filled and retouched, revarnished, N. Ryder.

1) Jacob van Mo(s)scher, The Country Lane, signed, panel, 53 x 85 cm. Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich, 532 [1].8
2) Jacob van Mo(s)scher, Landscape with Hunters on a Path in the Woods, signed j van moscher, panel, 52.2 x 63 cm. Národní Galerie, Prague, O 9118.9
3) Jacob van Mo(s)scher, Dune Landscape with Village behind Oak Trees, signed j v …scher, panel, 52.4 x 82.3 cm. Národní Galerie, Prague, D0 4843.10
4) Jacob van Mo(s)scher, Landscape in the Dunes, panel, 35.5 x 51 cm. Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead, TWCMS:B3235 [2].11

A Road near Cottages shows a flat Dutch landscape. The composition is dominated by the magnificent tree silhouetted against a huge white cloud that occupies most of the sky. The attribution has long been disputed. In the 1813 inventory of Bourgeois’ collection it was given to A. Ostade (and had as its pair a painting that was then attributed to ‘I. Ostade’, which since 1880 has been attributed to Govert Camphuysen, DPG64). In 1880 Richter and Sparkes attributed A Road near Cottages to the school of Salomon van Ruysdael. They also reproduced the signature (P van .. olo), but made no suggestion as to the name. It was first attributed to Van Mo(s)scher by Van Regteren Altena in 1931, and this has been universally accepted. The signature seems clearly to be ‘J van …o…’, but the olo as published in 1880 could well have been ofc, since Moscher did use the long s. Furthermore, the painting is stylistically similar to other signed works by Van Moscher, such as landscapes in Munich and Prague (Related works, nos 1–3) [1], and an unsigned picture in Gateshead (Related works, no. 4) [2]. In particular, the treatment of the branches silhouetted against the sky and the twigs is the same in all these works. The Munich art historian Walther Bernt in a letter in 1936 proposed to attribute A Road near Cottages to Jacob van Mos(s)cher, as did the Amsterdam collector F. C. Butôt in 1960. Both included a photograph of a signed Jacob van Moscher for comparison.12

To date it has not proved possible to establish the provenance of the picture before it appeared in Bourgeois’ collection in 1811. A clue may be the wax seal on the reverse of the panel, of crossed batons with what appears to be a fleur-de-lys and some letters.13 It will be not be possible to prove, as Murray suggested in 1980, that the picture was twice placed on sale by Desenfans in 1786.14

J. van Moscher
Road near cottages, c. 1635-1655
panel, oil paint 50,2 x 65,3 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG16

J. van Moscher
Country lane, 1635-1655
panel (oak), oil paint 52,5 x 83,6 cm
Munich, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, inv./cat.nr. 2797

J. van Moscher
Landscape in the Dunes with a Distant View, 1640-1665
panel (oak), oil paint 35,5 x 51 cm
Gateshead (England), The Shipley Art Gallery, inv./cat.nr. TWCMS:B3235


1 Many in Beck 1991, pp. 318–32; also e.g. Bernt 1948, ii, figs 561–2, and Bernt 1970, ii, p. 82, figs 805–6.

2 Van Thiel-Stroman 2006, p. 232, note 53 (under Karel van Mander).

3 According to Gerhardt, who calls the artist ‘Jacob van Musscher (II)’, there is no certainty that he is related to Jacob van Musscher (I).

4 Prov. Belg. according to Murray, see note 14 below.

5 The two pictures by Van Mos(s)cher that are mentioned in the GPID before 1817 (29 Aug. 2017) are according to the descriptions and dimensions different pictures: see Pierre-Louis Éveillard de Livois sale, Angers (expert Sentout), 23 July 1791 (Lugt 4828), lot 110, and J. F. Beschey sale, Antwerp (Bock), 21 Aug. 1787 (Lugt 4204), lot 73. Murray suggests that DPG16 was in Desenfans’ private sale, 8 April ff. 1786 (Lugt 4022), lot 7 (‘S. Ruysdael – A landscape and figures, on panel, 1'10" h x 2'1"’ (includes the frame), sold or bt in, £3, and in Desenfans’ private sale, 8 June ff. 1786 (Lugt 4059A), lot 31 (description as in the April sale).

6 ‘Adrian Ostade. Landscape with Figures.’

7 ‘Is this from the Calonne Collection Cf: Buchanan vol: I p: 250?’

8 ‘Formerly ascribed to Isack van Ostade. The name of the painter indicated by the fragmentary signature cannot be wholly traced; but to judge from the style of the picture one may conclude that its author must have been a close follower of Salomon van Ruijsdael. The figures are very much in the style of Adrian van Ostade.’

9 Beck 1991, p. 331, no. 914 A31; Bernt 1948, ii, fig. 561.

10 10 Ševčík, Bartilla & Seifertová 2012, p. 297 (S. Bartilla); Beck 1991, p. 325, no. 907 A24.

11 Ševčík, Bartilla & Seifertová 2012, pp. 297–8 (S. Bartilla); Beck 1991, p. 331, no. 912 A29.

12 https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/landscape-in-the-dunes-35609 (July 8, 2020); see also https://www.vads.ac.uk/digital/collection/NIRP/id/32224/rec/1 (Jan. 16, 2021), entry by E. van der Beugel; Beck 1991, p. 321, no. 888 A5.

13 Letter from Walther Bernt to Miss E. Robinson, 16 Dec. 1936 (painting in a private collection in Munich); letter from F. C. Butôt to DPG, 7 April 1960 (painting in his possession). Both letters in the DPG16 file.

14 Peter Murray’s notes (DPG16 file) record this as ‘crossed batons w. fleur-de-lys (?) & prob. PROV BELC’.

15 See above, note 5.

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