Wooded hillside with a view of Bentheim Castle
Jacob Isaacksz van Ruisdael
1628 or 1629 - buried 14 March 1682
It is hard to escape the melancholy which imbues this painting. Indeed, a significant part of the appeal of van Ruisdael to his many English and Continental collectors was just this sense of sad foreboding, of abandonment and uneasy calm. Such works were a source of inspiration, and affirmation, to a later generation of romantic painters. Constable was particularly taken with van Ruisdael's work, as were the artists of the Barbizon School. He was not simply the leading Dutch landscapist of the seventeenth century, but the most forward-looking, one might say modern, of all northern artists of his day. Van Ruisdael invested his compositions with something more than a spirit of place: it is possible to read his paintings as equivalents of mental states. 'Wooded hillside with a view of Bentheim Castle', a site he was drawn to paint on twelve occasions, is gloomy in the extreme. Yet through the shadowy foreground and steep, uninviting track, the castle itself, backlit by a burst of splendid clouds, rises like an apparition of hope.
AGNSW Handbook, 1999.
A castle on a hill
oil on canvas
60.2 x 73.9 cm stretcher; 78.5 x 91.9 x 5.5 cm frame
Signature & date
Signed l.c., oil "JvR" [artist's monogram]. Not dated.
Gift of James Fairfax AC 1991
Shown in 7 exhibitions
Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst aus dem Privatbesitz von Mitgliedern des Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Verein, Königlichen Akademie der Künste, 1914–1914
Dutch paintings from East Anglia, Norwich Castle Museum, 1966–1966
The collection made by C.G. Hoare, M.C. and family, Fermoy Art Gallery, King's Lynn, 25 Jul 1970–08 Aug 1970
The James Fairfax collection of old masters, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Apr 1992–14 Jun 1992
Great gifts, great patrons, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Aug 1994–19 Oct 1994
The golden age of Dutch art: seventeenth century paintings from the Rijksmuseum and Australian collections:
The James Fairfax collection of old master paintings, drawings and prints, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 17 Apr 2003–20 Jul 2003
François Nieuwenhuys, pre 28 Apr 1881, Paris/France, his (anon.) sale, Hotel Drouot, 28 April 1881, lot no. 20, purchased Bourgeois, 11,000 francs
Bourgeois, post 28 Apr 1881, Purchased at Hotel Drouot, 28 April 1881, lot no. 20, 11,000 francs
Hôtel Drouot, 27 Jan 1882, Paris/France
Étienne-Edmond Martin, 2nd Baron de Beurnonville, pre 21 May 1883, France, Beurnonville's sale, Hotel Drouot, 27 January 1882, lot no. 60 (Paysage) said to be bought by Lenoir (6,000 francs) but presumably bought in. Sold Hotel Drouot, 21-22 May 1883, lot no. 88 'Le Chateau sur la colline' (6,100 francs)
Carl von Hollitscher, circa 1912, Berlin/Germany, by 1912, see 'Die Gemalde-sammlung des Herrn Carl von Hollitscher in Berlin' by Wilhelm Bode, Max J. Friedlander, 1912
Camillo Castiglioni, pre 17 Nov 1925, Vienna/Austria, his sale, Amsterdam, 17-20 November 1925. Sold 17 November, lot no. 75 'Coteau boisé avec château fort' purchased Agnew's, 17,500 fl.
Agnew's, London, 17 Nov 1925-05 Mar 1926, London/England, Purchased by C.G. Hoare, 5 March 1926. Agnew's stock no. 6005
C.G. Hoare, 05 Mar 1926-1978, England, Hoare family collection until 1978
Agnew's, London, 1978-1979, London/England, Sold to James Fairfax 1979. Agnew's stock no. 41601
James Oswald Fairfax AC, 1979-28 Oct 1991, Bowral/New South Wales/Australia, Gift of James Fairfax 1991. Purchased by James Fairfax from Agnew's 1979.