Travels with Jan van Goyen
Another feature in this autumn’s agenda is the work of Jan Steen’s father-in-law, Jan van Goyen (1596-1656). Van Goyen was born four hundred years ago in Leiden. To mark the anniversary, Leiden’s Lakenhal museum is focusing on his importance as an innovator in landscape art with an exhibition of over fifty paintings and thirty sketches, on view until 13 January 1997. Van Goyen was one of the first to turn the flat Dutch countryside with its rising dunes and broad rivers and its characteristic weather conditions into attractive, poetic images.
Art historian Edwin Buijsen, who researches for Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder, contributed to the accompanying catalogue. In Buijsen’s view, Jan van Goyen’s strength lies in his ability, more than any other artist, to portray the surrounding landscape with a few simple strokes of the brush. The drawings in his sketchbooks, made as he wandered in the countryside, are so vivid, it almost feels as if one were his travelling companion. In his so-called Dresden sketchbook Van Goyen left a detailed record of a boat trip from Brussels to the waterways of Zeeland. Leafing through the book, it’s as if one were on board with Van Goyen as the Antwerp coast approaches.
Also on view in this exhibition are four familiar works on loan from Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder. One was shown in 1993 at Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder in the exhibition The Story of the Sketchbook of Jan van Goyen. Accompanying this exhibition was a facsimile edition of the sketchbook, the only one still intact. Printed on drawing paper, it is surely the most exquisite publication on Jan van Goyen to date. All proceeds of the book are for the Bredius Museum. A limited number of copies are still available.
In October four paintings from the collection of Hoogsteder & Hoogsteder were lent to the Municipal Museum De Lakenhal in Leiden. The works are on show in the Jan van Goyen retrospective.