Aert van der Neer, Frozen River with buildings on both banks

Frozen River with buildings on both banks.

This winter landscape is a fine example from van der Neer's maturity, datable to circa 1660.1 After 1646, none of van der Neer's winter landscapes are dated; therefore establishing a firm chronology of them within the artist's oeuvre has been based largely on stylistic elements.2 The costumes of figures, as well as the positioning of trees in the various compositions have both been used as tools to roughly date these winter scenes. Later works, such as the present example, often depict trees set to the side, mostly along the edges of the farm dwellings, thus framing the picture, whereas in earlier works trees are placed more centrally among the composition.3

By around 1660 winter landscapes dominated van der Neer's output, and the pictures from this time are both particularly strong in quality, and consistent in composition. The present work contains all of the hallmarks recognizable in the artist's best mature paintings: a receding stretch of ice flanked on both sides by homes and trees, a reduced amount of figures on the ice, all carefully placed and rendered, and perhaps most importantly, a soft light. By setting these scenes in the late afternoon, van der Neer is able to utilize a richly colored glow from the setting sun such as warm pinks and greens. Similar in handling and overall composition, this picture may be compared to Wide Frozen River Landscape in the Evening Near a Town, from around the same moment, and now in the National Gallery, London (inv. no. 969).

1. When last sold in 2000 (see provenance), Wolfgang Schulz dated the picture to circa 1660.

2. see Schulz 2002, op. cit., p. 82

3. Ibid.

Oil on panel, 34 x 40,5 cm / 13 3/8" x 15 7/8". Signed with monogram, lower right: AV...

Private property


• Thomas Henry Allen Poynder, Hartham Park, Corsham Wiltshire;

• Thence by descent, to Sir John Poynder Dickson-Poynder (1866-1936), 6th Baronet and Baron Islington;

• Thence by descent to, Joan Alice Katherine Dickson-Poynder (1923-1987), later Lady Aldrincham, Tormarton Court, Badmington, Gloucestershire;

• With Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna by 1985;

• From whom purchased by a private collector, New York;

• By whom anonymously sold ("Property of a Private Collector, New York"), New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 2000, lot 46;

• There purchased by the present collector


• Sotheby's (New York City) 2000-01-28, afb. colour reproduction, lotnr. 46, met opgave van herkomst

• Sotheby's (New York City) 2011-01-26, Collection of Jacob Elie Safra, afb. colour reproduction, lotnr. 37, met opgave van herkomst


• Vienna, Galerie Sanct Lucas, Gemälde Alter Meister, Winter 1985/86, no. 6


• Gemälde Alter Meister, exhibition catalogue, Vienna 1986, cat. no. 6, reproduced p. 12

• Schulz 2002 , nr. 229 , afb. in kleur en opgave van herkomst

Source: Chris Teulings (Tefaf 2012)