Lot 75
Old Masters, Nineteenth Century & Early Modern Art | 18 May 2022
Willem Roelofs (1822-1897)

A shepherd resting on a sandy track in Oosterbeek

signed and dated 'W: Roelofs. f: 1854' (lower right)

oil on panel, 56,5x76,5 cm

-With Galerie Gabriëls, The Hague.

Willem Roelofs is widely known as one of the pioneers of The Hague School. In the 1850s he bridged the gap between the detailed Romantic School and the upcoming atmospheric approach to depicting landscapes of the Barbizon School.

As of 1847 Roelofs lived and worked in Brussels. The Belgian capital attracted many artists because of cheaper cost of living and large sales market due to the rich industry of Wallonia. Furthermore this young capital was close to Paris and had a liberal mindset. In his own words Willem Roelofs would describe the city as ‘het centrum van de kunstbeweging’. It was in Brussels that he would first come into contact with atmospheric landscape paintings by the Barbizon School.

In 1849 Roelofs wrote to his friend Jan Weissenbruch (1822-1880) saying that he had the desire to visit Barbizon and the forest of Fontainebleau. After selling his impressive romantic painting ‘Landschap vóór het onweer (Bentheim)’ to the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten van België for 3,000 Bfr. in 1851, he finally had the means to travel to Barbizon. In the autumn of 1852, Roelofs stayed for two months in the famous ‘Auberge Ganne’ making studies in the wooded area. Along with his numerous travels to Paris, Roelofs considered this journey to be the completion of his education.

After this influential trip to Barbizon, Roelofs’ style became much more realistic. Instead of painting each tiny tree leaf on its own, he would paint the foliage as a whole. Just like his French contemporaries Constant Troyon (1810-1865) and Théodore Rousseau (1812-1867), Roelofs’ colour palette became much more tonal, striving for a realistic harmony. The present lot beautifully testifies of the shift to a more true-to-life representation of nature. Already Roelofs focuses more on the atmosphere and uses wider brushstrokes, with a genius feeling for depth and light. As expected in the oeuvre of Roelofs, the artist used a lot of dense undiluted paint to create a heavy relief in the paint surface, thus creating even more depth in the composition. This rural view of Oosterbeek is a stunning example of Roelofs’ pioneering role in the creation of The Hague School.

Marjan van Heteren and Robert-Jan te Rijdt, 'Willem Roelofs 1822-1897: De adem der natuur', Bussum 2006.

€ 18.000,00
€ 24.000,00
€ 17.000,00

Hamerprijs: € 17.000