Calm Sea

Object Details


Calm Sea


Willem van de Velde the Younger (Dutch, 1633 - 1707)




1665 to 1666


Black chalk and gray wash


16.5 × 40.2 cm (6 1/2 × 15 13/16 in.)

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During the Dutch Golden Age, the River Ij provided access to merchant vessels traveling between Amsterdam and the North Sea. In this panoramic view, tall sails and a distant city skyline animate a thin horizon line that separates sky from water. A dark band of wash near the bottom of the page conveys the water's depth and expanse.

The only elements that hint at movement are the ships' billowing sails and a rowboat. Subtle washes of gray evoke a light-filled yet solemn atmosphere and underscore the composition's calmness. Inscriptions along the top and bottom edges of the drawing identify the scene's location along with a few other facts, adding a documentary element to this evocative picture.

Willem van de Velde the Younger followed his artist father's example and specialized in marine scenes like this one. While his father took a meticulous, documentary approach to his subject matter, Van de Velde the Younger developed a more expressive style.

- 1920

Henry Charles Petty-Fitzmaurice, fifth marquess of Lansdowne, 1845 - 1927 [sold, Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London, March 25, 1920, lot 79, to Hendrikus Egbertus ten Cate.]

1920 -

Hendrikus Egbertus ten Cate, Dutch, 1868 - 1955


Adolph Schwartz (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

- 2002

Private Collection, sold through Thomas Le Claire (Hamburg, Germany) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2002.

Recent Acquisitions in Context (July 28 to November 1, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 28 to November 1, 2009
Recent Acquisitions in Context (January 8 to February 24, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 8 to February 24, 2013