Calm Sea

Object Details


Calm Sea


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




about 1665–1666


Black chalk and gray wash

Object Number:



16.5 × 40.2 cm (6 1/2 × 15 13/16 in.)

See more

See less

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.]


Hendrikus Egbertus ten Cate, Dutch, 1868 - 1955 (Almelo, The Netherlands)


C.G. Boerner, possibly sold to Lodewijk Houthakker, 1964.
Source: C.G. Boerner, 150 Meisterzeichnungen des 16. bis. 19. Jahrhunderts, 1- 15 Dezember (1964), no. 101.


Possibly Lodewijk Houthakker, Dutch, 1926 - 2008
Source: Annotated catalog (GRI): C.G. Boerner, 150 Mesiterzeichnungen des 16. bis 19 Jahrhunderts, 1-15 Dezember (1964), unpaginated, no. 101.

by 1968

A. Schwarz, Dutch, 1897 - 1989 (Amsterdam, Netherlands)

- 2002

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

De Verzameling van A. Schwarz (September to December 1968)
  • Rijksprentenkabinet (Amsterdam), September to December 1968
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
Masterful Likeness: Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (July 24 to October 28, 2018)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 24 to October 28, 2018

Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, London. Catalogue of a Very Choice and Remarkable Collection of Old Master Drawings […]. March 25, 1920, p. 23, lot 79.

Hannema, Dirk. Catalogue of the H. E. ten Cate Collection, 2 vols. (Rotterdam: Ad. Donker, 1955), p. 169, no. 302.

Hannema, Dirk. Catalogue of the H.E. ten Cate Collection, 2 vols. (Rotterdam: Ad. Donker, 1955), vol. 2, unpaginated, fig. 101.

C.G. Boerner, Dusseldorf. 150 Meisterzeichnungen des 16. bis 19. Jahrhunderts, eh. cat. (Dusseldorf: C.G. Boerner, 1964), unpaginated, no. 101.

Boon, K.G. De Verzameling van A. Schwarz, exh. cat. (Amsterdam: Rijksprentenkabinet, 1968), p. 33, no. 101, fig. 15.

Van de Velde Drawings: A catalogue of drawings in the National Maritime Museum made by the elder and the eounger Willem van de Velde, 2 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1974), vol. 2, p. 121, under no. 915.