A Winter Scene with Two Gentlemen Playing Colf

Object Details


A Winter Scene with Two Gentlemen Playing Colf


Hendrick Avercamp (Dutch, 1585 - 1634)




Netherlands (Place created)


about 1615 - 1620


Pencil, pen and ink, and gouache


9.4 × 15.6 cm (3 11/16 × 6 1/8 in.)

See more

See less

Under a pale grey winter sky, a variety of figures enjoy ice skating, sledging and conversing. In the foreground, two men play colf, a traditional Dutch sport that is a cross between golf and ice hockey. Hendrik Avercamp, was the first Dutch artist to elevate watercolor and gouache drawings to the status of paintings. His skill is visible here in details like the fine pen and ink lines describing the figures, or the delicate gouache coloring suggesting shadows on the ice. His typical monogram is visible in the lower left (the letter H enclosing the letter A), indicating he saw this as a finished work, not a study.

Avercamp was a prolific draftsman, and helped popularize such landscapes with seventeenth-century Dutch collectors. His contemporaries would have appreciated this winter scene on multiple levels. The skaters, some of whom have fallen on the ice, would have suggested the notion of de slibberachtigheyt van's menschen leven or "the slipperiness of human life," to remind viewers of life's brevity.


Private Collection [sold, Christie's and Manson & Woods, Ltd., London, July 7, 1959, lot 14, to Clifford Duits.]

1959 -

Clifford Duits, by inheritance within his family.


Duits, Ltd., sold to Jean-Luc Baroni.


Jean-Luc Baroni, Ltd., sold to J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008.

Recent Acquisitions in Context (September 16 to December 14, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), September 16 to December 14, 2008
Drawing Life: The Dutch Visual Tradition (November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010