Two Watermills and an Open Sluice

Object Details


Two Watermills and an Open Sluice


Jacob van Ruisdael (Dutch, 1628/1629 - 1682)






Oil on canvas


66.4 x 84.1 cm (26 1/8 x 33 1/8 in.)

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Jacob van Ruisdael captured the tension between nature's power and human needs. Glimpsed from the bank of a stream amid thick foliage, turbulent waters rush through an open sluice. Inclement weather is suggested by the dark clouds; uneven, craggy branches and spreading trees grow on either side of the river. Against the ominous sky, the buildings appear solid and sturdy, and a solitary male figure with his dog seems dwarfed by the natural setting. Sunlight breaks through the heavily clouded sky and settles on the central motif of the two half-timber thatched millhouses.

When he was in his early twenties, Ruisdael traveled to Germany from his native Haarlem. He became captivated by watermills on his travels and painted a series of views featuring them as a central motif. This painting is one of six known variations on this theme and the only one that is dated.

- 1833

Johann Goll van Franckenstein the Elder, 1722 - 1785 [sold, Goll van Franckenstein sale, De Vries, Brondgeest, Engelberts, & Roos, Amsterdam, July 1, 1833, lot 70, through Clarke (or "Clerck") for Lambert Jan Nieuwenhuys.]

1833 -

Lambert Jan van Nieuwenhuys (Brussels, Belgium; London, England)

- 1848

Casimir Périer (Paris, France) [sold, Périer sale, Christie and Manson, London, May 5, 1848, lot 13, to John Dunn Gardner.]

1848 - 1854

John Dunn Gardner (Bottisham Hall, Cambridgeshire, England) [sold, Gardner sale, Christie and Manson, London, March 25, 1854, lot 71, to Brown.]

1854 -

Brown (dealer), sold to Edmund Foster.

by 1857 - 1862

Edmund Foster, died 1862 (Clewer Manor, Berkshire, England), probably by inheritance to Richard Foster, 1862.

probably by 1862 - 1876

Richard Foster (Clewer Manor, Berkshire, England) [sold, Foster sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, June 3, 1876, lot 13, to Durlacher.]


Durlacher Brothers (London, England; New York, New York), sold to Alfred (Charles) de Rothschild, 1876.

1876 -

Alfred (Charles) de Rothschild, 1842 - 1918 (Halton, Hertfordshire, England)

Baronin Mathilde von Rothschild, 1832 - 1924 (Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany; Paris, France)

about 1923/25 -

Blumenreich (dealer) (Berlin, Germany)

by 1927

Kleykamp (The Hague, The Netherlands)

by 1928

H. M. Clark (London, England)

by 1945

Private Collection (Switzerland)

- 1980

Private Collection (The Netherlands) [sold, Christie's, Laren, October 20, 1980, lot 252, to Galerie Hoogsteder.]

1980 -

Galerie Hoogsteder (The Hague, The Netherlands), sold to Manfred R. Mayer.

- 1982

Manfred R. Mayer, Esq. (The Netherlands), sold through Galerie Hoogsteder (The Hague, The Netherlands) to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1982.

Tentoonstelling van schilderijen door oud-hollandsche en vlaamsche meesters (1927) (Cat. 34)
  • Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, (The Hague), 1927
Meisterwerke holländischer Malerei des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts (June 28 to August 19, 1945) (Cat. 79)
  • Öffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel, June 28 to September 19, 1945
Jacob van Ruisdael (October 1, 1981 to April 11, 1982) (Cat. 23)
  • Mauritshuis, (The Hague), October 1, 1981 to January 3, 1982
  • Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, (Cambridge), January 18 to April 11, 1982
Masters of 17th-Century Dutch Landscape Painting (October 2, 1987 to July 31, 1988) (Cat. 81)
  • Rijksmuseum, (Amsterdam), October 2, 1987 to January 3, 1988
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, February 3 to May 1, 1988
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), June 5 to July 31, 1988
El siglo de oro del paisaje holandés / The Golden Age of Dutch Landscape Painting (October 10, 1994 to February 12, 1995) (Cat. 54)
  • Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Foundation, (Madrid), October 10, 1994 to February 12, 1995
Jacob van Ruisdael: Master of Landscape (June 26, 2005 to June 4, 2006) (Cat. 17)
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art, (Los Angeles), June 26 to September 18, 2005
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), October 23, 2005 to February 5, 2006
  • Royal Academy of Arts (London), February 25 to June 4, 2006

De Vries et al., Amsterdam. Catalogus van het alom beroemde kabinet schilderijen, door de voornaamste oude nederlandsche meesters; uitgemaakt herbende de verzameling van [...] Johan Goll van Franckenstein [...]. July 1, 1833, p. 31, lot 70.

Christie and Manson, London. Catalogue of a Very Choice Collection of Dutch Pictures of the Highest Class; Being the Most Select Portion of the Collection Formed by the Former Minister of France, the Late Monsieur Casimir Perier. May 5, 1848, p. 5, lot 13.

Christie and Manson, London. Catalogue of the Very Choice Collection of Pictures of the Highest Quality [...] the Property of J. D. Gardner, Esq. [...]. March 25, 1854, p. 9, lot 71.

Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Galleries and Cabinets of Art in Great Britain: Being an Account of More than Forty Collections of Paintings, Drawings, Sculptures, Mss. Visited in 1854 and 1856, and Now for the First Time Described (London: John Murray, 1857), p. 287.

Christie, Manson & Woods, London. Catalogue of the Very Choice Collection of Old Dutch and Flemish Pictures, Formed Many Years Ago, with Rare Taste and Judgment, by Richard Foster, Esq., Deceased, Late of Clewer Manor. June 3, 1876, p. 6, lot 13.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts. 10 vols. (Esslingen a. N.: Paul Neff Verlag, 1907-1928), vol. 4 (1911), p. 55, no. 169d.

Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Based on the Work of John Smith. 8 vols. Edward G. Hawke, ed. and trans. (London: Macmillan and Co., 1908-27), vol. 4 (1912), p. 58, no. 169d.

Beeldende Kunst 15 (1927), p. 31, no. 32, ill.

Tentoonstelling van schilderijen door oud-hollandsche en vlaamsche meesters, exh. cat. (The Hague: Koninklijke Kunstzaal Kleykamp, 1927), p. 17, no. 34, ill.

Rosenberg, Jakob. Jacob van Ruisdael (Berlin: Bruno Cassirer, 1928), pp. 32-33, 78, no. 102, pl. 41, fig. 62.

Simon, Kurt Erich. Jacob van Ruisdael: Eine Darstellung seiner Entwicklung. 2nd ed. (Berlin: Würfel Verlag, 1930), pp. 29, 81.

Zwei Ausstellungen aus Privatbesitz in der Schweiz: Meisterwerke holländischer Malerei des 16. bis 18. Jahrhunderts im Kunstmuseum; 25 Werke von Vincent van Gogh in der Galerie M. Schulthess [...], exh. cat. (Basel: K. Werner, 1945), p. 18, no. 79.

MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School (London: The National Gallery, 1960), pp. 359, 360n7, under no. 986.

Giltay, J. "De tekeningen van Jacob van Ruisdael." Oud-Holland 94, nos. 2-3 (January 1980), p. 174n74.

Christie's, Laren. Fine Pictures, Drawings and Watercolours from the 16th to the 20th Century. October 20, 1980, p. 50, lot 252, pl. 1.

Slive, Seymour. Jacob van Ruisdael, exh. cat. (The Hague: Mauritshuis, with Abbeville Press, 1981), p. 56, under no. 15; p. 79, under no. 22; pp. 80-81, no. 23, ill.

Flemming, Dorothee von. Review of Jacob van Ruisdael. Mauritshuis, The Hague. Weltkunst 51, no. 23 (December 1, 1981), p. 3667, ill.

Walford, Ewan John. "Jacob van Ruisdael and the Perception of Landscape." Ph.D. diss. 2 vols. (Cambridge University, 1981), vol. 1, p. 164; vol. 2, p. viii, pl. 120.

Hagens, H. "Jacob van Ruisdael, Meindert Hobbema en de indetificatie-zucht." 't Inschrien 14, no. 1 (1982), pp. 8, 9, ill.

Schuster, Peter-Klaus. Review of Jacob van Ruisdael. The Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, MA. Pantheon 40, no. 2 (April-June 1982), p. 157.

"Principales acquisitions des musées en 1982." La Chronique des arts: supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 101, no. 1370 (March 1983), p. 37, no. 205, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 98, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 145, fig. 212.

Reinewald, Chris. "Musea en Galeries in Amerika. Het Getty Museum: Een Romeinse villa aan de Pacific Coast." Tableau 9, no. 4 (February 1987), pp. 65, 67.

Fredericksen, Burton B. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Rev. ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1988), unpaginated, no. 24, ill.

Bauters, Paul. Kracht van wind en water: molens in Vlaanderen (Leuven: Davidsfonds, 1989), p. 203, ill.

MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School, 1600-1900. Rev. ed. by Christopher Brown. 2 vols. (London: The National Gallery, 1991), vol. 1, pp. 384, 385n8, under no. 986.

Hagens, H. "Van Religie tot Romantiek: de watermolen in kanon, kerk en kunst." In Watermolens. H. Hagens and W. Elling, eds. (Oldenzaal: Twents-Gelderse Uitgeverij Witkam-de Bruyn, 1991), pp. 25, 33n46.

Sutton, Peter C., and John Loughman. El siglo de oro del paisaje Holandés, exh. cat. José Luis Checa, trans. (Madrid: Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1994), pp. 192-95, no. 54, ill.

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. Masterpieces of Painting in the J. Paul Getty Museum. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1995), unpaginated, no. 26, ill., entry by Burton B. Fredericksen.

Slive, Seymour. Dutch Painting 1600-1800 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1995), pp. 200-1, fig. 273.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 113, ill.

Slive, Seymour. Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of His Paintings, Drawings and Etchings (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2001), pp. 138-39, no. 119, ill.; p. 361, under no. 489.

Sotheby's, London. Old Master Paintings, Part One. December 8, 2004, pp. 70, 72, under lot 23, fig. 1.

Slive, Seymour. Jacob van Ruisdael: Master of Landscape, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, 2005), pp. 72-73, no. 17, ill.

Slive, Seymour. Jacob van Ruisdael: Windmills and Water Mills (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 56-66, figs. 38, 39, 40, 42, 43, 44.

Slive, Seymour. Windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede: Jacob van Ruisdael (Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2013), pp. 32-37, figs. 14, 15 (detail), 17 (detail).

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