(The Route from Rotterdam to Gouda)
oil on canvas: 44 x 34 cm
Signed and dated ‘Jongkind 1873’ (lower right)
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It was not until Jongkind was 18 years old that he was finally able to go to The Hague on a scholarship, to study under Andreas Schelfhout (1787-1870). With a grant from the future King William III in 1846, he next moved to Paris. There, the realistic approach to nature, expressed by Constable, the Barbizon School, and his teacher Eugène Isabey, suited Jongkind perfectly. After the death of his beloved mother in August of 1-854, a period of deep depression ensued. In November 1855, he left Paris abruptly for Rotterdam, for the next five years just remaining in Holland. His friend and art dealer ‘Père’ Martin kept him going by occasionally selling the canvases he continued sending to Paris.
Such was his influence among his French colleagues that they voluntarily organised an auction, consisting entirely of their own works, to collect enough financial support for Jongkind to get him to return to Paris.
And, after his five-year Dutch interval, he did finally settle in France in 1860, and became acquainted with Josephine Fesser. She became his pupil, and shared her family life with him till his death in 1891. Early impressionists such as Monet and Sisley were much indebted to Jongkind’s characteristic fervour, not least his watercolour-technique with which he excelled in luminous expressiveness. In Monet’s personal diaries he has written that Jongkind taught him to ‘look’ and gave him his ‘eye’ for art. Jongkind is therefore sometimes seen as the father of impressionism. Jongkind, who was almost six and a half feet tall, had the habit of wearing a top hat, which of course added to his formidable appearance.