Willem van de Velde came from one of the greatest seventeenth century families of Dutch masters; his father Willem van de Velde I (1611 – 1693) was a first rate draughtsman of marines whose love of the sea and ships was inherited by his youngest son. The important pastoral landscapist Adriaen van de Velde (1636-1672) was Willem II’s older brother. In the early part of his career Willem II was influenced by his father but also by his contemporary seascape artists Simon de Vlieger and Abraham van Beyeren.
Willem II was a draughtsman throughout his career and he continuously executed highly detailed renderings of ships and scenes as studies for his paintings. The current drawing reveals the young Van de Velde’s mastery of aerial perspective which promotes a smooth transition across the expanse of water in the foreground to the boats close inshore and beyond, through a central vista, to the distant, low horizon. Depicted is the harbour of Texel. Texel would be the last stop before starting a journey to distant shores or returning back to Amsterdam. Sometimes, if the wind was unfavourable, the ships would lay in the docks for long periods of time, waiting for the wind to turn.
Willem van de Veldt II enjoyed enormous success in his lifetime, with royal patronage from King Charles II of England.
– Collectie Buijze, The Hague, 2009;
– private collection, The Netherlands.