One of the classic panoramic views of Van Goyen is this grand vista on the city of Rhenen, painted in 1636 and viewed from the North East with the river Rhijn to the left hand side behind the city and a majestic look over the Utrechtse Heuvelrug and the Veluwe.
A two wheeled wagon with horse rides up the road in the foreground and approaches a small group of three men, of which two of them are sitting comfortably and at ease on the ground.
A couple in a conversation can also be seen as well as three cows a bit further along the road.
However, it is the city with its wall that takes up most of the attention. The tower of the Cunera church in the middle is a major presence in this painting along with the windmill on the right.
This painting is specifically important to Van Goyen’s development because it is his first ‘open’ panoramic landscape, meaning: a landscape without ‘framing’ with for example bushes or trees. Halfway through the 1930s Van Goyen begins painting these similar types of landscape paintings. Rhenen with it’s characteristic high rising tower of the Cunera church from the late gothic era and its placement in a river bend on the high North shore of the river Rhijn, enjoys its special attention, alongside Dordrecht, Nijmegen and Arnhem.
This painting is the earliest preserved work of a series of Rhenen views that Van Goyen worked on during the course of his career. Most of those were however painted from the other side of the river. The painting that looks the most like this one, including its size (191,5 x 136 cm) is a view on Rhenen from 1646, now at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington. Another painting, although much smaller (43 x 54 cm), from the collection of Edgar Speyer, New York/London, shows many similarities in composition and its viewpoint.
The present painting was part of the World famous collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for a long time.
- with G. Sortais, Paris, 1898;
- with P.& D. Colnaghi, London by 1903;
- sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1906, purchased with
the aid of the Rogers Fund;
- with the Metropolitan Museum of New York until 1978;
- sale Christie’s, New York, May 1980, lot.140;
- with Kunsthandel Xaver Scheidwimmer, Munich, 1981;
- to a private collection Germany;
- to collection Ch. de Roy van Zuydewijn, The Netherlands, 1985;
- on loan to the Wallraf-Richartz Museum in Cologne from 1985;
- in sale London, Sotheby’s, July 1998;
- with Douwes Fine Art, Amsterdam;
- acquired by a private Dutch collector in 2001.
- Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, ‘Catalogue des oeuvres de Jan van Goyen, réunies par M.M. Frederik Muller & Cie. au Musée Communal de la ville d’Amsterdam’, 1903, no.19 (on loan
- New York, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Hudson-Fulton Celebration,
‘A Collection of Paintings by Dutch Masters of the 17th century’, 1909, no.17;
- Cologne, Wallraf-Richartz Museum, 1985;
- Leiden, Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal, ‘Jan van Goyen’, 1996/1997, cat.no.19, with ill.
- Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1906, p. 73;
- B. Burroughs, ‘The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catalogue of Paintings’, New York, 1914, cat. p. 99, no. G741-3 (& 1931 edition, p. 141);
- C. Hofstede de Groot, ‘A Catalogue Raisonné, etc’, London, 1923, VIII, p.62, no.209;
- J. Allen and E. Gardner, ‘A Concise Catalogue of the European Paintings in the
Metropolitan Museum of Art’, New York, 1954, p.44, no.06.290;
- W. Stechow, ‘Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century’, New York, 1966, p.41, pl.72;
- H-U. Beck, ‘Jan van Goyen 1596-1656’, Amsterdam, 1973, Vol. II, no. 374, p.182;
- Weltkunst, 14 May 1981, p. 1516, with ill. (by X. Scheidwimmer).
- H.P. Deys, ‘Achter, Berg en Rijn. Over boeren burgers en buitenlui in Rhenen’, Rhenen,
1981, p. 33, pl.81;
- H-U.Beck, ‘Jan van Goyen 1596-1656’, Doornspijk, 1987, Vol.III (Ergänzungen), no.374, p.186.