Hendrik Johannes Weissenbruch (or as he later called himself: Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch) studied at the academy in The Hague and with one of the most important landscape painters of that time, Andreas Schelfhout. Weissenbruch developed into an important representative of the artists’ movement the Hague School. Although he mainly depicted landscapes, he also painted some still-life’s, peasant interiors and cityscapes.
Weissenbruch was a real outside painter and defied weather and wind to paint in nature. This had become possible because in the mid-nineteenth century paint was available in ready-to-use tubes.
The present painting shows a panoramic view of the dunes of Katwijk where Weissenbruch frequently worked along with other artists from an artist colony there. This was a region with weather-beaten houses and fishing boats, with high, wide skies above. Although pious fisher folk approach over a lane by the beach in the center of the vista, this was not the painter’s main objective. The artist was particularly fascinated with the permanently changing skies above the landscape, the corresponding light effects and its tonal qualities. His fascination for impressive skies played an important part in his work: ‘The sky is the main thing in a painting. If your sky is not good, then your painting is no good. The sky controls the whole landscape!’ (see: Hans Janssen, Wim van Sinderen, De Haagse School, Rotterdam, 1997, p. 46). The artist would become famous for it and managed to capture the typical Dutch atmosphere like no other.
– James Crathern, Montreal, by descent to his daughter Annie McArthur, by descent to her daughter;
– Mrs. L. Gerald Hansard, Ascot, by descent;
– Auction London, Christie’s, 25 June 1998;
– Kunsth. A.H. Bies BV, Eindhoven, 1998, shown at TEFAF 2002;
– purchased by the former owner, a Dutch private collection, in 2005.