probably Haarlem, 1632–Amsterdam, buried 23 January 1684
Dutch painter, draughtsman, and painter of interiors
Jan Wijnants is probably the son of the art dealer of the same name. He became a member of the Haarlem Guild in 1642 and is documented by 1653 in Rotterdam. Hofstede de Groot dated twelve of his pictures prior to that date, but Stechow mentions a picture dated 1654 as the earliest known to him.1 Wijnants seems to have begun painting at the end of the 1640s, often in collaboration with his brother-in-law Dirck Wijntrack (before 1625–78), noted for his pictures of fowl. By 1659 he was back in Haarlem, but by December 1660 he had moved to Amsterdam, where he remained for the rest of his life. Poor sales of his pictures meant that he also had to keep an inn.
Under the influence of Pieter de Molijn (1595–1661), Philips Wouwerman (1619–68), Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/9–82) and others, his chief subject matter is the landscapes and sand dunes near Haarlem. Later works frequently have a dominant blasted tree in the foreground. According to the 18th-century biographer Arnold Houbraken, Adriaen van de Velde (1636–72) was Wijnants’ pupil, and certainly painted the figures in his pictures on many occasions. Wijntrack and Johannes Lingelbach (1622–74) also occasionally provided staffage.
Britton thought there were three pictures by Wijnants in the Dulwich collection – DPG114, DPG117, and DPG7. The latter is now attributed to Roelof Jansz. van Vries (1630/31–after 1681). In 1953 there was thought to be a fourth, DPG210, but that is now assigned to Jan van Kessel (1641–80).
In the 18th century artists including Thomas Gainsborough (1727–88) in England and Jean Honoré Fragonard (1732–1806) in France were charmed by Wijnants’ pictures and sought to emulate them.2 Gainsborough is even said to have added figures to pictures by Wijnants.3
Houbraken 1753, iii, p. 90; Stechow 1965b; De Bruyn Kops 1987; Harwood 1996c; Eisele 2000; Van Thiel-Stroman 2006k; Büttner & Dörr 2011; Ecartico, no. 8264; http://www.vondel.humanities.uva.nl/ecartico/persons/8264 (May 9, 2017); RKDartists&, no. 84371: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/artists/84371 (May 9, 2017).
DPG114 – Landscape with Cow drinking
c. 1655–65; oak panel, 15.6 x 18.7 cm
Signed, bottom right: J wijna[n]t[s]
Counterpart of DPG117
Michael Bryan’s sale, Christie’s, 6 March 1801 (Lugt 6210), lot 51 (‘Wynants – A Pair of small brilliant Landscapes’), bt Bourgeois for £26 5s.;4 Insurance 1804, no. 23 or no. 24 (‘A Landscape – Wynants. £50’ or ‘Ditto – Ditto. £50’); Bourgeois, 1807–11; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 24, no. 242 or 244 (‘Drawing Room / no. 30, Landscape – bank[?];5 P[anel] Wynants’; 1'1" x 1'0"; or ‘no. 32, Landscape – companion to 30 – P[anel] Wynants’; 1'1" x 1'0").6
Cat. 1817 p. 3, no. 7 (‘FIRST ROOM – South Side; A Landscape; John Wynants’), or p. 4, no. 15 (‘FIRST ROOM – South Side: A Landscape; John Wynants’); Haydon 1817, p. 370, no. 7, or p. 371, no. 15, both called ‘JOHN WYNANTS. A Landscape’; Cat. 1820, p. 3, no. 7, or Cat. 1820, p. 4, no. 15; Patmore 1824a, p. 182;7 Cat. 1830, p. 3, no. 11 or no. 12; Smith 1829–42, vi (1835), p. 278, no. 166;8 Jameson 1842, ii, p. 445, no. 11;9 Denning 1858, no. 11 (‘This and the next [12, DPG117] are two beautiful specimens of Wynants’s skill’); Denning 1859, no. 11 (‘This and the next  are companions’); Sparkes 1876, p. 214, no. 12 (‘Exquisitely finished’); Richter & Sparkes 1880 p. 186, no. 12;10 Havard & Sparkes 1885, p. 200, nos 11 and 12;11 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 29, no. 114; HdG, viii, 1923, p. 544, no. 312 (Engl. edn, viii, 1927, p. 503; as signed in full; as Smith no. 165); Cook 1914, pp. 67–8, no. 114; Cook 1926, p. 64; Cat. 1953, p. 44; Murray 1980a, p. 143; Murray 1980b, p. 31; Beresford 1998, p. 260; Eisele 2000, pp. 70, 152–3, no. 151 (fig. 151); Schumacher 2006, i, p. 89; ii, fig. 45; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 293–4; RKD, no. 52747: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/52747 (May 9, 2017).
Houston/Louisville 1999–2000, pp. 200–201, no. 71 (D. Shawe-Taylor); London 2002, pp. 191–2, no. 52 (L. B. Harwood); Williamsburg/Fresno/Pittsburgh/Oklahoma 2008–10, pp. 92–3, no. 32 (I. A. C. Dejardin).
Single-member oak panel with horizontal grain, bevelled on the verso edges. The ground, and in some places the paint, is thinly applied. In the right half of the sky and the shadows of the hill, the wood grain shows through the paint layers. The thinly painted areas have been retouched and now appear slightly matt. There is some fairly minor abrasion in the dark clouds, the trees and bank. The varnish has yellowed slightly. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–3, Dr Hell.
Dune landscape with drinking cow and a pedlar, c. 1655-1665
panel (oak), oil paint 15,6 x 18,7 cm
lower right : J wijna(n)t(s)
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG114
DPG117 – Landscape
c. 1655–65; Oak panel, 15.8 x 18.8 cm
Counterpart of DPG114
See DPG114, and Smith 1829–42, vi (1835), p. 278, no. 165;12 Jameson 1842, ii, p. 445, no. 12;13 Sparkes 1876, p. 215, no. 11; Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 186, no. 11; Havard & Sparkes 1885, p. 200, nos 11–12;14 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 30, no. 117; HdG, viii, 1923, p. 606, no. 590 (Engl. edn, viii, p. 561; as Smith no. 166); Cook 1914, p. 69, no. 117; Cook 1926, p. 65; Cat. 1953, p. 44; Murray 1980a, p. 143; Murray 1980b, p. 31; Kalinsky 1995, p. 38, fig. 19; Beresford 1998, p. 260; Eisele 2000, p. 70, 176, no. 241 (fig. 242); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, pp. 293–4; RKD, no. 52746: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/52746 (May 9, 2017).
Houston/Louisville 1999–2000, pp. 200–201, no. 72 (D. Shawe-Taylor); London 2002, pp. 191, 193, no. 53 (L. B. Harwood); Williamsburg/Fresno/Pittsburgh/Oklahoma 2008–10, pp. 94–5, no. 33 (I. A. C. Dejardin).
Single-member oak panel, bevelled on the verso edges. This work is more thickly painted than its pendant, DPG114, and consequently the panel grain is much less obvious. There are, however, fine horizontal cracks at the upper right edge, running with the wood grain. Fine drying craquelure can be observed in the plants under the left-hand tree. There is a tiny old retouching near the top edge, and the right-hand figure has been strengthened slightly. Previous recorded treatment: 1952–3, Dr Hell.
1) Jan Wijnants, Landscape with Cattle, signed J. Wijnants, canvas, 38 x 45 cm. KMSKA, Antwerp, 503.15
2) Jan Wijnants (figures by Adriaen van de Velde), A Hilly Landscape, signed J Wijnants, early 1660s, canvas, 56.5 x 50 cm. Wallace Collection, London, P249.16
3) Thomas Gainsborough, A View in Suffolk (Landscape with Sandpit), c. 1746–7, canvas, 47 x 61 cm. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, NGI 191.17
4) Jean-Honoré Fragonard, The Watering Place, c. 1763–5, canvas, 51.5 x 63 cm. Jean-François Heim, Paris (31 May 2013).18
5a) Copy: Ralph Cockburn after DPG114, Landscape with Figures, c. 1816–20, aquatint, 138 x 181 mm (Cockburn 1830, no. 36). DPG .19
5b) Copy: Ralph Cockburn after DPG117, Landscape, c. 1816–20, aquatint, 140 x 181 mm (Cockburn 1830, no. 37), DPG .20
DPG114 shows a landscape of dunes, probably in the vicinity of Wijnants’ home city of Haarlem. At least since the auction in 1801, it and DPG117 have formed a pair. Although Eisele discusses them in different places, he considers them to be Gegenstücke, pendants. Wijnants probably did not intend them as a pair: the compositions do not mirror each other; the landscapes do not present a contrast, such as summer versus winter; and the dimensions are slightly different. However, according to Ian Dejardin it is also possible that the two paintings actually show exactly the same view, from slightly different angles, although the geology and the trees seem to be different.
In both pictures Wijnants uses the objects in the foreground – sand dunes, tree, water – to force the eye through a narrow path or gap that opens out to an expansive landscape beyond. The staffage is minimal: in DPG114 a cow drinking, a few other animals, and a figure with a burden on his back, and in DPG117 a distant figure on the road at the left and two people, one standing, one sitting, on the right. Laurie Harwood suggested that the pictures are early, from the end of the 1650s. Similar works cited by Eisele are undated (Related works, no. 1), or ascribed to the early 1660s (Related works, no. 2). They inspired the early landscapes of Gainsborough (Related works, no. 3) and, slightly later, Fragonard (Related works, no. 4).21
While in 1824 Patmore dismissed DPG114 and DPG117 as ‘far from ranking among his best’, all other writers have praised the pictures as characteristic examples of Wijnants’ œuvre.
Dune landscape with oaks and two figures on a sandy track, c. 1655-1665
panel (oak), oil paint 15,8 x 18,8 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG117
Ralph Cockburn after Jan Wijnants
Landscape with figures, 1816-1820
paper, aquatint 138 x 181 mm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery
Ralph Cockburn after Jan Wijnants
paper, aquatint 140 x 181 mm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery
Attributed to Jan Wijnants
DPG633 – Landscape
1650–84; canvas, 78.8 x 60.9 cm
Stolen in 1981
Mr Mather, Beckenham; his Gift, 1957.
Murray 1980a, p. 305 (‘Heusch’, probably Willem de Heusch); Beresford 1998, p. 261 (attributed to Wijnants); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 295; RKD, no.: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/284394 (May 13, 2017).
No technical information is available and no record of previous conservation treatments exists for this painting.
1) Jan Wijnants (figures by Dirck Wijntrack), A Wooded Landscape with a Duck Pond, monogrammed, canvas, 92 x 72 cm. Present whereabouts unknown (Keil et al. sale, Cologne, 7 June 1886, lot 48).22
2) Jan Wijnants (figures by Johannes Lingelbach), Landscape with Large Tree-Trunks, canvas, 69 x 88 cm. Count Czernin von Chudenitz collection, Vienna, 144.23
First catalogued as by Willem de Heusch (1625–92), the painting was attributed to Jan Wijnants by both Jeroen Giltaij and Marijke de Kinkelder.24 Eisele’s monograph does not include it, but features many pictures similar in composition, motifs (such as the intersecting trees in Related works, nos 1 and 2), and technique.
The picture came to Dulwich in 1956 as a loan from a Mr Mather of Beckenham and was gifted by him the following year. It was stolen on 13 April 1981 from the Master’s study at Dulwich College and has not been seen since.
attributed to Jan Wijnants
Landscape, c. 1650-1684
canvas, oil paint 78,8 x 60,9 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG633
Imitator of Jan Wijnants
DPG616 – Landscape
1654 or later?; canvas, 59.1 x 78.8 cm
Inscribed, bottom right: P[?] wijnants/ 1654
Professor C. D. Broad, Cambridge; his gift, 1946.25
PGC Minutes, p. 273 (meeting 22 Nov. 1945; offer to bequeath four paintings; Sir Gerald Kelly will go to Trinity College, Cambridge); PGC Minutes, 1947, p. 60 (meeting, 25 July 1946: Kelly had no hesitation in recommending that the pictures should be accepted; they are accepted); not in Cat. 1953; Murray 1980a, p. 304 (after Wynants); Beresford 1998, p. 261; Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 295; RKD, no. 284397: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/284397 (May 13, 2017).
Plain-weave canvas. Off-white ground. The paint is lean, with little impasto. Glue-paste lined onto similar; the original tacking margins are absent. The lining process probably flattened the areas that are slightly more thickly painted, such as the highlights on the figures. Micro-crackle (with extensive small tenting) and flaking have occurred all over the surface, and there is a deformation in the canvas plane above the top stretcher bar. There are small losses around the edges that correspond to frame damage. Old retouchings are visible in the sky. There is some thinness in the shadows and foliage. The varnish is abraded and fairly yellowed. The ‘Wynants’ signature appears not to match the artist’s later style. Previous recorded treatment: 1988, examined, Courtauld Institute of Art, G. Egan; 1994, paint secured, keys secured, S. Plender and N. Ryder.
1) Jan Wijnants, A Landscape with Two Dead Trees, and Two Sportsmen with Dogs on a Sandy Road, c. 1665–75, panel, 29 x 36.8 cm. NG, London, NG972.26
2) Jan Wijnants, A Wooded Landscape with a River, signed J wijnants F., canvas, 94 x 116 cm. National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 508.27
The picture shows a country lane threading through woods leading to a peasant house on an escarpment looking out over an extensive landscape with a church in the middle distance. While of undoubted quality, and resembling some later paintings by Wijnants (Related works, nos 1 and 2), its attribution has come to be questioned in recent years. While the illusion of depth has been created by overlapping planes, an effect also visible in DPG114 and DPG117, the picture lacks the lighting effects that one associates with Wijnants. It now seems most likely to have been produced by a 17th-century artist attempting to imitate Wijnants’ style.
pasticcio after Jan Wijnants
canvas, oil paint 59,1 x 78,8 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG616
1 Stechow 1965b, p. 166; the 1654 picture is discussed pp. 166–7, fig. 6 (known by a photo in the RKD).
2 See e.g. Gerson 1942/1983 on Gainsborough (pp. 429–33, 435) and Fragonard (pp. 94–97, 102, 104, 109, 111, 193); on Dutch influence in 18th-century France, Oursel, Schnapper & Foucart 1985; and on the young Gainsborough, Foister 1997. An example of an early Gainsborough painting under the influence of Wijnants and Jacob van Ruisdael is Cornard Wood, near Sudbury, Suffolk (NG, London, NG925): Egerton 1998, pp. 72–9, see RKD, no. 296652: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/296652 (May 16, 2020).
3 Foister 1997. However it has been suggested that the artist to whose pictures Gainsborough added figures was not Jan Wijnants but Francis Wynants, a contemporary with whom Gainsborough may have collaborated: Egerton 1998, p. 74.
4 GPID, 30 May 2013.
5 If these four letters are to be read as ‘bank’, this most probably refers to DPG114, where there is a riverbank in the foreground, and not to DPG117.
6 If no. 242 in Britton’s list is DPG114 (see previous note), then his no. 244 is DPG117.
7 ‘There are but two pictures by this artist in the present collection (6 and 16) – and those are far from ranking among his best.’
8 ‘The Companion [to no. 165, DPG117] exhibits a similar scene, with the addition of a pond in front, at which a cow is drinking. The preceding are of excellent quality. 6 in. by 7½ in. – P. Now in the Dulwich gallery. Worth 60 gs.’
9 With no. 12 (DPG117), ‘Two very pretty little pictures.’
10 With no. 12 (DPG117), ‘Two companion pictures, fairly representing the characteristic style of the master.’
11 ‘fairly characteristic of the master’.
12 ‘A Landscape. The scene represents, on the left, a high and rugged sand-hill, with a clump of trees at its extremity, and on the right and front is an old tree standing amidst docks and other wild herbage.’ See also note 8 above, for no. 166 (DPG114).
13 See note 9 above.
14 See note 11 above.
15 Vandamme 1988, p. 427, no. 503; Eisele no. 144; HdG 299.
16 Ingamells 1992, pp. 435–6, no. P249; Eisele no. 73.
18 http://www.galerieheim.fr/oeuvre-details3.php?id_oeuvre=12&lng=2 (May 16, 2020).
21 See above, note 2.
22 Eisele 2000, p. 148, no. 137, fig. 137.
23 ibid., p. 155, no. 158, fig. 158.
24 Letter from Jeroen Giltaij to Richard Beresford, 5 Sept. 1996 (DPG633 file); in it he mentions Marijke de Kinkelder’s agreement.
25 The picture was offered to Dulwich by Professor C. D. Broad of Trinity College, Cambridge, in 1945, together with DPG614 (Studio of Teniers), DPG615 (Cornelis Pronk), and DPG617 (Johann Heinrich Roos). In his letter he said that the four paintings had been in his family for a long time. According to the PGC Minutes for 22 Nov. 1945, Sir Gerald Kelly was despatched to inspect the pictures, and they arrived at Dulwich the following year.
26 26 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/jan-wijnants-a-landscape-with-two-dead-trees (July 14, 2020); MacLaren & Brown 1991, i, p. 505, no. 972, ii, fig. 431.
27 http://onlinecollection.nationalgallery.ie/objects/6897/the-dunes-near-haarlem (May 16, 2020); Potterton 1986, p. 185, no. 508, fig. 186.