Jacob van Ruisdael

A Waterfall

c. 1660-1670
Nature reigns supreme in Ruisdael's paintings, and the diminished place of the human figure only reinforces the hierarchy and emphasizes his fascination with the power of natural phenomena. Here, the fleeting image of the three far-off figures crossing the foot bridge is a fitting representation of Ruisdael's view of humankind. Like the others in this series of waterfall paintings, this was not the result of first-hand study by the artist but was inspired by the Scandinavian landscapes of the Dutch painter Allaert van Everdingen (1621¿1675).

– 1769/11/13
J.G. Cramer, Amsterdam (?) [1]

In auction of Rodolphe Frey, Basel, Switzerland, no. 129 (?) [2]

by 1835 –
Brandon collection, Blackheath, UK (?) [3]

by 1864 – 1934/03/23
J. Brandram Peele; Miss Peele, Childown Hall, Chertsey, Surrey, UK, by inheritance [4]

1934/03/23 – 1941
Nathan Katz (1893–1949) and Benjamin Katz (b.1891), Dieren, The Netherlands, purchased from Miss Peele [5]

1941 – 1945
Adolf Hitler (“Linz collection”), Linz, Austria, purchased from Nathan and Benjamin Katz [6]

1945 – 1946/05/03
Munich Central Collecting Point, Munich, Germany [7]

1946/05/03 – 1947/11/13
Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit (SNK), The Hague, The Netherlands [8]

1947/11/13 – 1951/04/25
Nathan and Benjamin Katz, restituted from Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit [9]

1951/04/25 – 1952/03/27
E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, The Netherlands, purchased from Katz family [10]

1952/03/27 –
National Gallery of Canada, purchased from E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co.[9]

The main source for this provenance is Seymour Slive's catalogue raisonné, cat no. 249 [Slive, Seymour. “Jacob van Ruisdael: a complete catalogue of his paintings, drawings, and etchings.” New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001]. Exceptions and other supporting documents are noted.

[1] A painting with a matching description by Van Ruisdael was included in a sale by J.G. Cramer, Amsterdam on November 13, 1769 as no. 77.

[2] A painting with a matching description by Van Ruisdael was included in a sale by Rodolphe Frey, Basel in 1772.

[3] John Smith lists a work by Ruisdael with a close description in his 1835 “Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Flemish and French Painters” as cat. no. 290. He notes that it is part of the Brandon collection at that time.

[4] In 1864 the painting was exhibited at the British Institution in London [as no. 22]. The lender was J. Brandram Peele. Miss Peele sold the painting at Christie's, London on March 23, 1934 [lot 54].

[5] A handwritten note in the NGC's copy of the 1934 Christie's sales catalogue notes “Katz” as the purchaser [see note 2 and NGC curatorial file].

[6] The painting is included with a photograph and inventory no. 1905 in Adolf Hitler's “Linz Collection” [Linz collection database, German Historical Museum, database no. li001913, accessed July 13 2009 http://www.dhm.de/datenbank/linzdb/]. The “Linz collection” consisted of more than 4700 works of art which Hitler intended to put on display in a large museum that he planned to erect in his hometown Linz, Austria. Most of these works were confiscated from Jewish collections in Germany and abroad; some were legally purchased. It is noted on the website that Ruisdaels Waterfall was acquired from Nathan and Benjamin Katz, Dieren, in 1941 and restituted to The Netherlands after the war.

[7] According to the Linz Collection database the painting was assigned the Munich Central Collecting Point inventory no. 8837 [see note 6]. This number corresponds with the Munich Central Collecting Point number noted on the SNK inventory card [Stichting Nederlandsch Kunstbezit (SNK) Archives, no. 852]. The work was restituted to The Netherlands in spring 1946. It is listed on a “Receipt and Agreement for Delivery of Cultural Objects (Dutch Receipt No 11 b (USFA), including 16 items” dated April 29, 1946 and was shipped from Munich to Zandvoort, Holland, on May 3, 1946 [email from Perry Schrier, Origins Unknown, The Hague, The Netherlands, to A. Kausch, NGC Provenance Research Project, Sept.5, 2008, NGC curatorial file].

[8] See note [7]. The SNK inventory card notes that the painting was returned to the Katz family on November 13, 1947.

[9] See note [8]. Nathan Katz' heirs sold the work at the Galerie Charpentier, Paris on April 25, 1951 [“Succession N.K. Deuxième vente. Importants Tableaux Anciens.” lot no. 62 as Le Torrent].

[8] Pieter Eilers of E.J. Van Wisselingh & Co. purchased the painting at the Charpentier sale in Paris, 1951 and sold it to the National Gallery of Canada on March 27, 1952 [Accession records, NGC curatorial file].

[9] Accesssion log [NGC curatorial file].

A Waterfall
c. 1660-1670
oil on canvas
106.7 x 98.4 cm
Credit line
Purchased 1952
Accession number