Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


LUDOLF BACKHUYSEN (Emden 1630 – Amsterdam 1708)

A Winter Landscape with Sleighs, Skaters and Golfers on a Frozen Lake

signed L Bak in the lower left

oil on canvas

20 1/8 x 26 1/16 inches          (51.4 x 66.3 cm.)


J.G. Cramer, Amsterdam

J.G. Cramer sale, Cok, Amsterdam, November 13, 1769, lot 3

A.J. Essingh

A.J. Essingh sale, J.M. Heberle, Cologne, September 18, 1865, lot 147

Anonymous sale, J.M. Heberle, Cologne, December 9, 1892, lot 2

Sir Hugh Chance, Birlingham, Worcester (from a label now lost when sold at Sotheby’s in 1997)

Julius Singer, London, by 1948

Anonymous sale, Sotheby’s, London, April 16, 1997, lot 138, where acquired by the present owner



C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Volume VII, Esslingen/Paris, 1918, p. 317, no. 479


Winter landscapes by Ludolf Backhuysen are extremely rare. In this painting the overall silvery-grey tonality of the ice under an expansive sky lined with ominous dark clouds, accented by a chilled populace, presents a true depiction of Holland in winter. It is a later work in the artist’s oeuvre, a period in which his “compositions became more daring” and the “atmosphere more dramatic”. [1]

According to the artist biographer Arnold Houbraken (1660 – 1715), Ludolf Backhuysen studied under the painters Hendrick Dubbels and Allaert van Everdingen. By 1658 he was officially recognized as a professional marine painter and in that same year executed the background for Bartholomeus van der Helst’s Portrait of a Lady (Brussels. Musé des Arts Anciens, inv. no. 2942). Backhuysen joined the Amsterdam guild of painters in 1663, after which point his reputation as a skilled specialist in marine painting quickly spread. High profile commissions soon followed, among them in 1665 one from the burgomasters of Amsterdam to paint a View of Amsterdam and the IJ (Paris, Louvre, inv. no. 988). It was an important honor for the artist as the picture was created as a diplomatic gift for Hugues de Lionne, Foreign Minister to King Louis XIV, and as a symbol of the military and commercial strength of Amsterdam. When in 1672 Willem van de Velde the Younger and his father moved to England, Backhuysen immediately became the most important marine painter in the entire Netherlands. Such status brought with it commissions from the nobility throughout Europe, including, according to the Houbraken projects for Cosimo de’Medici, King Frederick I of Prussia, the Elector of Saxony, and Tsar Peter the Great, each of whom apparently visited Backhuysen’s studio personally. [2]


[1] B.P.J. Broos, “Ludolf Bakhuizen” in From Rembrandt to Vermeer, 17th-century Dutch Artists, Grove Art, New York, 2000, p. 13

[2] Ibid, pp. 12-13


Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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