Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


GILLIS PEETERS (Antwerp 1612 – Antwerp 1653)

 A River Landscape with a Ferryboat

oil on panel

15 ½ x 22 inches          (40.5 x 56 cm.)


The Brodie of Brodie Collection, Scotland

The Brodie of Brodie sale, Christie’s, London, June 1, 1973, lot 185

Richard Green Gallery, London

Anonymous sale, Dorotheum, Vienna, Marh 11, 1975, lot 111

Private Collection, Vienna


Gillis Peeters was a member of the distinguished family of Flemish landscape and seascape painters. His siblings were Catharina, Jan I, and Bonaventura I. He was the father of Bonaventura II, Willem and Gillis II. He was a student of Anthony Claesz II, and became a master in the Antwerp Guild of St. Luke in 1633/1634. It is known that during this period he also shared a studio in Antwerp with his brother Bonaventura. [1]

Peeters works are mainly landscapes as well as engravings. His early works reflect the influence of Paul Brill. It is thought that he traveled to Brazil with the entourage of the Dutch prince Johan Maurits von Nassau-Siegen in 1636 – 1637, and possibly again in 1640. [2] Stylistically his works are notable for their precision and translucent coloration. This is particularly true of our A River Landscape with a Ferryboat. Although certainly a coastal view of Holland, there is a distinct feeling of the exotic combined with a dreamlike quality populated with whimsical figures, to the scene. Ellis Dullaart of the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie, The Hague who has confirmed the authenticity of this panel and dates it to the 1640s, compares it to a Canal Landscape in the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf.

Other museums in which Peeters’ works were acquired for the permanent collections include those of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Dresden, Heidelberg, Schwerin and Saint Petersburg.


[1] Biographical information taken from J. de Maere & M. Wabbes, “Gillis I Peeters” in Illustrated Dictionary of 17th Century Flemish Painters, La Renaissance du Livre, Brussels, 1994, text volume, p. 953; and Gillis Peeters (I) on rkd.nk (RKD Explore) website.

[2] Marjorie E. Wieseman “Bonaventura Peeters” in The Age of Rubens, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, September 22, 1993 – January 2, 1994, pp. 478, 480.


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