Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


LIEVE VERSCHUIER (Rotterdam 1627 – Rotterdam 1686)

A Lively Estuary Along a Rocky Coast with Numerous Ships in the Distance

signed twice, one partially effaced in the lower right, with remains of another on the rowing boat in the lower left

oil on canvas

34 3/8 x 40 inches        (87.3 x 101.8 cm.)


Private Collection, The Netherlands


Lieve Verschuier, born in Rotterdam in 1627, was the son of Pieter Verschuier, a sculptor and carver who worked for the Admiralty of Rotterdam. From 1651 – 1652 he resided in Amsterdam, and perhaps during this period studied with Simon de Vlieger. Afterward, he traveled to Italy with Johan van der Meer, the portraitist from Utrecht. While residing in Rome from 1653 – 1656, he became strongly influenced by the use of light and atmospheric effects of Claude Lorrain. By 1656, Verschuier had returned to Rotterdam and married Catharina Akershoek. On October 25, 1674, he was appointed sculptor and painter to the Admiralty of the Maas in Rotterdam. Sadly, none of his sculptures survived. By 1678, he was named Dean of the Guild of St. Luke. [1]

There are approximately 75 paintings known by the artist, with only one dated from 1661. [2] His works formed part of the permanent collections in the museums of Amsterdam; Budapest; Greenwich, England; Hamburg; Lisbon; Munich; Northampton, England; Paris; Philadelphia; Rome; Rotterdam; Strasbourg; Vienna; and Warsaw.

Verschuier’s works fall into three categories. He executed several historical events, such as the Arrival of Charles II of England in Rotterdam, now in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. He painted small coastal views at sunset or by moonlight. As in our work, he also executed large harbor scenes, typically with cargo ships. [3]

The rowing boat and figures in the left foreground of this painting recur in almost the exact same form in Verschuier’s The Meuse Before Rotterdam in the Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam. The constrained expressions of the fishermen in the boat convey the reality of their daily toil in direct contrast to their surroundings. Under calm skies placidity reigns throughout the rest of the scene. In the lower right other fishermen rest upon the docks with their boats tied beneath. A steep stairwell leads to the landing above where a covered wagon has stopped to water a horse. Other travelers converse before a nearby house. Spectators perched on a promontory oversee the rest of the harbor’s activities. In the first landmark survey on Dutch marine art written in 1990 by George S. Keyes, titled Mirror of Empire, a notable feature of the artist is referenced, “Verschuier represents the slightly ruffled water in a distinctive manner, with each wave highlighted to create a lively linear pattern of rippling waves across the wide expanse…”, [4] and in our composition this element is on full display in the foreground.




[1] George S. Keyes, “Lieve Pietersz. Verschuier” in Mirror of Empire, Dutch Marine Art of the Seventeenth Century, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1990, p. 423; “Lieve Verschuier” in The Kremer Collection (electronic resource), Foundation Aetas Aurea, Netherlands, c. 2014; and “Lieve Verschuier” on (RKD Explore) website.

[2] The Kremer Collection, op.cit..

[3] George S. Keyes, op. cit., p. 423.

[4] Ibid, p. 184.


Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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