Isaack van Ruisdael

(Naarden 1599 - 1677 Haarlem)

Naarden, a View of the Grote Kerk and a Courtyard with a Woman laying out Linen

Signed and dated, lower right: IV Ruisdael 1645
Oil on canvas, 40⅞ x 55⅝ ins. (103.8 x 141.3 cm)


With Dennis Vanderkar, London, 1969
With Alan Jacobs, London
From whom acquired by Brian Koetser, London
Private collection
Anonymous sale, London, Phillips, 25 October 1988, lot 58
Where acquired by Johnny Van Haeften Limited, London, on behalf of
Seymour and Zoya Slive, Cambridge, MA, until 2023
Sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 26 January 2023, lot 123.


The Connoisseur 170 (April 1969), p. 235, reproduced
The Connoisseur 171 (May 1969), p. XLIX, reproduced (advertised with Vanderkar Gallery)
C. Brown, "Jacob van Ruisdael at the Fogg," in Burlington Magazine CXXIX (1982), p. 193
B. Haak, Hollandse schilders in de Gouden Eeuw, Amsterdam 1984, p. 381, reproduced fig. 806 (as "Isaack van Ruysdael?" and incorrectly dated 1646)
E.J. Walford, Jacob van Ruisdael and the Perception of Landscape, New Haven and London 1991, p. 51 (as incorrectly dated 1646)
J. Giltaij, "The Problem of Isaack van Ruisdael (1599-1677)," in Burlington Magazine CXXXIV, no. 1068 (March 1992), pp. 180-182, reproduced fig. 32
S. Slive, "A Newly Discovered Painting by Isaack van Ruisdael in Philadelphia," in Burlington Magazine CXXXIX, no. 1135 (October 1997), pp. 690-692, reproduced fig. 43
S. Slive, Jacob van Ruisdael: A Complete Catalogue of his Paintings, Drawings, and Etchings, New Haven and London 2001, pp. 615-616, under cat. no. dub10, note 1, reproduced fig. dub10c and dub10d.
H. Schaftenaar, “Isaack van Ruisdaels Gezicht op Naarden (1645)”, De Omroeper, Historische Tijdschrift voor Naarden, 2003, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 19-24, illustrated.
M. Sitt, P. Biesboer,, eds., exh. cat., Jacob van Ruisdael: De Revolutie Van Het Hollandse Landschap, Hamburg, Kunsthalle, 18 January–1 April, 2002 & Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, 27 April–29 July, 2002, pp. 50-51, cat. no. 1.


London, Dennis Vanderkar Gallery, Spring Exhibition, May 1969 (as a view of Egmond).
Cambridge, Massachusetts, The Fogg Art Museum, 1993-94, lent by Professor Seymour Slive.
Jacob van Ruisdael: De Revolutie Van Het Hollandse Landschap, Hamburg, Hamburg Kunsthalle, 18 January – 1 April, 2002 & Haarlem, Frans Hals Museum, 27 April – 29 July, 2002, cat. no. 1.


This attractive canvas, signed and dated 1645, is one of the few works that can be securely attributed to Isaack van Ruysdael.  It depicts a quiet corner of the artist’s hometown of Naarden.  A woman lays out washing to dry on the grass at the centre of a well-tended garden courtyard, with neatly cut sandy paths running through it and post and rail fencing.  Another woman draws water from a well, while a man enters through a small gate on the right.  The garden is bounded by a range of houses and outbuildings.  Rising in the background against a cloud-filled sky is the distinctive square tower of the Grote Kerk, or Saint Vitus Church.  The whole scene is broadly painted in a restrained colour scheme of mellow browns and greens. 

Isaack van Ruisdael (sometimes spelt Ruysdael) belonged to a family of craftsmen and painters.  His father Jacob Jansz de Gooyer (c. 1560-1616) was a cabinet maker, as was his eldest brother Jacob Jacobsz de Gooyer (c. 1594-1656), who continued his father’s trade and was the first of his brothers to assume the name van Ruysdael, or van Ruisdael.  His youngest brother Salomon van Ruysdael (c. 1600/3-1670), was a landscape painter and Isaack’s son Jacob van Ruisdael (1628/29-1682) became the greatest landscape painter of the Dutch Golden Age.  Isaack’s own artistic career, however, has been largely overlooked.  He apparently trained as a painter, but he registered as an art dealer in the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke and was also active as a framemaker.  He is mentioned variously in contemporary documents as a framemaker, art dealer, painter and designer of tapestry cartoons (Patroonmaker). 

Writing in the eighteenth century, the artists’ biographer Arnold Houbraken remembered him only as a “maker of ebony frames” (Ebbenhoute lystemaker), although he mentioned him elsewhere as the teacher of the landscape painter Isaac Koene (1637/40-1713), which strongly implies that Isaack had been a painter[i].  The inclusion of paintings by Isaack in inventories dated 1636, 1668 and 1669, as well as in the two wills of his son Jacob van Ruisdael[ii], also attests to his activities as a painter.  Various attempts were made towards the end of the nineteenth century to attribute a few works bearing the monogram “IVR” to Isaack van Ruisdael, which had previously been ascribed to his famous son Jacob van Ruisdael, but it was not until 1935 that the art historian Kurt Erich Simon first set about assembling Isaack’s somewhat elusive oeuvre[iii].  Christopher Brown (1982), Jeroen Giltaij (1992), and Seymour Slive (1997, 2000) continued this work nearly half a century later, and today a small corpus of works can be securely ascribed to Isaack’s hand[iv].  The present painting, which has come from the collection of the distinguished Ruisdael scholar Seymour Slive, has been one of the key benchmarks in this endeavour as it not only bears a clear signature and date, but also displays the characteristic features of his work: namely, the large-scale format, the broad handling of paint and warm, subdued palette. 

Naarden is a small town situated about 20 kilometres south-east of Amsterdam on the Zuider Zee (now called the Ijselmeer).  Isaack’s father Jacob settled there in the 1590s and it was the birthplace of all his children.  Although Isaack and Salomon van Ruysdael moved away from Naarden in the early 1620s and settled in Haarlem, they must have maintained links with their hometown, where their eldest brother Jacob continued to live until his death in 1656.  The town is not only the subject of the present work, but also features in paintings by Salomon van Ruysdael, dated 1642, in the Art Institute of Chicago[v], and by Jacob van Ruisdael, dated 1647, in the  Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, in Madrid[vi]


The framemaker, art dealer and painter Isaack Jacobsz de Gooyer was born in Naarden, in Gooiland, in 1599.  His father was the well-to-do Mennonite joiner Jacob Jansz de Gooyer (c. 1560-1616), originally from Blaricum, who settled in Naarden in the 1590s and owned several properties in the town.  Isaack had three brothers, Jacob (c. 1594-1656), Pieter (c. 1596-1644) and Salomon (c. 1600/3-1670), and a sister Grietje.  The eldest brother Jacob remained in Naarden all his life and continued the family’s cabinet-making business.  He was the first of the brothers to abandon the family name de Gooyer (someone who was born in the Gooi region in the province of North Holland was called a Gooyer) and adopt the name Ruysdael, probably after the country manor Ruysdael, or Ruisschendaal, near his father’s hometown.  Pieter, who retained the name “De Gooyer”, moved to Alkmaar, where he prospered as a linen merchant.  Around 1623, Isaack and his youngest brother Salomon left Naarden and moved to the flourishing artistic centre of Haarlem, where Salomon entered the painters’ Guild of St. Luke.  Although the guild records indicate that Isaack  trained as a painter, he was also active as an art dealer and a framemaker.  He did not register in the guild until 1634 and then he did so as an art dealer.  Both Salomon and Isaack soon adopted the new family name Van Ruysdael.  Like their father, both Salomon and Isaack remained true to the Mennonite faith. 

On 12 November 1628, a widower just twenty-nine years old, Isaack married Maycken Cornelisdr, a young woman from Haarlem.  The exact date of birth of Isaack’s son Jacob (1628/29-1682), who later changed the spelling of his name to Van Ruisdael, is unknown, but on 9 June 1661 Jacob declared himself to be thirty-two years old, from which it can be deduced that he was born between June of 1628 and 1629.  Thus, he could have been the child of Isaack’s first wife, whose name in unknown and who may have died in childbirth, or that he was the child of Isaack’s second wife.  At the time of Jacob’s birth, the family was living on the Smedestraat.  Before 11 August 1631, they moved to the Oude Gracht.  After Maycken’s death, Isaack married Barbaertje Hoevernaels, a young woman from Haarlem, on 9 March 1642.  Isaack and Barbertje were living on the Zijlstraat when their daughter Maria was born in 1643.  Isaack moved at least twice more: before 8 September 1644 from the Zijlstraat to the Ridderstraat and after February 1653 from the Ridderstraat to the St. Pietersstraat.  Isaack is mentioned frequently in the documents in the years between 1628 and 1646.  It is clear from these that he constantly experienced financial difficulties and was frequently in debt.  After 1646, his son, Jacob van Ruisdael, was never short of work and was able to lend him money, which he did on a number of occasions.  In 1656, Isaack received a bequest of 100 guilders from his eldest brother Jacob Jacobsz van Ruysdael, who died that year.  Isaack died in Haarlem in 1677 and was buried in the Nieuwe Kerk on 2 October[vii]

[i] See literature: J. Giltaij, 1992, p. 182.

[ii] J. Giltaij, ibid., p. 180-181.

[iii] K. E. Simon, “Isaack van Ruisdael”, The Burlington Magazine, 67, 1935, p. 7-23. 

[iv] Other paintings by Isaack van Ruisdael include View of Egmond aan Zee from the Dunes, 1645, oil on canvas, 96 x 132 cm, F. J. Philips collection, Eindhoven; View of Egmond aan Zee from the Shore, signed in monogram IVR, on canvas, 87 x 130.5 cm, in a private collection; View of Weesp and the Vecht at Dusk, signed and dated IVRuisdael 1645, on canvas, 106.7 x 151.2 cm, Michaelis Collection, Cape Town; and River Scene with Barges, Houses and a Limekiln, signed in monogram, on canvas 76 x 105 cm, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, inv. no. W1902-1-20.

[v] Salomon van Ruysdael, River Landscape with a View of Naarden, signed and dated 1642, on panel, 59.7 x 85.1 cm, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, inv. no. 2016.434. 

[vi] Jacob van Ruisdael, View of Naarden with the Church at Muiderberg in the Distance, on panel, 34.8 x 67 cm, signed and dated 1647, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, Madrid, inv. no. 1930.99. 

[vii] Biographical information drawn largely from the biographies of the various members of the van Ruysdael/Ruisdael family in Painting in Haarlem 1500-1850: The collection of the Frans Hals Museum, 2006, pp. 281-293 and also from E. John Walford, Jacob van Ruisdael and the Perception of Landscape, New Haven-London, 1991, pp. 4-6.