Ashmolean Acquires Landscape by Aelbert Cuyp
November 27, 2004 OXFORD, ENGLAND.
Aelbert Cuyp. Seated Shepherd with Cows and Sheep in a Landscape.
The Ashmolean is delighted to announce the acquisition of Seated Shepherd with Cows and Sheep in a Landscape a painting by one of Europe's most celebrated landscape artists, Aelbert Cuyp (1620-1691). This outstanding work will greatly enrich the growing collection of 17th century Landscape Paintings.
The painting was acquired by private treaty sale with a generous contribution of ?100,000 from the National Art Collections Fund and ?30,000 from the MLA/V&A Purchase Grant Fund.
Born in Dordrecht, Holland, where he worked until the 1660s, Cuyp was primarily known as a painter of pastoral landscapes, which featured animals and river views lit by the early morning light or the warm glow of the setting sun. Forgotten for nearly two generations after his death, he was rediscovered by 18th century collectors from England and his paintings formed a significant place within many private collections.
Seated Shepherd with Cows and Sheep in a Landscape c.1644, reflects an interesting stage in the artist's career when the influence of Jan van Goyen had diminished and he began to find his own individual style. The painting's documented history in England starts in 1834, when it would have featured in the private collection of an 18th century family. After a long period of neglect, damages to the surface, particularly the silvery effects of the light and animated paint in the sky, have been restored to reveal the pristine condition and qualities of the painting.
The fine collection of seventeenth century landscape paintings comprises works by Ruisdael, Claude, Poussin, Jan van Goyen, among others, and represents the history of British taste in this genre of collecting. The acquisition of Cuyp's painting, whose work was highly influential to British artists, will broaden the collection as well as strengthening the Museum's objective to illustrate the evolution of European landscape paintings.
"His influence on the growth of our native landscape school - Wilson Gainsborough, Crome, Constable and Turner was even greater than that of Claude or Ruisdael." Cuyp Catalogue, 1973, National Gallery.