Petrus van der Velden

Netherlands / Aotearoa New Zealand / Australia, b.1837, d.1913

Winter Evening In Holland, Rijnsburg

  • Presented by Mrs Richmond Fell, 1960
  • Watercolour
  • 134 x 273mm
  • 69/69
  • c. 1888
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Quadrant: Four themes of Petrus van der Velden, 20 October 2006 – 25 March 2007

In this watercolour Van der Velden depicts the small village of Rijnsburg in the grip of winter. He has focused on the harsh existence experienced by the villagers, showing a huddled figure making their way across the frozen fields towards the houses. Using the same vantage point as Gathering Beet, Village of Rijnsburg, the dark and brooding sky adds to the sombre, cold feel of the snow-blanketed scene. Van der Velden used a loose, spontaneous and expressive treatment of the watercolour medium; wet washes of colour create an atmospheric effect of the departing evening light.

earlier labels about this work
  • Van der Velden has here captured the harshness of country life in the small Dutch village of Rijnsburg in the middle of winter. The dark, brooding sky adds to the feeling of bitter cold. The painting is typical of the 19th century Dutch realist school, which focused on the lives of the peasants and country villagers. The sombre tones Van der Velden has used were those popular with the painters of the Hague School but his brushwork has the looser style that was being explored by many artists at the end of the 19th century.

    Born in Rotterdam, Van der Velden was a lithographer but went on to paint marine subjects. He and his wife, Sophia, emigrated to Christchurch in 1890 and he began the paintings of the Otira Gorge region for which he has become so well-known. Finding it hard to make a living here, Van der Velden went to live in Sydney but in 1904 returned to New Zealand and died here.

    (Label date unknown)