Petrus van der Velden

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

Marken Funeral Barge

Quadrant: Four themes of Petrus van der Velden, 20 October 2006 – 25 March 2007

This watercolour was a preparatory study for a larger oil painting of the same subject. The family and friends of the dead fisherman have come out to meet the body as it is transported along the canal towards the village of Marken. In the barge accompanying the body are the fisherman’s wife and children. Van der Velden has used wet washes of colour to create a hazy, atmospheric study of the scene. In particular, the group of figures on the canal bank have been painted freely, with the wet washes bleeding into each other.

earlier labels about this work
  • Between 1871 and 1874 Petrus van der Velden completed a large series of paintings on the people of Marken in Zuyder Zee. This watercolour belongs to a major part of this series that depicts the events surrounding the funeral of a drowned fisherman. Marken Funeral Barge follows the conventions of the 19th-century Dutch realist school, which focused on the lives of peasants and country villagers. Van der Velden has used very wet washes of colour to render the atmospheric effects of the scene. Born in Rotterdam, Van der Velden gave up his business as a lithographer in 1867 and began to paint marine subjects. The following year he registered at the Rotterdam Academy of Art, and a year later at the Academy, Berlin. In 1890 he emigrated to Christchurch, New Zealand, with his family. They lived in Sydney from 1898 to 1904, then returned to New Zealand. (Label date unknown)