A marine painter of the Dutch Golden Age, Jan Karel Donatus Van Beeck (or Van beecq) was born in Amsterdam in 1638, and died there in 1722 at the age of 83. Following the French invasion of the United Provinces (which led to the collapse of the art market), he and many other artists left Holland to settle in England, where in 1677 he became a member of the Painter-Stainers Company of London. In 1681, he received an invitation from the Duc de Vendôme to visit Paris, and that year presented a painting to the Académie Royale, of which he became a member on April 26, 1681; he was supported by Charles Lebrun, one of the Académie's founders and patrons. In France, he worked for the king, painting several pictures for his residence at Marly. He was expelled from the Académie in 1694, depriving him of the prestigious title of king's painter, but was readmitted 3 years later. He lived in France until 1714.
Like his contemporaries Willem Van de Velde and Ludolf Bakhuyzen, Jan Karel Donatus Van Beeck painted mainly seascapes, depicting warships and merchant ships at sea and busy harbors lined with buildings of classical architecture. Although his reputation is lesser today, he has not lost his reputation, and his high-quality works seem to us to be as interesting as those of his illustrious contemporaries.
The oil on canvas we have on offer is a perfect demonstration of his art: against a slightly stormy sea, the artist has painted warships flying the English flag against a cloudy sky. One of the ships is in profile, a three-masted vessel, sails billowing in the wind, many sailors on deck, gun ports open to reveal the cannons.
At the center of the composition, a smaller boat is the main element, its large, auric sails and its castle, magnificently sculpted with gilded figures, take up all the light and draw the eye in irrepressibly. It shows us its stern from three quarters astern, equipped with two masts, its rigging appears to be that of a schooner, and its deck is occupied by sailors maneuvering. On the right appears the prow of a ship with sails set on the yards, a few longboats are out to sea and we can make out distant boats on the horizon. We're close to a steep, rocky coast dominated by a few buildings. We're plunged back into the 17th century, and find ourselves dreaming of the exploits of the privateers who, like Jan Bart, conquered the oceans after heroic battles.
Signed lower right by Van Beecq and dated 1691.
The canvas required the installation of a piece on the reverse.
The modern frame is in the Dutch tortoiseshell style, measuring 78 cm high by 110 cm long.
Canvas dimensions: height 65 cm, width 98 cm.
1 200 €
3 800 €