Jacob van Ruisdael elevated landscape painting to the level of high art. Recording the familiar wooded hills, flat farmlands, and coastal dunes of the Netherlands, his work went beyond the topographic accuracy of earlier generations to achieve a sense of the monumental grandeur of nature. His extraordinary powers of observation were wedded to a Baroque inventiveness that endowed his works with an unparalleled dramatic force.

Among his most highly valued works, Ruisdael’s rare marine paintings reveal the scope of his genius, as they convey the transitory and changeable face of nature. Rough Sea at a Jetty represents the approach of a violent storm. The scene is taken from a jetty that extends a considerable distance into the sea. At the end is a rustic beacon to guide distressed ships into harbor. Two men with long poles stand, ready to come to the aid of a vessel striving to make port through the tempestuous winds and waves that threaten its approach. The beacon appears in Dutch emblem books as a symbol of salvation in time of peril.


  • Title: Rough Sea at a Jetty
  • Creator: Jacob van Ruisdael
  • Date Created: 1650s
  • Physical Dimensions: 38 3/4 x 51 3/4 in. (98.5 x 131.4 cm)
  • Provenance: (Hoogeveen et. al. sale, van de Linden and de Winter, Amsterdam, 5 June 1765, no. 36 ); purchased for 214 Dutch florins by (Pierre Fouquet, Amsterdam) for Gerrit Braamcamp [1699-1771], Amsterdam; (his sale, de Bosch, Amsterdam, 4 June 1766, no. 6, as by Dubbels); bought in, 160 Dutch florins, for Braamcamp; (his sale, van de Schley, Amsterdam, 31 July 1771, no. 198); purchased by (Pierre Fouquet) for 264 Dutch florins. (Paillet and Coclers, Paris); (their sale, Paris, 26-27 August 1801, no. 17); sold to (or bought in by) Louis-François-Jacques Boileau for 1460 francs. (Jaufret, et al. sale, Paillet and Delaroche, Paris, 18-25 April 1803, no. 199); purchased for 1601 francs by Sigismund Ehrenreich, Graf von Redern [1761-1841]. Marquês de Marialva, probably Pedro José Joaquim Vito de Menezes, 6th marquês de Marialva and 8th count of Cantanhede [1765-1823], Portugal; his heirs, Portugal; purchased for 9000 francs (£360) by (John Smith, London), 1824; purchased for £500 by Robert Bankes Jenkinson, 2nd earl of Liverpool [1770-1828], 1826; (his sale, Christie’s, London, 25 March 1829, no. 76); purchased for £530.5 for Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 3rd marquess of Lansdowne [1780-1863], Bowood House, Calne, Wiltshire; by descent to his son, Henry Petty-FitzMaurice, 4th marquess of Lansdowne [1816-66], Bowood House, Calne, Wiltshire; by descent to his son, Henry Charles Keith Petty-FitzMaurice, 5th marquess of Lansdowne, and 9th lord Nairne [1845-1927], Bowood House, Calne, Wiltshire; by descent to his son, Henry William Edmond Petty-FitzMaurice, 6th marquess of Lansdowne, and 10th lord Nairne [1872-1936], Bowood House, Calne, Wiltshire; by descent to his son, Charles Hope Petty-FitzMaurice, 7th marquess of Lansdowne, 11th lord Nairne [1917-1944], Bowood House, Calne, Wiltshire. Probably his sister, Katherine Evelyn Constance Petty-FitzMaurice Bigham, Lady Nairne [1912-1995], Bignor Park, Pulborough, Sussex. (Possibly Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, c. 1950-55). Possibly private collection, England. (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London, by 1977); Charles C. Cunningham [1910-1979], Boston, 1977; probably his heirs; purchased by (Artemis, London), 1988; (French and Company, Inc., New York); purchased by Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 1989.
  • Rights: Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas
  • External Link: www.kimbellart.org
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Japanese: Dutch
  • Century: 17th century
  • Artist Dates: (1628/29–1682)

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