Loading

A pleasant sense of ease and harmony pervades this landscape of almost photographic clarity. The large areas of brilliant sunshine and cool shade, the rambling line of the fence, and the beautiful balance of trees, meadow, and river are evidence of the artist's creative synthesis of the actual site. The precision of Constable's brushwork, seen in the animals, birds, and people, lends importance to these smaller details.

Constable was a native of Suffolk, the county just north of Essex. His deep, consuming attachment to the landscape of this rural area is a constant factor in his works. His studies and sketchbooks reveal his complete absorption in the pictorial elements of his native countryside: the movement of cloud masses, the feel of the lowlands crossed by rivers and streams, and the dramatic play of light over all.

The commission for this painting came from Major General Francis Slater–Rebow, owner of Wivenhoe Park, who had been a close friend of Constable's father and was the artist's first important patron. This was not the first work Constable had done for the Rebows; in 1812 he had painted a full–length portrait of the couple's daughter, then aged seven. She can be seen in this painting riding in a donkey cart at the left.

Details

  • Title: Wivenhoe Park, Essex
  • Date Created: 1816
  • Physical Dimensions: w1012 x h561 cm (overall)
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Widener Collection
  • External Link: National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
  • Medium: oil on canvas
  • Theme: topographical, United Kingdom
  • School: British
  • Provenance: Painted for Major General Francis Slater Rebow, Wivenhoe Park and Alresford Hall, near Colchester, Essex; by descent through Mary Martin Slater Rebow and John Gurdon Rebow to Hector John Gurdon Rebow [b. 1846].[1] (Leo Nardus, Suresnes, France, and New York); acquired 1909 by Peter A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania;[2] inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park; gift 1942 to NGA. [1] The names of Mary Martin Slater Rebow and John Gurdon Rebow are from The Getty Provenance Index, and NGA curatorial files. [2] The date of purchase, approximated by William Roberts in Pictures in the Collection of P.A.B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. British and Modern French Schools, privately printed (Philadelphia, 1915), [unpaginated], is given as 1906 in notes written by Edith Standen, the Widener curator, in NGA curatorial files. However, letters between P.A.B. Widener and his lawyer, John G. Johnson, and Nardus and his assistant, Michel van Gelder, indicate that the painting, along with NGA 1942.9.58 and NGA 1942.9.64 (two small heads by a follower of Rembrandt), were part of a restitution swap made in 1909 to settle Widener's claims against Nardus for selling him [Widener] paintings that were not what they were purported to be. This information about Nardus' activities is found in the John G. Johnson Collection Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (specifically Box 5, Folder 5 [Nardus & Van Gelder, Correspondence, 1896, 1902 1910, n.d.] and Folder 6 [Nardus & Van Gelder, Correspondence re fakes. Incl. third party and letters from Johnson]). The correspondence was found and transcribed by Jonathan Lopez, who kindly shared it with the NGA (letter of 24 April 2006 to Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., in NGA curatorial files). Painted for Major-General Francis Slater-Rebow, Wivenhoe Park and Alresford Hall, near Colchester, Essex; by descent through Mary Martin Slater-Rebow and John Gurdon-Rebow to Hector John Gurdon-Rebow [b. 1846].[1] (Leo Nardus, Suresnes, France, and New York); acquired 1909 by Peter A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania;[2] inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park; gift 1942 to NGA.[1] The names of Mary Martin Slater-Rebow and John Gurdon-Rebow are from The Getty Provenance Index, and NGA curatorial files.[2] The date of purchase, approximated by William Roberts in _Pictures in the Collection of P.A.B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. British and Modern French Schools_, privately printed (Philadelphia, 1915), [unpaginated], is given as 1906 in notes written by Edith Standen, the Widener curator, in NGA curatorial files. However, letters between P.A.B. Widener and his lawyer, John G. Johnson, and Nardus and his assistant, Michel van Gelder, indicate that the painting, along with NGA 1942.9.58 and NGA 1942.9.64 (two small heads by a follower of Rembrandt), were part of a restitution swap made in 1909 to settle Widener's claims against Nardus for selling him [Widener] paintings that were not what they were purported to be. This information about Nardus' activities is found in the John G. Johnson Collection Archives at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (specifically Box 5, Folder 5 [Nardus & Van Gelder, Correspondence, 1896, 1902-1910, n.d.] and Folder 6 [Nardus & Van Gelder, Correspondence re fakes. Incl. third party and letters from Johnson]). The correspondence was found and transcribed by Jonathan Lopez, who kindly shared it with the NGA (letter of 24 April 2006 to Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., in NGA curatorial files).
  • Artist: John Constable

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Recommended

Google apps