Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)

Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)

Jacob van Kouwenhoven (Rotterdam 1772 – 1825 Rotterdam)

A Stormy Landscape with a Turbulent River in Rain

Pen and brown ink, grey wash, black ink framing lines, 195 x 239 mm (7.7 x 9.4 inch)

Signed and dated 'Kouwenhoven / 1800' (pen and brown ink, recto) and ‘J. van Kouwenhoven. fecit.’ (pen and black ink, verso)

- Maximiliaan Anne Michiel ’s-Gravesande Guicherit (1814–1890), Delft1
- Private collection, The Netherlands


The little-known artist Jacob van Kouwenhoven was born in Rotterdam iand trained with the landscape painter B.P. Ommeganck in Antwerp.2 Kouwenhoven was furthermore influenced by Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, who he must have studied closely and sometimes copied, for instance the works of Paulus Potter and Aelbert Cuyp. He taught painting and drawing in his home town. He was an early practitioner of the novel medium of lithography, which were awarded a silver medal by the Nederlandsche Huishoudelijke Maatschappij in 1814. In 1817 he travelled to Germany and Switzerland, where he drew several landscapes, on which oil paintings were based on his return to Rotterdam. His daughter was a talented artist of flower drawings.

Kouwenhoven appears to have been attracted by the Romantic effects of turbulent weather. The slashing rain is brilliantly conveyed in the present drawing by a masterly application of the grey wash. A painting of an ‘onstuimige zee’ (‘rough see’) only known from a brief entry in a sale catalogue of 1816, may have exhibited similar atmospheric effects.3

Drawings by Kouwenhoven are exceptionally rare, less than a handful are known. A Study of a Ram and an Ewe behind a Fence in a Landscape, dated 1808, is preserved in the British Museum, London (see last fig.),4 a Birch-Lined Path is in the De Grez collection at Brussels,5 and a View of a Ruined Church by a Canal was with Kate de Rothschild, London, in 1979.6


1. ’s-Gravesande Guicherit was regent of the Hofje van Pauw, Delft. His portrait, painted by H.W. Schmidt in 1847, is preserved in the Museum Het Prinsenhof, Delft. See exh. cat. Burgers van Delft, Delft (Museum Het Prinsenhof) 1970, cat. no. 162.

2. For the artist, see A.J. van der Aa, Biographisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden, vol. 10, Haarlem 1862, pp. 374-75. See also H.C.M. Marres-Schretlen and R. Meijer, ‘Steendrukkers werkzaam in Nederland vóór 1840’, in: Lithografie in Nederland. Speciale uitgave van De Boekenwereld (= De Boekenwereld 15, 1998, no. 1), pp. 142-146.

3. ‘Eene onstuimige zee, door J. Kouwenhoven, p. h. 18 b. 22.’, anonymous sale, Leiden (Carré), 2 August 1816, no. 162.

4. Black chalk, 226 x 338 mm; despite the rather surreal appearance of the drawing, it is signed, dated and inscribed ‘Na ’t Leven geteekent [drawn from life]… I.V. Kouwenhoven 1808’ on the verso, inv. no. 1846,0509.234.

5. Pen and brown ink, grey wash, 195 x 247 mm, Musée Royaux des Beaux Arts, Brussels, collection De Grez, Inventaire des dessins et aquarelles donnés à l’État Belge par Madame la Douairière De Grez, Brussels 1913, no. 2074.

6. Pen and brown ink and wash, 175 x 228 mm, signed on the versoJ. van Kouwenhoven’, cat. Old Master Drawings, June-July 1979, no. 26.

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Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
Jacob van Kouwenhoven (1772–1825)
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