JACOB VAN MOSCHER (Haarlem c. 1605 – after 1650)

Jacob van Moscher

Jacob van Mosscher (Haarlem c. 1605 – after 1650)

Wooded Landscape with Travellers Resting

Oil on panel, 26.5 x 45.5 cm (10 x 17.9 inch)

~ With Brod Gallery, London, 1964
~ With Robert Noortman Gallery, Hulsberg
~ Private collection, The Netherlands

Jan Briels, Vlaamse Schilders in de Noordelijke Nederlanden in het begin van de Gouden Eeuw, Brussels 1987, p. 330, fig. 418 (as Jacob van Geel)


This spontaneously painted landscape with travellers resting under characterful trees has in recent times been identified by the Rijksbureau voor Kunsthistorische Documentatie (RKD) in The Hague as an extremely rare work by the mysterious painter Jacob van Moscher. Previously the painting was known as a work by Jacob van Geel (Middelburg c.1585 – after 1638) – a characteristic landscape by Van Geel is in the collection of the Mauritshuis, The Hague.1 Van Geel’s trees however are even more capricious and individualistic than Van Moscher’s.

Van Moscher is thought to have been active in Haarlem from around 1630, based on the stylistic tendencies observed in his few extant paintings.2 They display the influence of the Haarlem painter Esaias van de Velde (1587–1630), the teacher of Van Goyen. Van de Velde’s landscapes are spontaneously painted and have vibrant colours, characteristics also found in Van Moscher’s works. It is interesting to note that Van Moscher does not seem to have been affected by the tendency towards monochrome painting and the increased concentration on typically Dutch landscapes that developed in Haarlem during this period. It is possible that Van Moscher was a member of the Van Musscher family of artists, and Dr Robert Gerhardt has attempted to identify him with Jacob van Musscher I.3

Around twenty paintings by Van Moscher have been identified to date, including works in the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede, the Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Magdeburg, the Bayerische Gemäldesammlungen, Munich, the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nuremberg and the Staatliches Museum, Schwerin. Our painting can particularly be compared to Van Mosscher’s painting Road near Cottages in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (fig.).4

1. Oil on panel, 15.2 x 25.4 cm, signed and dated 1636, inv. no. 1157.
2. For the artist, see H.-U. Beck, Künstler um Jan van Goyen, Maler und Zeichner, Doornspijk 1991, pp. 318-332 and I.Q. van Regteren Altena, 'I. van Moscher', Oud-Holland 43 (1926), pp. 18-28.
3. R.E. Gerhardt, 'The Van Musscher Family of Artists', Oud Holland 120 (2007) no. 1/2, p. 111.
4. Oil on panel, 50.2 x 65.3 cm, inv. no. DPG16.