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 Jacob Isaacksz Van Ruisdael  (1628 - 1682)

/ RIZE-dahl/
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Lived/Active: Europe/Netherlands      Known for: realist landscapes, painting

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Ad Code: 1
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
A VIEW OF BENTHEIM CASTLE FROM THE NORTH-WEST
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Jacob Isaacksz Van Ruisdael was born in Haarlem in the Netherlands in 1628 or 29 to a frame maker who also dabbled in painting. His uncle, Salamon Van Ruysdael (who spelled the name with a y) who was a noted landscapist may have taught the young Jacob. In the early 1650s Ruisdael made what may have been his only extended journey, to the border region of Germany and the Netherlands and painted the more rugged landscapes he discovered there. Shortly afterwards he decided to move to Amsterdam, which, though barely ten miles from Haarlem, offered much broader commercial and cultural advantages. In 1676 he graduated as a doctor of medicine at Caen and later practiced at Amsterdam. He never married, possibly so that he could devote more time to his ailing father, who died in 1682, probably in Amsterdam, but was buried in Haarlem.

Ruisdael's work as a printmaker was confined to the first decade of his career, and during this period he produced only thirteen etchings. As far as any of the other details of his life are concerned, no conclusive records were ever kept. Not a single line written by him has survived. Not much in his early life corroborates the likely suggestion that he studied with his uncle. The evidence that he studied medicine and then worked as a surgeon in Amsterdam as well as a painter is inconclusive. One thing is certain: the pathetic account that he died a pauper is wrong. It has been established that it was his cousin who spent the last weeks of his life in Haarlem's almshouse after going insane. The value of Ruisdael's personal possessions when he died was appraised at two thousand guilders, not a sign of poverty, but hardly a fortune.


Written and submitted by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher from Laguna Woods, California.

Sources include:
John Ashbery in Newsweek, February 15, 1982
Seymour Slive in Harvard Magazine, January-February 1982
Catalogue of Timken Art Gallery

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