L’ Écluse by Johan Bartold Jongkind (1819-1891) shows us a haystack on the left and a sluice with a house in the central part of the painting. It is a nice calm day with the sunlight reflecting on the water and birds flying by in the sky.
The Dutch painter Johan Bartold Jongkind is seen as one of the forerunners of Impressionism. He left for France at a young age. His work is an important link in the transition to this style. The impressionist painter Claude Monet counted Jongkind as his teacher.
In an interview from 1900, published in Le Temps, Monet said in a retrospect:
"His painting was too new and too artistic to be appreciated in 1862 (the year Monet and Jongkind met for the first time). No one was as modest and withdrawn as he was. He asked if he could see my sketches, invited me to come and work with him, explained the how and why of his method, and thereby completed the lessons I had already received from Eugène Boudin."
Because of his influence on French impressionist painters Jongkind is seen in France as a French master, although he was born in the Netherlands.
Jongkind possessed an intuitive quality. His mastery lies in the suggestion of mobility and tingling of water and light. He made oil paintings in the studio often after drawings and watercolours that he usually created en 'plein-air'. Often Jongkind provided his drawings of a date and the place where he had worked, a valuable source of information for the dating and positioning of his works. On this canvas he has written the title L'Écluse. The drawing that could give an exact determination of the location has unfortunately not yet been discovered and may have been lost. It is assumed that he made the sketch for this painting between 1855 and 1860 when he lived in Rotterdam and often stayed in Klaaswaal with his sister in the vicarage. It seems that this Dutch scene with a haystack on the left and a sluice with a house in the central part of the painting was in the vicinity of Rotterdam, for example, along the Schie or in the Hoekse Waard.
Jongkind travelled back with his sketches and drawings to Paris where he painted this picture in 1863. L’ Écluse is a freely and poetically handled painting and is a great example of Jongkind’s skills.
V. Hefting, Jongkind : sa vie, son oeuvre, son époque, Paris 1975 no 264 repr.
Exposition de tableaux par J.-B. Jongkind, 1921 Galeries Georges Petit no 15
Jongkind 1819-1891, Galerie Schmit, Parijs, 1966, cat. no. 13 repr.
Johan Barthold Jongkind 1819-1891, 1982/83 exposition Dordrecht Tokyo Nagasaki, Mie, no.25 reproduction in color.
J.J. Carnaud, his sale 31 march 1911, Paris Hotel Drouot, lotno. 23;
Galerie Georges Petit
Gallery Boussod Valadon
Private collection Paris
Art Gallery M.L. de Boer, Amsterdam
Private collection The Netherlands