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Billowing clouds hover over a hillside as a family stops in the center to gather sticks.

The dramatic sky takes up more than half of the painting as a man collects sticks on the ground along the horizon. A young boy holds the horse that’s carrying bundles of sticks. A mother in a long dress, white apron, and hat holds a baby, a girl sits on the ground with her back to the viewer, a yellow dog is curled up behind her, another dog runs downhill on the right. A horse pulls a man and cart up the hill on the lower left.

Gallery Text

Wouwerman was the leading Dutch painter of horses during the 17th century. This painting was probably executed relatively early in the artist’s career. At the center is a white horse in the company of a family of humble means. Despite the simplicity of the scene, contrasts of color and motion are at play between the dark horse pulling a carriage up a hillside and the white horse waiting for more sticks to be loaded onto its back. Wouwerman arranged the hillside, horses, and figures to form a diagonal composition, employing a low vantage point to open up more than half of the canvas to the sky and its soft, silvery clouds. These formal and tonal characteristics enhance the emotional and evocative tenor of the painting.

Identification and Creation

Object Number
Philips Wouwerman, Dutch (Haarlem, Netherlands 1619 - 1668 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Landscape with Wood Gatherers
Other Titles
Former Title: La famille de bûcherons
Former Title: Landscape with Woodcutters
Work Type
Persistent Link


Level 2, Room 2300, European Art, 17th–19th century, Seventeenth–Century Dutch and Flemish Art
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Physical Descriptions

Oil on panel
35 × 39.3 cm (13 3/4 × 15 1/2 in.)
framed: 55 × 59.5 cm (21 5/8 × 23 7/16 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: recto, lower center: signature
  • label: verso, lower left, typed: Figures on a Mountain by / P. Woverman (1614-1668), signed / Canvas 15 1/2" X 13 3/4" From [Cromerton] / Court, Gloucester.
  • inscription: verso, lower left, black stencil: 219XH
  • label: verso, middle, serrated edges with green printed text: 9815
  • label: verso, upper right, handwritten text: PAINTED BY PHILIP WOUVERMANS / (signed) / PURCHASED AT THE SALE AT / COMERTON COURT GLOUCESTERSHIRE
  • seal: verso, upper right, red wax: [illegible shield]
  • inscription: verso, bottom of frame: 8538


Recorded Ownership History
Comerton Court, Gloucestershire. Probably by descent; to Sir Harold Augustus Wernher (1893-1973), London, sold [through his sale, Christie, Manson, and Woods, Ltd., London, June 27, 1975, lot 73]. [Samuel Nystad Oude Kunst B. V., The Hague, 1976]. [Ader, Picard, Tajan, Paris, April 14, 1988, lot 80]. [Johnny Van Haeften, Ltd., London], sold; to Peter and Anne Brooke, Boston, 1988, gift; to Harvard Art Museums, 2016

Acquisition and Rights

Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Gift of Peter and Anne Brooke
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art

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Publication History

  • Important Pictures by Old Masters, auct. cat., Christie, Manson and Woods, Ltd. (London, June 27, 1975), p. 69, lot 73, repr.
  • Exceptionnel Ensemble de Tableaux Anciens, auct. cat., Ader, Picard, Tajan (Paris, April 14, 1988), p. 111, lot 80, repr.
  • Birgit Schumacher, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668): The Horse Painter of the Golden Age, Davaco Publishers (Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 2006), p. 417, cat. B56
  • Birgit Schumacher, Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668): The Horse Painter of the Golden Age, Davaco Publishers (Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 2006), plate 565

Exhibition History

  • 32Q: 2400 French/Italian/Spanish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/14/2017 - 01/10/2018
  • 32Q: 2300 Dutch & Flemish, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/17/2018 - 09/25/2019; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 10/01/2019 - 01/01/2050

Verification Level

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