A winter's evening signed and dated 'FMKruseman ft 1846' (lower right) oil on panel 55 x 70cm (21 5/8 x 27 9/16in).
PROVENANCE: Purchased from Galerie Saint-Jacques, in Charleroi, Belgium, c. 1955 Private collection
The present lot was painted in 1846 during the artist's first spell of living in Brussels. He lived in a house on the Kruisvaartenstraat which was in a suburb of the main city and so he had good access to the surrounding countryside. This was a constant source of inspiration to the artist who used not only the frozen waterways as subjects but also the ruined monuments, abbeys and houses which he made detailed studies of and then used in his compositions. A winter's evening is a good example of this with the dominant tower overlooking the icy landscape animated by the figures below.
Kruseman lived in Brussels for two separate periods in his life and the city is closely intertwined with his fortunes. It was a place where the Dutch artistic influence was still strong and the expanding middle class was creating a better demand than in his native Holland. Two years before the execution of the present lot the artist had visited France where he would have been exposed to the work of the more progressive artists of the Barbizon School. It was during this time after that trip, when the landscape tradition was splintering into various groups that Kruseman committed himself to the tradition of Koekkoek and the Dutch Romantic School.
The hallmarks of Frederik Marinus Kruseman's mature style for his winter scenes are all present by the time he painted A winter's evening: the ruins of a large tower, the carved tracks in the ice, the reeds and willow trunks frozen in place, the leafless trees set against the sky with the suggestion of a city in the distance and the characters going about their daily business. By this time Kruseman had found a formula which sold well and one which he remained faithful to throughout his career.