Oil on canvas: 24,6 x 32,2 cm 1878
Moulins et patineurs en Hollande was painted in 1865, five years after his return from Holland to France and five years after meeting Mme Joséphine Fesser, a Dutch-born drawing teacher who became his lifelong companion. With contentment and stability in his domestic life and with increased confidence in his professional life Jongkind was able to paint as if liberated from his dark years. As a landscape painter he stepped into the long tradition of Dutch art history, taking his inspiration from great 17th century painters as Jacob van Ruysdael and Jan van Goyen: the low horizon, dramatic cloudy skies, alternating shadows and light. In this winter landscape Jongkind gives us proof of really being the precursor of impressionism. Let us not forget that the first impressionistic Salons in Paris started 9 years later than this painting was made! The richly-impasted textures of snow mounted against the side of the frozen water, the dynamic skaters coming towards us and the linear flight of birds show us his brilliant way of handling paint and composition. The use of colour is sparse but effective.