Sphinx Fine Art
Decker was a pupil of Jacob van Ruisdael, one of the principle exponents of Dutch landscape painting in the second half of the seventeenth century. Van Ruisdael helped to revolutionise landscape painting, moving it away from the ‘tonal phase’ (c. 1620 - c. 1650), associated with the preceding generation of artists such as Jacob’s uncle, Salomon van Ruysdael. Decker’s naturalistic countryside scenes, distinctive colour palette and the massiveness of his trees are clearly inspired by van Ruisdael, who was an innovator in his treatment of trees in particular, giving them important functions in the landscape rather than purely decorative significance.
Decker was also influenced by Jan Wijnants (c. 1635 - 1684) and Philips Wouwerman. Wijnants adopted many of the compositional strategies of van Ruisdael’s forest pictures of the mid-1650s, prominently positioning stark tree-trunks as well as dense clumps of foliage in his paintings. The majority of his works relegate buildings and staffage to the middle distance rather than making them the focus of the picture, in a manner that resembles the pair of paintings seen here, and Decker’s work in general. The landscape paintings of Wouwerman from the 1650s, which also emphasise broad expanses of mainly horizontal landscapes with heightened colour, have discernible parallels with Decker’s paintings.