Jacob Jan Julius
Storm van 's Gravensande


When the Moon Shines


Signed, Oil painting on panel

44 x 38 cm (53.5 x 47.5 cm)


This is a very rare work by artist and aristocrat J.J.J. Storm van ‘s-Gravensande, of whom only two other paintings have appeared on the art market in recent times. 

The painting successfully evokes a profoundly mysterious mood and atmosphere: the great towering storehouses and soaring dark clouds look like something out of a German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. The young nobleman has – with immaculate artistic taste – given a depth to the painting: the warehouse on the left is given its character and individuality because its moon-lit facade contrasts with the shadow-enveloped area on the right and the bluish buildings that recede into the background. There is a gentle cascade rushing forth from the wheels of the water mill and a woman – accompanied by two other figures – fills her bucket with water from the canal. The overall effect of the painting is strengthened by the warm red-hot light that comes through the portal of the factory which the water mill powers. When we consider the age of the artist when he made this painting – Jacob was only 23 or 24 years old – it becomes even more impressive.

Jacob was born as the son of Jhr. Carel Jan Julius Storm van ‘s Gravesande (1791-1853) and his wife Anna Maria (née Poppenheim Tot Unistate). He grew up in Huis Kiefskamp, a castle in the village of Vorden, Gelderland. He developed himself as a draughtsman, artist and sculptor and was capable of working in various genres. Here he follows in a tradition set by Aert van der Neer (1603-1670) and his contemporary Petrus van Schendel (1806-1870). 

He was not the only member of his family to take up the arts: his relatives Carel Nicolaas Storm van ‘s Gravesande (1841-1924) and Jhr. Jean Louis Storm van ‘s Gravesande (1861-1931) would also become noted painters. 

Huis Kiefskamp: the 18th-century castle where Jacob grew up and where he might well have painted this picture.
Portrait of Jacob at a later age.


 Leiden Private Collection