Wednesday, 26 October 2016

"17th c. Northern School" is a copy after Teniers

Prunier, from France, sells on 13 November 2016 as lot 158 a "Northern School, 17th century" Gardener, a small panel (21 by 19cm) with the engraving it is based on, estimated at 1,500 to 2,000 Euro.


Many similar works can be found, most either an allegory of April or Spring (though one by Sebastiaen Vrancx is, incorrectly I think, given as an allegory of Autumn at the RKD: surely the leaves on the trees are spring-like, not autumn-like?; I added another Vrancx, this time described as Spring, as comparison) or as a moralistic mocking of working people.

The engraving has the text "Scaves ce qui rend le jardinier Gregoire, Si robuste, et content de son petit destin, c'est parce qu'il a soin de se donner à boire, autant et plus souvent qu'aux pkantes du jardin", meaning something like "Know what makes the gardener Gregory, so robust and happy with his little fate; it's because he takes care to give himself to drink, as much and more often still than the plants in the garden". "Gregoire/Gregory" is obviously simply used to rhyme with "boire"...

What the auction house doesn't say, and is invisible on their small  images, is that the engraving is based on a Teniers painting. This could have saved me most work that went into this blog post :-)

Teniers has made many similar images of workers, beggars, madmen, ... shown full-length with a small bit of landscape beyond them; usually moralistic, sometimes more realistic, always interesting. The above is the original of the work for sale, and a similar gardener by him, supposedly an allegory of spring.

The painting for sale is one of many copies after Teniers, and is charming but not particularly good or rare. It will struggle to get the estimate probably.




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