Tuesday, 6 June 2017

'Dutch School" shepherdess is a good workshop copy of Paulus Moreelse

Vanderkindere, from Belgium, sells on 14 June 2017 a "Dutch School, 17th century" shepherdess, estimated at 5,000 to 7,000 Euro.

The very attractive painting is a copy after Paulus Moreelse (1571-1638), the undisputed master of this kind of work. The original was (or is?) part of the collection of art dealer Agnew's in London; I have no idea of the current whereabouts.

He used the same model in a few other similar works from ca. 1630 as well, no idea if she has been identified (e.g. Rubens often used his own wife as a model). They are probably among the most erotic Dutch paintings of the Golden Age (excluding the really hard-core stuff like some of Rembrandts drawings), and illustrate the division which existed then already between the strict protestantism / Calvinism which lead to things like the Icnoclasm, and the bourgeois hedonism and intellectual freedom which lead to all kinds of good things like these paintings, and excesses like the Tulip Mania. The same usually happy marriage of on the one hand regions famous for nearly unlimited freedom (sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll) and on the other and regions where the Tour de France may not pass on a Sunday because it would be a sin still remains one of the quintessential Dutch characteristics to this day.

The version here is not as good as the original, but still a very high quality version, and could easily be described a "workshop" version (a term which seems to be used for any good, close copy, no matter if the artist actually had a workshop or not). A similar sized comparable work was sold at Christie's in 2015 for 119,000 Euro against a 60,000 Euro estimate, and another one at Christie's Amsterdam in 2008 for 70,000 Euro. A much less attractive "workshop" work was sold at Dorotheum in 2012 for 15,000 Euro, which seems like way too much in that case. Another studio work, quite good but in my opinion not as good sa the one we have here, sold at Christie's Amsterdam in 2011 for 8,750 Euro.

I would value this one at 12,000 to 15,000 Euro as a very good studio copy which lacks the finesse of the best real Moreelse works though.

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