Arnold Houbraken (1660-1719), a Dutch biographer of artists' lives, wrote the following about Droochsloot: "Meest al dat hy gemaakt heeft verbeelt Boere kermissen, waar men koekkramen ziet, weerzyts de huizen van de Dorpbuurt, en de keuken in het verschiet. En wat de beeltjes aanbelangt, daar van kan men zeggen: Dazte alle schynen als in eene vorm gegoten."1 Although Houbraken was slightly harsh in his conclusion, we now know that Droochsloot was a versatile and prolific painter. He was active in Utrecht, where he became a member of the Guild in 1616, and worked there until his death in 1666. In 1620 he bought a house, which he paid for in paintings, over a period of twelve years. Over the years, a number of pupils were apprenticed to him, including his son Cornelis Droochsloot (1630-after 1673) and Jacob Duck (1600-1667) (see lot 41 in this sale). In his early career, Droochsloot painted moral allegories, biblical and historical subjects2, and even a number of self portraits, such as the one sold in these Rooms, 7 May 2008, lot 69.
It is, however, for his popular cheerful village scenes, which he produced in large amounts from the 1630s onwards, of which this picture is a beautiful example, that he is most celebrated.
This grand and colourful village street scene is one of Droochsloot's largest and most successful pictures. It was painted in 1628, relatively early in the painter's career. The design is typical, with a broad panoramic village street leading into the distance with houses on both sides, and the scene is filled with an enormous amount of activity. In this early painting, the figures are meticulously and firmly drawn, and their costumes and accessories rendered in great detail, in contrast to the more laboured and monochrome inhabitants of his later canvases. Two figures stand out in particular: the elegant and richly dressed couple in the centre, though seen from the back, are an unusual sight in Droochsloot's world, which is more typically filled only with peasants in raggedy clothes, often befitting their boozy behaviour.
1. "He mostly painted Peasant Fairs, with cake sellers, the houses of the Dorpbuurt on both sides, and the kitchen in the distance. As for the paintings: they may be said to have been painted according to a set pattern." A. Houbraken, Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en schilderessen, Amsterdam 1721, vol. III, p. 226.
2. See for example his Disbanding of the Waardgelders by Prince Maurits in Utrecht, 31 July 1618, in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (inv. no. A 606).
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale