The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by Dr Jan de Meere.
The grandparents of the present owner (by 1924); thence by descent
Petrus van Schendel studied at the Academy of Antwerp under the tutelage of Jan van Bree. Blending the romantic with the neo-classical, he specialised in nocturnal Dutch market scenes where he explored the subtle and theatrical effects of candle and lamplight on the human face and body. Van Schendel was clearly influenced by seventeenth century northern masters of light, collectively known as Utrecht Caravaggisti and who included Gerrit van Honthorst (1592-1656), Hendrick ter Brugghen (1588-1629) and Dirck van Baburen (1594/5-1624), but no doubt also by the chiaroscuro techniques of the eighteenth-century English painter Joseph Wright of Derby (fig. 1).
The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 & 14 Mason's Yard, Duke Street, St James's, London SW1Y 6BU:
UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE
The artist's panel is providing a secure structural support.
The paint surface has an even varnish layer.
Inspection under ultra-violet light shows very small, scattered spots and lines of inpainting which are most concentrated in the dark shadows beneath the table in the lower left of the composition, some very small spots on the dress of the standing woman in the centre of the composition and in the sky in the upper left of the composition. There are other small scattered retouchings.
There are other areas, particularly in the dark shadows of the foreground, that fluoresce unevenly under ultra-violet light but I am confident that these are not retouchings and do not fluoresce in a manner consistent with retouching. Paintings by Schendel invariably fluoresce unevenly under ultra-violet light due to his use of very thin layers of glazing which give the depth to very dark shadows of most of his compositions.
The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition and no further work is required. "This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."