Adriaen van de Velde
- Adriaen van de Velde
- A rider by resting herders
- Black chalk on vellum;
signed with initials and dated, lower right: A.V.V. / 1664
A.W.M. Mensing, Amsterdam, his sale, Amsterdam, F. Muller, 27-29 April 1937, in lot 746;
sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 17 December 1968, lot 270;
sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 10 June 1975, lot 85;
sale, Amsterdam, Christie's, 14 November 1994, lot 69
A. van den Eerenbeemd, 'Adriaen van de Velde. De italianisierende tekeningen. Een onderzoek naar de herkomst van enkele motieven', PhD dissertation, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, 2000, p. 64, cat. nr. 5;
idem, 'De italianisierende tekeningen van Adriaen van de Velde', Delineavit et Sculpsit 30, 2006, p. 50, no. 64;
B. Cornelis and M. Schapelhouman, Adriaen van de Velde. Dutch Master of Landscape, exh. cat., Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, and London, Dulwich Picture Gallery, 2016-17, p. 92, under no. 15, reproduced, fig. 107.
As the beautifully selected and catalogued monographic exhibition on the artist, recently held at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the Dulwich Picture Gallery, so clearly demonstrated, throughout his brief career, Adriaen van de Velde used drawings in his creative process in an almost Italian way that was rather different from most of his Dutch contemporaries. He drew brilliantly, and apparently constantly. Though his surviving drawn oeuvre is not particularly large, the numbers and variety of studies that he made for certain specific compositions make it very clear that he thought his painted works out as he went along, through drawings. There are rapid sketches in pen and ink, often with wash, superb red chalk studies of individual figures – often counterproofed so that the figures could be reused in reverse in other paintings – and occasionally highly finished independent drawings such as this.
Yet although this drawing was surely made as a finished work, it relates closely to one of Adriaen’s most celebrated paintings, the Landscape with Cattle and Figures, also dated 1664, in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge1, demonstrating once more how original was Adriaen’s approach to the relationship between drawings and paintings. Though the horizontal format of that painting is, of course, entirely different from that of the drawing, the central figure group is none the less extremely close to that seen here, though in reverse. The other major difference is that the tree that is the central pivot in the drawing is absent from the central group in the painting, appearing instead at the far right of the much wider composition, although this tree does appear in the centre, between the rider and the seated woman, in another, smaller version of the painting, formerly in the S. de Jonge Collection, Paris.2
Adriaen developed the Cambridge painting through a preparatory drawing for the whole composition, last seen in a sale in 1941.3 He must also have made individual chalk studies for the main figures, and perhaps also for the whole composition; one such compositional study could have been counterproofed, to provide the basis for the present drawing, while a counterproof of a lost study for the rider very likely served as the inspiration for the similar figure, in reverse, at the centre of the artist’s celebrated late painting, The Hut (1671), in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.4
Finished, signed drawings in black chalk on vellum were made in some numbers in Holland in the mid-17th century, though more often by genre artists than landscapists. One notable exception to this rule is Paulus Potter, a significant proportion of whose surviving landscape drawings are executed on vellum5, but otherwise only a handful of works of this type are known, such as the unique sheets in the oeuvres of both Jan Baptist Weenix (1641; Vienna, Albertina6) and Karel Dujardin (1660; Private Collection).
Just one other drawing of this type by Adriaen van de Velde is known, a signed and dated sheet of 1657, very similar in format to this, which was also formerly in the Goldschmidt collection7, and remained together with the present drawing until the 1975 sale, after which it formed part of the exceptional group of drawings by Adriaen van de Velde in the collection of Jacobus A. Klaver, in Amsterdam.8
This fine work by Adriaen van de Velde is both a great rarity and a superbly accomplished drawing, demonstrating once again how varied and brilliant a draughtsman he was.
1. Inv. no. 88; see Cornelis and Schapelhouman, op. cit., cat. 15
2. HdG 55
3. Sale, Munich, Weinmuller, 20-21 May 1941, lot 897; Cornelis and Schapelhouman, cit., p.92, fig. 108
4. Inv. SK-A-443; Cornelis and Schapelhouman, op. cit., cat. 30
5. See Paulus Potter, paintings, drawings and etchings, exhib. cat., The Hague, Mauritshuis, 1994-5, pp. 38-53, and cat. nos. 32, 33, 36, 38
6. Inv. 9560; see M. Bisanz-Prakken, Drawings from the Albertina. Landscape in the Age of Rembrandt, exh. cat., New York, The Drawing Center, and Fort Worth, The Kimbell Art Museum, 1995, no. 34
7. Sale, Frankfurt-am-Main, Prestel, 4-5 October 1917, lot 589
8. Sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 10 May 1994, lot 52