108
108
Jacob Cats
A COW IN A FIELD, FACING RIGHT
Estimate
3,5004,500
LOT SOLD. 3,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT
108
Jacob Cats
A COW IN A FIELD, FACING RIGHT
Estimate
3,5004,500
LOT SOLD. 3,750 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Old Master Drawings

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New York

Jacob Cats
ALTONA 1741 - 1799 AMSTERDAM
A COW IN A FIELD, FACING RIGHT
Black chalk, within black chalk framing lines;
bears old attribution in black chalk, verso: J. Cats and numbered and dated by the artist in brown ink, verso: N 399 inv / 1783
112 by 141 mm; 4 1/2  by 5 1/2  in
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Sale, Amsterdam, Sotheby Mak van Waay, 21 March 1977, lot 144;
with Richard Day, London,
from whom acquired by the present owners in 1978

Exhibited

Boston, St. Botolph Club, A Selection of Dutch 18th Century Drawings and Watercolors from the Gordon Collection, 2003, no. 4

Literature

J.S. Turner, 'Jacob Cats and the Identification of a "Pseudo-Goll van Franckenstein" Numbering System', Master Drawings, XXVIII, no. 3 (Autumn 1990), pp. 324 and 330, fig. 7, reproduced

Catalogue Note

When previously offered at auction in 1977 (see Provenance) the distinctive numbering, in pen and brown ink, to the verso of this drawing, was mistakenly ascribed to the prominent 18th Century Dutch collector, Johann Goll van Franckenstein, who inscribed drawings from his own collection with a similar numbering. Subsequent scholarly research, undertaken by Jane Turner (see Literature), has revealed that the numbering present on this drawing in fact belongs to Jacob Cats, whose drawings, Turner notes, "are frequently signed, dated and inscribed on the verso by the artist" with the inscriptions "sometimes accompanied by an arabic numeral, usually preceded by a large "N," in the same hand".

The grounds for this theory, which is relevant to about a third of Cats' known drawings, was substantiated in part by this drawing and a pendant study, in The Pierpont Morgan Library, depicting A cow grazing in a field, facing left.Both drawings are numbered and dated on the verso, in the same distinctive hand, N 399 inv / 1783 and N 398 inv / 1783 respectively. Furthermore both studies are preparatory for two closely corresponding, highly finished watercolors, by Cats, in the Rijksprentenkabinet, Amsterdam,3 which are signed and dated 1783, but as Turner notes "are not numbered".

Turner goes on to suggest that the numbered drawings may have formed part of some kind of pattern-book, from which clients would select compositions and motifs to be worked up into finished drawings and watercolors.  The numbering system appears to be more or less chronological, allowing an approximate dating of any numbered but undated studies.

For further information on Cats and his inscriptions and numberings, see L.A. Schwartz, 'The "Thoughts" ("Gedagten") of Jacob Cats', Delineavit et Sculpsit, XXXI, December 2007, pp. 57-77.

1. Turner, op.cit., p. 324
2. New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library, inv. no. 1982.104
3. Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet, inv. nos. RP-T-1953-296 and RP-T-1953-295

Old Master Drawings

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New York