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Abraham Lion Zeelander

(1789–1856, Amsterdam)

Picturesque Landscape with Half-timbered House by a Pond. Etching after A. Brondgeest. 30.6 x 34.2 cm. Circa 1830.

The Amsterdam-born reproductive engraver Abraham Lion Zeelander studied at the local art academy under the draughtsman and etcher Jakob Ernst Marcus (1774–1826). His printed œuvre comprises a number of engravings after paintings by 17th century Dutch masters as well as some pieces after works by contemporary artists. In his brief biography of the artist Nagler also records a set of six landscapes made after his own inventions.

According to Nagler the present landscape, after a painting by the Amsterdam painter Albertus Brondgeest (1786–1849), who was roughly the same age as Zeelander, is one of the artist’s most important works (Neues Allgemeines Künstler-Lexikon, Vienna 1924, vol. 25, p. 209). The etching exists in two states. On the trial proof before all letters, the sky, the clouds and details of the terrain and the pond in the foreground are still incomplete. Zee­lander employed an intricate and extremely painstaking etching technique in order to bring out all the differences in texture between the vegetation and the structure of the masonry and the roof of the picturesque farmstead. The dense cross-hatching patterns and the use of parallel lines create vibrant light effects which are particularly evident in the trial proof. Bright sunlight falling from the left illuminates the side wall of the farmhouse and catches the ground and the water of the pond in the left fore­ground. The silhouette of a tall tree stands out starkly against the sky. On the left, two travellers are emerging from behind a row of bushes, while in the foreground a young girl is drawing water from the pond. The contrast between the blank, still untreated parts of the composition and the minutely rendered landscape lends the peaceful scene a peculiar fascination and reinforces the Romantic mood of this paysage intime. As distinct from the trial proof the final version looks more conventional and is less atmospheric.

Superb, sharp and contrasting impressions with narrow margins around the platemark. Minor discoloration and foxing, otherwise in excellent condition.

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