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The Tooth-Puller. Etching after Theodor Rombouts. 30 x 39 cm. Wurzbach 6, Hollstein 7. Watermark: Bunch of grapes with lily (Heawood 2332–34, Paris 1631).
The small printed oeuvre of the Flemish draughtsman and etcher Andries Pauwels comprises various series of illustrations on religious, biblical and other themes as well as individual works showing historical and genre scenes. The composition of the present print is derived from a painting by Pauwels’ contemporary Theodor Rombouts (1597–1637, Antwerp), of which three versions are known (see B. Nicholson, Caravaggism in Europe, Oxford 1979, vol. III, nos. 1013–4). The very precise and minutely executed etching is a perfect illustration of the stylistic features of the art of this Antwerp Caravaggist. Picturesque and elaborately composed scenes of this kind, which could almost have been taken from a theatrical play, enjoyed great popularity among northern Caravaggist painters in the 1620s–30s. The image’s charm lies in the lively gestures and varied play of expressions. The merits of Pauwels’ art as an etcher are particularly apparent in the excellently observed still life of randomly arranged medical tools, sealed letters and different phials and receptacles. The print was published by the Antwerp publisher Anton Goetkint, who was later active in Paris under the name of Bonenfant. The French verses in the text margin indicate that the work was probably intended for the market there (for a more detailed analysis of the iconography see Ger Luijten, Spiegel van Alledag. Nederlandse genreprenten 1550–1700, Amsterdam 1997, p. 221–225).
A very fine, sharp and even impression with margins around the platemark. Slight aging, otherwise in perfect condition.