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Frederik de Moucheron

(1633 Emden – 1686 Amsterdam)

Wide southern landscape with a small waterfall, in the foreground a traveller talking to an artist as he draws; Southern landscape with a water mill, in the foreground two hunters shooting duck. Graphite, pen and grey ink, brush drawing in grey. Each 31.2 x 26.5 cm. Both signed: “Moucheron fecit”.

The large, pictorially composed and fully signed sheets were clearly designed by the artist as companion pieces. This is evi­­denced by the identical rendering, the matching format and the carefully arranged pictorial axes which ensure an elegant compositional harmony. Frederik de Moucheron studied under Jan Asselijn and his approach to landscape was greatly influenced by Asselijn’s Italianate style. Moucheron probably never visited Italy himself. Between 1655 and 1658, however, he travelled to France, where he made numerous landscape studies in the Alps to the north of Grenoble. In 1659 the artist settled in Amsterdam.

Both the present drawings probably date to the period after Moucheron’s return to the Netherlands. In stylistic terms they differ considerably from the studies made during his trip to France which are freer and of a more painterly character. The very careful and concentrated drawing style would indicate that they were made around 1670 and, given their tech­nical perfection, it can be assumed they were intended for sale. The delicate and consummate penwork, which comes into its own in the rendering of the vegetation in the foreground, gives the composition coherence and brings out the highlights. The artist demonstrates considerable skill and accuracy in reproducing the shrubs, reeds and tree stumps. The motif of the two intersecting tree trunks in the bottom right-hand corner of the second sheet recurs in similar form in a drawing from the artist’s late period in Hamburg (see A. Steffes. Niederländische Zeichnungen 1450–1850. Kupferstichkabinett der Hambur­ger Kunsthalle. Cologne-Weimar-Vienna 2011, Vol. I, No. 694, pp. 394–395). The gentle, picturesque hilly landscape in the middle ground, the mountain ranges on the horizon and the light cloudy sky are rendered with soft strokes of the brush which give the scene great atmosphere. Moucheron’s drawings from this period and of this artistic quality are rare.

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