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Boys Fishing. Point of brush in brown ink. 17.2 x 25.3 cm. Numbered “N°2068” in pen and brown ink verso.
Johann Conrad Seekatz came from a family of artists in the Palatinate and began training under his father, who was a court painter in Leiningen-Westerburg. From 1748 to 1752 Seekatz was apprenticed to the Mannheim court painter, Philipp Hieronymus Brinkmann, and then immediately appointed to the court of Landgrave Ludwig VIII in Darmstadt. He started out as second court painter there in 1753 while simultaneously producing works for a broad clientele interested in small, Dutch-style paintings. It was probably during the years he spent in Darmstadt that Seekatz developed a predilection for genre scenes in a still distinctly Rococo spirit. The artist continued to exploit the wide range of opportunities this artistic discipline afforded until the early 1760s and consolidated his reputation in the process. Included in his repertoire were scenes from everyday bourgeois life – realistically portrayed “natural and innocent scenes” incorporating numerous depictions of children, which were praised by Goethe no less, as well as scenes from peasant life.
The present delightful composition is based on an oil painting by Seekatz which was formerly in the possession of Prince Alfred von Ysenburg-Büdingen (see L. Bamberger: J.C. Seekatz, Heidelberg 1916, fig. p. 64). The artist has rendered the rustic scene accurately and with loving attention to humorous anecdotal detail. The whole radiates a carefree lightness and natural lyricism that are typical of the German Rococo period. The artist’s fluent and seemingly effortless brushwork enables him to make even the tiniest detail appear three-dimensional and realistic. The effective use of the light paper tone creates a warm, luminous chiaroscuro. Two stylistically very closely related genre scenes are in the collection of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (inv. nos. 247a, 247b).Contact us for further information