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Willem Hekking

(1796–1862, Amsterdam)

Study Sheet with Hazel Nuts (Corylus colurna). Watercolour. 12.8 x 20.4 cm.

The artist demonstrates considerable painterly sensitivity in his depiction of the delicate brown and green tones of the hazelnut fruit. The bizarre shapes of the frayed, dentate fruit shell are likewise rendered with evident pleasure. Soft, warm light brings out the three-dimensional quality of the nuts and makes them almost tangible. The original and appealing mise-en-page heightens the visual impact of this delightful sheet.

The Dutch painter, Willem Hekking, who is now forgotten, was born the son of the wallpaper painter, Theodorus Hekking (1766–1819), in Amsterdam in 1796. Hekking was apprenticed to Anthony van den Bosch and initially worked as a wallpaper painter like his father. Later on, however, he was active mainly as a draughtsman and watercolour painter, making a name for himself between 1813 and 1838 with still lifes of flowers and fruits. This modest, reverent study is a charming testimony to Dutch Romantic painting.

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