Cottages along a wooded road


Guillam DU BOIS

Haarlem 1625 – 1680 Haarlem

Cottages along a wooded road

Black and red chalk; dark brown ink framing lines.

134 x 189 mm (5-1/4 x 7-1/2 in)

WATERMARK: none. (R5)
CHAIN LINES: vertical, 22-24 mm.
PROVENANCE: Jacob de Vos Sr., his sale, Amsterdam, de Vries, Roos, 30-31 October 1833.

J. A. G. Weigel, Leipzig, his sale, Stuttgart, H. G. Gutekunst, 8 May 1883.

Belmon collection, Amsterdam, 1967.

Hans van Leeuwen, Amerongen (L. 2799a), his sale, Amsterdam, Christie’s, 24 November 1992, lot 56, acquired at the sale.

LITERATURE: Giltay 1977, p. 152, fig. 11.
EXHIBITIONS: Cat. Bonn/ Saarbrucken/ Bochum 1968-9, no. 38.

Cat. Utrecht 1978, no. 18.

Robinson, Franklin W. and Peck, Sheldon. Fresh Woods and Pastures New: Seventeenth-Century Dutch Landscape Drawings from the Peck Collection. Chapel Hill/ Ithaca/ Worcester. 1999-2001. Published catalogue.

Guillam Du Bois is one of the most interesting landscape draftsmen active in the middle years of the 17th century.  He was a member of the Haarlem guild by 1646, and in 1652-53 he traveled in Germany with Dirk Helmbreker, Cornelis Bega, and Vincent Laurensz van der Vinne.  This drawing in red and black chalk is typical of the artist at his best:  the low, heavy cottages hugging the ground contrast with the short, staccato strokes of the trees and grass.

In many ways, Du Bois is a transitional figure;  he responds to early landscapists, such as Salomon van Ruysdael, Jan van Brosterhuisen, and Pieter Molyn, but is clearly influenced by Jacob van Ruisdael, Salomon’s nephew.  Jacob’s dense and heavy paintings and etchings of the late 1640s, with their gnarled and twisting trees and impenetrable underbrush, are close to Du Bois’s less monumental, but equally intense, and intimate forest and village scenes.

Jeroen Giltay (op. cit.) dates this drawing to c. 1647 on the basis of a closely related painting, dated 1646, in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

Remarkable similarities in the nature and orientation of the paper, framing lines and old mounting suggest that the two Du Bois drawings here are from the same period in the artist’s work and that they may have had a shared provenance in the 17th and 18th centuries.