Farmstead with trees by a road



Rotterdam c. 1628 – 1654 Rotterdam

Farmstead with trees by a road

Pen and brush in brown ink; trace of gray ink framing line at lower border.

110 x 158 mm (4-3/8 x 6-1/4 in).

WATERMARK: none. (R10)
CHAIN LINES: vertical, 24-27 mm.
PROVENANCE: From an 18th-century French album formerly in the British Museum, dispersed in 1943.

Francis Springell, Portinscale, his sale, London, Sotheby’s, 30 June 1986, lot 33.

Adolphe Stein, London – Paris, 1988.

Acquired 1988.

LITERATURE: Hind 1943, p. 128.

Wegner 1967-8, p. 53.

Sumowski 1981, vol. 4, p. 2262-3, no. 1028xx.

EXHIBITIONS: Cat. London 1988, no. 23, plate 15.

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.

In many ways, Rembrandt is the central fact of 17th century Dutch art.  The sheer range of his subjects, from portraits to religious scenes, animals, peasant life, landscapes, and ancient history and mythology, the quantity of his output, the social and intellectual circles he moved in and was inspired by, his international reputation, and the number and quality of the students he attracted—all these factors made him the key figure in the art of his time.

One of the finest of his students was Abraham Furnerius, who was the brother-in-law of Philips Koninck, another Rembrandt pupil and landscapist.  Furnerius, who died at age 26, seems not to have made any paintings or even any drawings aside from landscapes.  This sheet was taken from an album of 82 leaves, which was broken up in 1943; the British Museum acquired 65 leaves, with 252 drawings.  The style is typical of Furnerius, with its long thin tree trunks with no branches at the bottom and then a mushroom-like burst of foliage spreading out; a drawing in the Museum Boymans – van Beuningen, Rotterdam (inv. no. R95), is especially close to this work.

This side view of the farm compund, with a line of trees on the left, is an interesting variation of this subject; the drawing seems to have been cut slightly at the top and bottom, making the foreground fence harder to read.  This fence is reminiscent of similar devices used by Rembrandt, for example, in his so-called winter landscape in the Fogg Museum, Cambridge (inv. no. 1932.368), and the etching of a cottage with a white paling, dated 1648 (Bartsch 232), soon after Furnerius would have studied with the master.