Monday, 30 October 2017

Karel Dujardin’s etching, “Shepherdess Speaking to Her Dog”, 1653


Karel Dujardin (aka Karel Du Jardin; Carel Dujardin; Carel du Jardin; Bokkebaart) (1626–1678)
“Shepherdess Speaking to Her Dog” [La Bergère Parlant à son chien] (TIB title), 1653.

Etching on laid paper trimmed along the image borderline on the sides and bottom and well within the borderline at the top edge.
Size: (sheet) 16.2 x 21.9 cm
The state number of this impression is difficult to determine as the plate inscriptions which would help in the determination have been removed. Nevertheless, based on the quality of the impression this is not an early state, but the impression is better than some of the later states held by the BM; see: http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/collection_online/search.aspx?searchText=J,28.54.

Hollstein 31.III (Hollstein, F W H, “Dutch and Flemish etchings, engravings and woodcuts c.1450-1700”, Amsterdam, 1949); Bartsch 1.183.31 (Bartsch, Adam, “Le Peintre graveur”, 21 vols, Vienna, 1803); TIB 1.31-1(183) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatles [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol.1, p.176)

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Landscape with a seated shepherdess and her dog, facing front and looking down at the dog, a tree in shadow at left, a resting cow and three sheep at right, behind a fence the ground rises into the distance, the slope is dotted with groups of trees and shrubs, a large house on the hilltop at right”

Condition: crisp and well-printed impression, trimmed along the image borderline on the sides and bottom and well within the borderline at the top edge. There are replenished losses at the upper corners and the lower right corner. The sheet is laid upon a conservator’s support sheet of fine washi paper.

I am selling this quietly beautiful etching of a shepherdess having a deep and meaningful chat with her dog for AU$132 (currently US$101.34/EUR87.04/GBP76.96 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this rarely seen print in today’s art market, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.



There are so many features in this print that could be discussed. See, for example, the amazing treatment of foliage in the distant trees or the empathy that Dujardin must have felt with rural folk to portray a shepherdess absently talking with her dog. Rather than the clearly very special features such as these, I have decided to discuss something that to me is the hallmark of a great artist: the insightful way that Dujardin employs contour strokes to render the form of the tree on the far left.

What I find very revealing about Dujardin’s contour strokes on this tree is not just that the lines pictorially “wrap” around the tree trunk in elliptical curves to “explain” the girth of the trunk, but that the lines are arranged in changing elliptical patterns matching the changing viewpoint in which the trunk is seen; viz, “downward” curved elliptical contours at the base; almost horizontal contours at eye-level; “upward” curved elliptical contours at the top.







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