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Wednesday 29 June 2016

Abraham Genoels' etching, “Le Pays Stérile”

Abraham Genoels (aka Archimedes; Abraham II Genoels; Abraham Genoel; A.G.) (1640–1723)
“Le Pays Stérile” [Barren Countryside] (1675–1691), from a series of six landscapes published by Adam François van der Meulen (1632–90)
Etching on fine laid paper trimmed within the platemarks, but showing some of the lettered publication details
Size: (sheet) 13 x 15.5 cm
Lifetime impression (?); state ii (of ii)
Lettered in the lower margin (partly trimmed): "A. Genoels fe." and "V.Meulen, ex. Cum privilegio Reg."
The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Landscape with cascading river in the centre, trees to the right, rocks and mountains in the background; from a series of six prints showing landscapes” (
Regnault-Delalande 1817 149.33; Weigel 1843 211.33.II; Hollstein 33.II; Bartsch 5.33 (4.345), p, 322

Condition: strong and well-inked impression trimmed close to the margin line. The sheet is in excellent condition apart from very faint traces of red lines that are virtually invisible to the naked eye. Verso has surface sheen from traces of glue.

I am selling this very rare old master etching from the 17th century for a total cost of AU$159 (currently US$117.96/EUR106.71/GBP88.12 at the time of posting this print) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this etching exemplifying the principles of classical landscape drawing, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Although this finely executed etching by Genoels displays many of the attributes associated with classical landscape composition—especially the arrangement of trees and rocks on the left and right sides framing a view into the far distance following the course of a stream—what puzzles me about such an image by a Flemish master is that the countryside that he portrays is not part of his home region.

From my recent experience of seeing the city and surroundings of Antwerp, where Genoels was born, trained and died, the countryside does not have the Alpine peaks that he represents, even if there seems to be an abundance of streams. No doubt Genoels travelled far beyond Antwerp and may have ventured into rugged terrain similar to which he has drawn, but I suspect that the images that he found most pleasure in portraying were those that he was not accustomed. In short, like most artists, he drew everything that he was not.

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