Dulwich Picture Gallery II


Dutch School DPG153

DPG153 –A Woman buying Game

Second half 17th centuy; canvas, 46.6 x 36.8 cm

?;1 Bourgeois Bequest, 1811; Britton 1813, p. 19, no. 192 (‘Upper Room: West / no. 13, Landscape – Man & Woman with dead game C[anvas] Gonzales’; 2'4" x 2').

Cat. 1817, p. 4, no. 37 (‘FIRST ROOM – West Side; A Lady purchasing Game of an old Man; Gonzales’); Haydon 1817, p. 373, no. 37;2 Cat. 1820, p. 4, no. 37 (Gonzales); Cat. 1830, p. 12, no. 237; Jameson 1842, ii, p. 481, no. 237 (Gonzales Cocques);3 Denning 1858 (Pedro Ruiz Gonzalez);4 not in Denning 1859; Sparkes 1876, p. 40, no. 237 (G. Coques), Richter & Sparkes 1880, p. 62, no. 237 (Dutch School);5 Richter & Sparkes 1892 and 1905, p. 39, no. 153; Cook 1914, pp. 91–2, no. 153; Cook 1926, p. 86, no. 153 (Dutch School, 17th century); Cat. 1953, p. 19 (Dutch School); Murray 1980a, p. 300 (Dutch School (?)); Beresford 1998, p. 295 (Dutch School); Jonker & Bergvelt 2016, p. 316 (Dutch School, circle of Jacob Ochtervelt); RKD, no. 281858: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/281858 (March 27, 2018).

Fine plain-weave linen canvas. Reddish-brown ground. Glue-paste lined; the original tacking margins are missing. Parts of the surface are very worn. There is a very fine network of craquelure over the paint in a predominantly hexagonal pattern, and the central area has slight cupping. The young woman’s face has been altered slightly in the past and still bears remains of overpaint. The varnish is discoloured with a greyish bloom. Previous recorded treatment: 1980, examined, National Maritime Museum; 1988, examined, Courtauld Institute of Art; 1990, flaking secured, surface cleaned and back cleaned, keys secured, N. Ryder.

1) Jacob Ochtervelt, A Fishmonger at the Door, signed and dated J. Ochtervelt / 1663, canvas, 55.5 x 44 cm. MH, The Hague, 195 [1].6

It is unclear whether this was originally intended merely as a genre scene, or had more erotic connotations: there is a long tradition in Dutch art and literature of seeing double entendres in such scenes, especially in the triangle man–woman–bird.7

The painting's condition, with much of the top layer gone, makes a full assessment impossible. The forms of the figures – the elongated woman with a small head, the game dealer, and the little dog – show some similarities to the work of Jacob Ochtervelt (1634–82): the small head of the young lady tilting forward, the long, elegant body that sways back slightly, and the bald, bearded poultry seller resemble those in A Fishmonger at the Door in The Hague (Related works, no. 1) [1]. Susan Kuretsky, however, saw very little resemblance to Ochtervelt’s work.8 There is no greater similarity to any of Ochtervelt’s other works, and an outdoor scene is unusual for him. When the painting entered the collection it was called ‘Gonzales’, probably referring to Gonzales Coques (1614/18–84), as Mrs Jameson in 1842 already assumed, but this cannot be substantiated.

More recently, RKD curator Ellis Dullaart suggested there may be a connection to some paintings by Jacob Toorenvliet (1640-1719), datable to the 1670s. She points at multiple correspondences in terms of composition, subject, costume and position of the young female figure, with for instance The butcher’s shop at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna [2] and Man selling fish to a customer, offered for sale at Christie’s New York in 2012 [3]. The facial type of the servant in the background, additionally, resembles that in An old woman with vegetables, dated 1677, from an American private collection [4]. Since up to now, no original painting by Toorenvliet has come to light that could have served as the direct example for the Dulwich painting, Dullaart suggests to catalogue the painting as: circle of Jacob Toorenvliet.

Dutch School
Woman buying game, second half 17th century
canvas, oil paint 46,6 x 36,8 cm
Dulwich (London), Dulwich Picture Gallery, inv./cat.nr. DPG153

Jacob Ochtervelt
Fishmonger at the door of a distinguished house, dated 1663
canvas, oil paint 55,5 x 44 cm
upper right : J. Ochtervelt / 1663
The Hague, Koninklijk Kabinet van Schilderijen Mauritshuis, inv./cat.nr. 195

Jacob Toorenvliet
Market scene with butcher and customer, dated 16[77]
canvas, oil paint 55 x 59 cm
lower left : J Toorenvliet Inventor et Fecit A° 16[77]
Vienna, Kunsthistorisches Museum, inv./cat.nr. GG 1725

Jacob Toorenvliet
Man selling fish to a customer, c. 1675, mogelijk first half zeventig (pendant 167. (dated))
canvas, oil paint 32,5 x 42 cm
lower center : JToornvliet fec
Christie's (New York City) 2012-06-06, nr. 87

Jacob Toorenvliet
An old woman with vegetables, dated 1677
copper, oil paint 22 x 17,4 cm
: 1677
Private collection


1 GPID (11 Oct. 2012) does not give anything for Jacob Ochtervelt or Gonzales Coques before 1811.

2 A Lady purchasing Game of an old Man. An old man is seated surrounded by game; and a lady, with a female attendant, holding a bird in her hand, is appearing to calculate its value; they are carefully drawn, and naturally coloured.’

3 ‘This is a very pretty little picture, delicately painted; but hardly a fair specimen of the power of Gonzales […] His works are very rare, and little is known of him.’

4 ‘Pedro Ruiz Gonzalez […] Mrs Jameson attributed it however to Gonzalez Cocques. […] But this is a Spanish picture. [Pedro Ruiz Gonzalez was a] native of Madrid […] 1633–1709.’

5 ‘Formerly ascribed to Gonzalez Coques, a Flemish painter, but the picture certainly belongs to the Dutch School.’

6 RKD, no. 24881: https://rkd.nl/en/explore/images/24881 (March 26, 2018); Giltaij 2004, pp. 262–3, no. 73 (E. Korthals Altes); Buvelot 2004, pp. 226–7, no. 195; Kuretsky 1979, p. 70, no. 41, fig. 123; dated by Kuretsky c. 1667–8.

7 De Jongh 1968–9; English transl. De Jongh 2000b.

8 Susan Kuretsky, the Ochtervelt specialist, considered that Gabriel Metsu (1629–67) was closer: email to Michiel Jonker, 5 March 2012 (DPG153 file). Study of the Metsu material, however, did not give any clue. Betsy Wieseman in an email to Michiel Jonker on 3 March 2012 (DPG153 file) said: ‘Clearly it is not by Ochtervelt (although not unrelated, as you suggest).’

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