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    Sale 2801

    19th CenturyEuropean Art

    14 October 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 269

    Andreas Schelfhout (Dutch, 1787-1870) and Joseph Jodocus Moerenhout (Belgian, 1801-1874)

    Ice fishing: hauling in the nets on a winter's day

    Price Realised  


    Andreas Schelfhout (Dutch, 1787-1870) and Joseph Jodocus Moerenhout (Belgian, 1801-1874)
    Ice fishing: hauling in the nets on a winter's day
    signed and dated by both artists 'A. Schelfhout f 1840/Jos Moerenhout 27/6' (lower right)
    oil on panel
    59 x 77 cm.

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    The present lot is a surprising composition by Andreas Schelfhout. In the majority of his paintings staffage is a decoration for his landscapes. His views of Dutch winter landscapes are worked out to the smallest details: the frozen water is depicted with the reflections, cracks and scratches which one can find in real life. His figures are also worked out beautifully, but they are often placed further towards the horizon, because he frequently applied a bird's-eye-view in order to portray a large part of the landscape.

    However, through his collaboration with Joseph Jodocus Moerenhout the figures in the current lot are no longer just embellishments but have become the subject of the painting. Unlike Schelfhout, for Moerenhout figures were the leading theme of his compositions. The emphasis on the figures was maintained because Moerenhout would paint his works seen from a lower point of perspective than Schelfhout, depicting his figures from eye-height and closer to the picture plane.

    The current painting is a wonderful merging of the techniques of both artists. The dark threatening sky forebodes a coming snowstorm and grey tones are coarsely applied to accentuate the cold conditions of a day on the ice. The anatomical correctness of the animals is remarkable with all the muscles and sinews just below their skin visible.

    What is so striking about the present lot is that the figures and the landscape are not two separate features, but can be considered as one. The positioning of figures complements the landscape in its perspective. In the landscape the various lines are positioned in such a way that the vanishing point is almost centred, just left of the small house. Furthermore, the vanishing point is stressed by the diagonal cracks in the ice. The group of figures is positioned exactly in front of this point, at the converging of the diagonals. But the true unification of the two artists is in the frozen waterway: Moerenhout's staffage is reflected in Schelfhout's ice, fusing both artist's particular qualities into one masterpiece.

    Special Notice

    Christie’s charges a premium to the buyer on the Hammer Price of each lot sold at the following rates: 29.75% of the Hammer Price of each lot up to and including €20,000, plus 23.8% of the Hammer Price between €20,001 and €800.000, plus 14.28% of any amount in excess of €800.000. Buyer’s premium is calculated on the basis of each lot individually.


    Anonymous sale, M. Diederiks, The Hague, 21 November 1983, lot 106. Kunsthandel Simonis & Buunk, Ede, 1985.
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's, New York, 20 February 1992, lot 193.
    Leslie Smith Gallery, Wassenaar, 1995, where acquired by the present owner.


    Pieter A. Scheen, Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars 1750-1950, The Hague 1981, ill. 379, as: Vissers op het ijs.
    Willem Laanstra, Andreas Schelfhout, 1787-1870, Amsterdam 1995, cat.no. W 1840-2, p. 75, ill., as: Vissers op het ijs.