At the age of sixteen, Wouterus Verschuur first took part in the 'Tentoonstelling van Levende Meesters', an important exhibition of paintings by living artists which was alternately held in the large Dutch cities during the 19th Century. From the beginning of his career, Verschuur's fine paintings of horses were recognized as demonstrations of how to paint the noble animals in their rural environment and in stable interiors. Three years after this first exhibition, he was awarded two consecutive golden medals at the society Felix Meritis, in the 1831 and 1832. In 1832 he also became a member of the Koninklijke Academie in Amsterdam and in 1839 of Arti et Amicitae.
The Dutch romantic artists founded their artistic values on 17th Century art. Achieving the standard of the great painters of the Golden Age, both in subject as as technique, was considered the greatest possible accomplishment. Specializing in specific subjects, Verschuur chose to focus almost exclusively on horses which he often placed in the centre of his compositions. Verschuur studied the work of predecessors such as Philip Wouwerman (1619-1668), Pieter Gerardus van Os (1776-1839) and Cornelis Steffelaar (1797-1861). Wouwerman had devoted himself to the acurate depiction of the stances, musculature and shiny coats of horses. Verschuur made copies of paintings by Wouwerman, reproducing various details in other works. Van Os taught Verschuur how to depict the specific movements of the horses.
Verschuur's unusual competence is clearly visible in the present lot. In the centre of the composition he has placed three sturdy and able-bodies workhorses, each with a different colour, grouped around water and hay. The horses are given a well deserved moment of rest by their owners after a day of hard work. The whole scene is bathed in warm diffuse light.
The present painting was acquired by a prominent European collector in the 1880's and is now being offered for sale by a direct descendant. It is the first time in over 100 years that this astonishing work has returned to The Netherlands.