The reputation of Wouterus Verschuur as the quintessential Dutch painter of horses in 19th Century is comparable to that of Philips Wouwerman (1619-1668) in the 17th Century. During his apprenticeship under Dutch Romantic masters Pieter Gerardus van Os, (1776-1839) and Cornelis Steffelaar (1797-1861), he studied Wouwermans work extensively and his influence is unmistakably evident throughout his oeuvre.
From the onset of his career Verschuur had resounding success. In 1828, at the tender age of sixteen, he already achieved his first artistic milestone and exhibited, together with other contemporaries, at the 'Tentoonstelling van Levende Meesters' (Exhibition of Living Masters). His career went from strength to strength, winning the Felix Meritus prize in both 1831 and 1832 and joining the Royal Academy of Amsterdam in 1833. He was well respected and admired by his peers for his technical skill and he taught a number of successful artists, most notably Anton Mauve (see lots 170, 171 and 179).
Verschuur's reputation as a highly-praised and extremely accomplished artist was based on his remarkable attention to detail which enabled him to form compositions of near tangible reality. His artistic skill, executing with meticulous verisimilitude the flesh and muscles of his animals, gave form to an oeuvre of true quality.
The present lot is a fine example of his mature painterly style. His masterful use of color, light and shadow adds both depth and sophistication, highlighting some choice elements of the composition. The intimacy of the scene, the close-knit group of the figure tending to his horses by the stable, is countered by a sweeping view in the background. Verschuur uses these contrasts to enhance the overall dramatic effect of his composition. The present lot contains all the elements that not only made his work sought after by international collectors and connoisseurs in his own day, but which has sustained Verschuur's reputation until the present as one of the greatest equestrian painters of the 19th Century.