Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam (Zwammerdam 1622/30-1669/79 Leiden)
Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam (Zwammerdam 1622/30-1669/79 Leiden)

Portrait of a little girl eating porridge, in a feigned oval

Details
Quiringh Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam (Zwammerdam 1622/30-1669/79 Leiden)
Portrait of a little girl eating porridge, in a feigned oval
indistinctly signed with initials and dated 'Q (?) VB 1649.' (lower right)
oil on panel
21.7 x 18.8 cm.
Provenance
Collection Lürmann, Bremen.
with P. de Boer, Amsterdam, where acquired by the father of the late owner in 1938, as dated 1645.

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Kimberley Oldenburg
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Lot Essay

This hithero unknown portrait sheds a new light on the relatively early oeuvre of Van Brekelenkam. Its pendant, Portrait of a boy, holding a slice of bread, in a feigned oval (fig. 1), formerly in the Dr. Anton C.R. Dreesmann Collection (1973-2002), in 1938 also with P. de Boer, Amsterdam (see: 'Oude Schilderstukken uit vele scholen in kunsthandel P. de Boer: Een zoo juist verworven collectie', in : De Telegraaf, 26 August 1938, the present lot illustrated), and sold with Christie's, London, 11 April 2002, lot 540, was dated by Lasius to circa 1660 (see: A. Lasius, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Doornspijk, 1992, pp. 146-7, no. 234). However, with the present picture dated 1649, this pair follows the earliest dated picture of 1648 (Domestic Cares, Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden, inv. no. 47), which, in turn, shows a strong debt to Gerard Dou.

The present work is a particularly charming example of Brekelenkam's style - painted with typically broad and fluent brushstrokes, in brownish tones, depicting a single figure - perhaps one of his children - with a high degree of warmth and feeling, often lacking in the works of his Leiden contemporaries.

Little is known of Brekelenkam's career, which seems to have been for the most part spent in relative poverty. The first mention of him is by Jacob Weyerman (De Levens-beschryvingen der Nederlandsche Konstschilders en Konst-schilderessen, 2, The Hague, 1729), which related that 'Jan Steen opened up an inn or rather a little pub ... He had plenty of business but his customers seldom paid up promptly, as most were penniless painters. Frans van Mieris, Ary de Vois, Quiring Breekelekamp [sic] and Jan Lievens were his daily customers and came at all hours of the day and night...' Similarly, an unknown author reviewing Gerard Hoet's 1752 Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen (quoted by Lasius, op. cit., p. 11): 'The painters of his time, who called him simply Quiringh, often sought his company, as he was very witty and funny, having as well the gift of being able to imitate everyone's speech and mannerisms. He was a little man, had many children and domestic cares and very little means...'.
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