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Pieter Harmensz. Verelst (Dordrecht c. 1618 - c. 1678)
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
Pieter Harmensz. Verelst (Dordrecht c. 1618-c. 1678)

Head study of a young boy

Details
Pieter Harmensz. Verelst (Dordrecht c. 1618-c. 1678)
Head study of a young boy
signed with initials and dated 'P.V.1643.' (partly strengthened, lower left)
oil on panel
7 1/8 x 5 1/8 in. (18.1 x 13 cm.)
Provenance
The Lawson family, Brough Hall, by the late eighteenth century, and by descent.

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Alexis Ashot
Alexis Ashot

Lot Essay

This unpublished study of a boy's head stands apart from the main body of Verelst's output, which consists of Dutch and Italianate genre scenes and more formal single figure portraits inspired by Rembrandt's painting of the 1630s. Verelst studied in Dordrecht, perhaps under Benjamin Gerritsz. Cuyp, and is recorded there as a pupil in the guild in 1638. In 1643, the year this panel was painted, he moved to The Hague, where he was to remain for the next twenty years before falling into debt and apparently abandoning painting in circa 1670.

The tender observation of the boy's features and the intimacy of the scale and design, suggest strongly that this was painted for personal reasons, as a first-hand record of a boy coming to the end of his childhood. The boy's identity is unknown and his age unfortunately does not accord with any of the artist's three sons, the eldest of whom was born in 1641 (Herman, Simon Pietersz., and Johannes, all of whom went on to become painters themselves). However, he does bear a strong resemblance to a similarly conceived picture dated 1648 (sold in these Rooms, 13 December 2000, lot 49, for £212,750), raising the possibility that the two pictures are of the same boy, painted five years apart. No other such studies by the artist are known.

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