Although the present lot of two large panels by Andreas Schelfhout cannot be found in the Liber Veritatis, the notebook in which Andreas Schelfhout documented the paintings he created between 1825 and 1828, it is however very likely that this wonderful pair was created in, or shortly after that period. Schelfhout, originally trained to follow in his fathers footsteps as a housepainter and frame maker, only took to fine art at the age of 22. Following his aspirations and with his fathers consent he took lessons from Johannes Henricus Breckenheijmer (1741-1805) in The Hague. Breckenheijmer advised him to study the Old Masters and stimulated him to go outdoors to make sketches after nature. Later in his career Schelfhout denied the influence of his tutor, claiming that no one taught him but himself.
One can clearly see the enormous development he made in the period between 1811 and 1815. Later on, in the 1820's Schelfhout's paintings reveal the influence of the Italianist and landscape painters such as Nicolaas Berchem (1620-1683). Schelfhout's landscapes like those of the Italianists are bathed in golden light and his compositions and the detailed staffage derive directly from the Old Masters. From the studio sale in 1870 we know that Schelfhout owned a significant collection of old master prints, drawings and paintings by amongst others Antonie Waterloo (1610-1690) and Jan Both (1618-1652).
In the present lot we recognize the 'mature' Schelfhout who had learned to master the problems of creating a convincing, and cohesive composition. The colours are closer together, the figures have more character and are interacting; they blend in. The use of light, so very important in creating the atmosphere in landscape painting is very strong and suggestive.
The summer depicts a peaceful heath landscape with a man pushing a wheel barrow by a farm that is protected from the elements by large trees. A herdsman is visible just around the corner of the larger building. He is guiding his flock over the wooden bridge across a small stream that beautifully mirrors the man, the farm and the trees.
The winter radiates a similar tranquility. Although the stream has frozen over, the figures do not seem affected by the cold, clearly enjoying the pleasures of a sunny day in winter. The sun casts long shadows and the sky does not show any signs of approaching storms. Farmers could not work on the land in January and February as the soil was frozen solid and the cattle indoors. Winter in those days confined most people to their homes.
At the time that these pendants were painted Schelfhout's reputation had risen rapidly. His paintings were well received by critics and visitors at the great exhibitions of Leevende Meesters in Amsterdam, The Hague and later on in Belgium. His works were sought after by international collectors and his studio gradually became a popular place for students of De Haagse Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten to learn the finer techniques of painting. Schelfhout's influence on his students was so strong that only a few of them could free themselves from it.
Paintings by Schelfhout, and specifically such large panels as these are rarely encountered as a pair and in their original frames after almost 175 years. It is therefore rather special to have two further, though smaller pendants in the present sale (lot 9 and lot 254).