Van Schendel earned fame with the genre of the so called 'nocturnes' or candle-lit market scenes. He was considered by some to be the inventor of the genre. In fact, the genre already had a long standing tradition. Rembrant's pupil Gerard Dou (1613-1675) made the genre popular in the 17th century and had followers of quality until the late 18th century. One could consider Van Schendel the re-inventor of the genre, as he is the artist most associated with the nocturnes of the 19th century. No artist in the 19th century reached the exalted heights of international recognition that Van Schendel did. His international reputation even reached so far that the French knew him as 'Monsieur Chandelle'.
The present lot shows a night market as it existed in the time of the artist. Lighting after sunset or in early morning was provided by oil lamps and candles. He painted a complex but very clear composition with numerous figures and a central stall with fresh game in the foreground lit by a candle and a bleak moon left of the composition. Two girls are standing by the stall of a young man peddling his wares. The young woman in the centre is carrying a wicker basket filled with produce on her head. The girl to the left holds a copper basket still to be filled with the benefits of the 19th century market and seems to be bargaining with the young man. Another stall is shown to the right with young girls huddled around another solitary point of light. As the eye is drawn to the background a light to the right defines the shape of a window set in an architecturally recognizable gable. The façade belongs to the 'Vleeshal' located on the Groenmarkt in The Hague. Above this building the small tower of the Old City hall can be seen and even further in the distance the tower of the 'Grote Kerk' or St. Jacob's church.
We wish to thank Jan de Meere for his kind assistance in cataloguing this lot.