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CURRENT COLUMN

The Case of Dubious Due Diligence
The Case of Dubious Due Diligence

The Case of the Olympic Posters
The Case of the Olympic Posters

The Case of the Solitary Surrealist
The Case of the Solitary Surrealist

The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt
The Case of the Recalcitrant Rembrandt

The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity
The Case of the Ambiguity of Authenticity

The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys
The Case of Margaret Keane’s Big-Eyed Boys

The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard
The Case of Clarence’s Château-Gaillard

The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910
The Case of the M.S. Nov 1910

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of the Archangel Michael Defeating Satan

The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2
The Case of Cruise Ship Art: Part 2

The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light
The Case of Mary Most Holy Mother of Light

The Case of Leni and the Nuba
The Case of Leni and the Nuba

The Case of the Seductive Souvenir
The Case of the Seductive Souvenir

The Case of the Irish Surrealist
The Case of the Irish Surrealist

The Case of the Developing Dalí
The Case of the Developing Dalí

The Case of Nano-D Technology
The Case of Nano-D Technology

The Case of Dabatable Donations
The Case of Debatable Donations

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of the Long-tailed Monkey

Edgar Heap of Birds
The Case of Edgar Heap of Birds

Silent Song
The Case of the Silent Song

Aficionado
The Case of Alex and the Art Aficionado

Portrait
The Case of the Privacy of the Publicity Photo

Potter
The Case of the Potter's Portraits

The Case of the Coy Cornelius Krieghoff

The Case of the Political Portraitist

The Case of the Reconsidered Revolution

The Case of the Anabiotic Abbey

The Case of the Phoney Picasso

The Case of Setsuko Piroche

The Case of being on the Forest Edge with Vern Simpson

The Case of Being at the End of the Storm with Loren Adams

The Case of Being: Under the Table with Thomas

The Case of Wyland's Whales on Walls

The Case of A.Y. Jackson's Smart River (Alaska)

The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts

The Case of Looe Poole

The Case of Camaldoli

The Case of MS

The Case of the Misattributed Emily Carrs

The Case of the Doubtful Dürer

The Case of the Purloined Picasso

The Case of the Defrocked Duchess of Devonshire

The Case of the First Wife

The Case of the Dodford Priory

The Case of the Unknown Actor

Art Services & Materials


Confessions Back

Practical Art History
(or Confessions of a Fine Art Appraiser)

by Jim Finlay
James Finlay Fine Art Appraisals

Chapter 8. The Case of Cornelis the Copyist

Recently, while wandering around a local antiques and collectibles show, I happened upon an interesting black ink, unframed engraving on paper. I was struck by the large size of the work, approx. 27.4 x 21.4 cm. (10.5 x 8.5 in.) and also, the unusual subject matter and composition.

C. de Visscher, Shepherd in Skin Vest.

The image depicts a shepherd wearing a hat and holding a staff with both hands. He is riding a horse into the landscape parallel to the axis of the viewer and is about to cross a shallow river. A cow at his right, travelling in the same direction and an uninterested goat, linger behind. Immediately to his left on the river shore is a woman with a staff in her right hand and a full bag cradled in her left. Her dog, which appears to be travelling with her, cowers at her right side, presumably at the sight of the horse and shepherd. In the far landscape, above a mountainous outcrop stand the ruins of a tower.

Visual elements in the image suggest a definite delineation between the labours of men and women and perhaps insight into their respective positions in 17th century agrarian society. The man on horseback, with his animals, leading the viewer into the landscape is contrasted by the woman on foot, passing in the opposite direction, with perhaps a bag of grain under her arm and supported by elements of domesticity, such as the dog. The positioning of the staffs in the hands of both figures form a strong diagonal, from upper right to lower left.

The work was in good condition, although there was some browning. In the top right of the image appeared the words Berghem Delineavit with C. Visscher f. below. In the bottom centre, outside the image, appeared the words Nicolaus Visscher excudit and at the extreme right, outside the image appeared the numeral “1”.

As I entered the booth to take a better look, the merchant offered the work for $25. As the show was about to close and I presume he did not want to take his unsold merchandise back to the store, he offered the piece at $15. At his insistence, I reluctantly purchased the work.

I knew something about antique engravings and my curiosity led me to research the work. I knew that the engraving was of the period and an engraved copy of an oil on canvas painting by Nicolaes Pietersz Brechem (1620-1683) as evidenced by the words Berghem Delineavit (Berchem painted this). I also knew that C. Visscher f. indicated that C. (Cornelis) Visscher f (fecit) made or manufactured the engraving and the words Nicolaus Visscher excudit indicated that Nicolaus Visscher had printed or published the engraving.

What I did not know was that an exact multiple of the same engraving was in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and appeared in the catalogue, Dutch 17th Century Prints. The catalogue listed works, which toured the country in 1981-1982. Further research indicated that another exact multiple was in the permanent collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco. The work was titled Shepherd in Skin Vest, and is also known as Man on Horseback with Cow and Sheep; Woman and Dog Crossing a River.

Cornelis Visscher, designer and engraver was born in Harlem, Netherlands around 1628 and died there about 1658. His family was very influential in the engraving industry and works engraved by Cornelis were often published by another family member, Nicolaus.

I believe the work to be an authentic, original 17th century engraving by the listed Dutch Master, Cornelis de Visscher (circa 1628-1658).

Next: The Case of Red Fish with Blue Breasts.

 Tue, Jun 5, 2007