Petrus van Schendel (1806-1870)
A Vegetable Market by Night, The Hague
Signed and dated 1851
Oil on Panel
29 x 23¼ inches – 73.8 x 59 cms
Petrus van Schendel excelled in his compositions of market scenes by night. He surpassed any of his rivals in this genre displaying an extraordinary virtuosity in depicting a variety of light sources within a composition, moonlight, a candle flame, lantern and unseen light sources. In this work a makeshift lantern, a candle, the flame protected by a cone of vellum is central to the composition. The diffuse light illuminates the vegetable stall and its owner, it falls on the crisply ironed fabric of the young women’s apron and, in more muted tones, the woman beyond. Further light sources include the silvery moonlight reflecting on architectural surfaces contrasting with the candlelight in the distance.
Schendel’s highly finished technique and his ability to portray texture and substance are seen to good effect in his portrayal of the fruits and vegetables, the fabric of the young woman’s apron, the basket work and above all in the flesh tones. It is an exemplary work, in the characteristic of the figures, the handling of light and the composition itself.
Private Collection, Germany
"Thieme/Becker", Vol.XXX, p.25;
Pieter A. Scheen, "Lexicon Nederlandse Beeldende Kunstenaars, 1750-1880", The Hague, 1981, p.458;
"Berko", p.721, ff;
To be included in the forthcoming Catalogue raisonné being prepared by Dr Jan de Meere
Petrus van Schendel studied at the Antwerp Academy under Mathieu-Ignace van Breen (1773-1839) and worked in Antwerp until 1828 when he left for Amsterdam. He remained there through 1832 before moving to Rotterdam for six years, followed by The Hague until 1845 when he returned to Belgium, settling in Brussels. It was from this date that Schendel began to produce his trademark market scenes, works that owed much to the 17th century tradition of Dutch candlelit paintings exemplified in the work of Gottfried Schalken (1643-1706).
Schendel exhibited in Amsterdam, Antwerp and The Hague between 1827 and 1867, and in 1845 won a gold medal at the Brussels exhibition with “Market by Moonlight”. He won a further medal at the landmark 1857 Art Treasures Exhibition in Manchester with a painting entitled “A Fish Market”, he exhibited at the Royal Academy, London in 1855 and 1856. He was also a successful portrait painter of some note. One of van Schendel’s most prominent followers was Johannes Rosierse (1818-1901).
His work can be found in museums in: London, HM The Queen; Amiens; Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum; Brussels, The National Gallery; Groningen; Hanover; Munich; Nice; Rotterdam, Museum Boymans-van Beuringen; Stuttgart; Montreal and Melbourne.