Description & Technical information

Around three quarters of the extant portrait drawings by Wallerant Vaillant are dated to the early part of his career in Amsterdam, between 1642 and 1653, before he established a second career as a mezzotint printmaker. Portrait drawings by the artist are today in the collections of the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin, the Harvard University Art Museums in Cambridge (MA), the Kupferstichkabinett in Dresden, the Groninger Museum in Groningen, the Teylers Museum in Haarlem, the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Lille, the British Museum in London, the Landesmuseum in Mainz, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Albertina in Vienna, and elsewhere.

As has been noted of a stylistically comparable sheet in the Ackland Art Museum in North Carolina, Vaillant’s large portrait drawings ‘are allied to a Franco-Flemish tradition of portrait engraving that reached its peak at mid-century in the work of Robert Nanteuil…[combining] an apparent simplicity with rich detail…highlights and shadows are broadly and swiftly indicated, but fine details of embroidery and lace are handled with delicate line work…Like the sitter’s costume itself, the drawing is both restrained and luxurious, suggesting an aristocratic outlook too confident to require obvious signs of grandeur.’

Among closely comparable drawings by Wallerant Vaillant is a portrait of the Dutch soldier Jacob Bicker, signed and dated 1643, in the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, in which the sitter is also depicted in armour. 

Date:  1649
Period:  1600-1750, 17th century
Origin:  The Netherlands
Medium: Black chalk, Stumping, On blue paper, Highlights in white chalk
Signature: Signed and dated Vaillant f./ 1649 in black chalk at the upper left.

Dimensions: 41.7 x 36 cm (16³/₈ x 14¹/₈ inches)
Provenance: Anonymous sale, London, Christie’s, 4 July 1978, lot 107).

Categories: Paintings, Drawings & Prints