A market stall by candlelight signed and dated 'P.van Schendel Fecit 1844' (lower left) oil on panel 39 x 31 cm. (15 1/4 x 12 1/4 in .)
Petrus van Schendel (1806-1870) was one of the few Dutch artists from the first half of the nineteenth century to introduce some novelty into a style of painting so dependent on the great masters of the Golden Age. Indeed, while artists specialised in a particular category of painting, along the tradition established by the seventeenth-century painters, only a small core of individual painters sought innovation and creativity within their own field. As a fine exponent of genre painting, van Schendel offered variations upon the themes established by his predecessors such as Gerrit Dou; however, he must also be recognised for the many innovations he brought to the field. Indeed, van Schendel gained considerable popularity among contemporary collectors for his highly finished candle and moonlit scenes, which he first presented to the general public in Brussels in 1845. He had received his formal training from the historical painter Mathieu Ignace van Bree (1773-1839), who held a teaching position at the Antwerp Academy. From van Bree, the young artist developed a thorough technical knowledge, and a fine attention to detail. He was soon creating complex perspectives of town centres peopled with animated figures, created with great attention to the detail of fabric and accessories, rendered by layering clear and coloured glazes equally over the painted surfaces.
Born in the small town of Terheyden near Breda in Belgium, to parents of Dutch origin, van Schendel remained in his native land until 1830, when he moved to Holland. He worked in Amsterdam (1830-1832) and Rotterdam (1832-1838) before settling in The Hague in 1838. In 1845, he returned to Belgium and established himself in Brussels where he won a gold medal at the Brussels exhibition. Van Schendel's popularity extended beyond the borders of Holland and Belgium and the artist exhibited his works in London at the Royal Academy (1855, 1856) and presented A Fish market at the great Art Treasures Exhibition of Manchester in 1857.
'A market stall by candlelight' shows Van Schendels remarkable attention to painterly detail, and his fascination with chiaroscuro effects; indeed, the great contrasts between light and dark are the over-riding concern of the composition, and the artist shows the effects of light, coming from several sources, upon all of the props, figures and objects in the scene.
We are grateful to Dr. Jan de Meere, who has confirmed the authenticity of the present lot, from a photograph.