A Woman Peeling Pears

Artist: Wallerant Vaillant (Dutch, Lille 1623–1677 Amsterdam)

Date: mid-17th century

Medium: Mezzotint; second state of two

Dimensions: Sheet: 9 3/4 x 12 1/16 in. (24.8 x 30.7 cm)

Classification: Prints

Credit Line: The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha whittelsey Fund, 1956

Accession Number: 56.605.14


Vaillant learned the mezzotint technique from Prince Rupert of the Rhine, whom he met and assisted during a visit to Frankfurt am Main in 1658. Active in Amsterdam and Paris, Vaillant became the first professional mezzotint-engraver, whose works achieved success throughout Europe. Here, he presents a domestic scene of his own design, showing a woman (presumably a servant) peeling fruit. As this richly toned plate reveals, Vaillant's mezzotint grounds appear more evenly textured than those of his predecessors.