Forest Scene with Tree in Foreground

Attributed to Jacques d'Artois Flemish

Not on view

This view of the interior of a forest is abruptly divided in two by the slender, tilting stem of a tree in the central foreground. Done in brush and gray ink, the vivacity of the brushwork, especially in the rendering of foliage, gives the impression of a rapid and quick execution.

The identity of the artist responsible is not easily affirmed. When it first entered the Museum in 1975, the sheet was considered a work by the Flemish artist Jacques d’Arthois. D’Arthois belonged to the so-called Brussels school of landscapists, known for their rustic views of wooded landscapes, inspired by the nearby Sonian forest (Forêt de Soigne). Other members of this group were Lodewijk de Vadder (1605–1655) and Lucas Achtschellinck (1629–1699). These artists worked in close vicinity of one another, and their drawings and paintings show strong similarities, both in style and subject matter, which makes it difficult to define their respective oeuvres. It is not surprising therefore that in later years it has been suggested that this Forest Scene with a Tree in the Foreground possibly was made by Lodewijk de Vadder.

Characteristic for both De Vadder’s and D’Arthois’s drawing style are the broad, horizontal brushstrokes used to indicate foliage, as well as the dense washes in foreground areas. The prominent presence of a tree in the center of the picture is a compositional device favored by both artists. As the drawing is unsigned and cannot be related to any painting, a definitive answer as to the drawing’s authorship is yet to be found.

Forest Scene with Tree in Foreground, Attributed to Jacques d'Artois (Flemish, Brussels (?) 1613–1686), Brush and gray wash, with bodycolor, over a sketch in black chalk

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