From 1630 to 1654, the Dutch Republic maintained a colony in the north of Brazil. Post accompanied the governor to the area and filled sketchbooks with images of local flora and fauna. Motifs such as the iguana and cactus in the foreground of this painting added specifically tropical notes to the landscapes Post produced following his return to the Netherlands, which often featured figures from the local Indigenous or enslaved populations—in this case Tupi men, women, and children. Post’s retrospective paintings, a mixture of fantasy and observation, continued to find a large clientele even after the Dutch lost the colony to the Portuguese.
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Title:A Brazilian Landscape
Artist:Frans Post (Dutch, Haarlem 1612–1680 Haarlem)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:24 x 36 in. (61 x 91.4 cm)
Credit Line:Purchase, Rogers Fund, special funds, James S. Deely Gift, and Gift of Edna H. Sachs and other gifts and bequests, by exchange, 1981
This large painting by Post is remarkable for its excellent state of preservation and for its exceptional quality. It was painted in the artist's native Haarlem in 1650, about six years after he returned from his long stay in Brazil, where he was employed by the governor of the Dutch colony, Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen. For Post, a painter of sweeping vistas, the timing of his return to Holland could hardly have been better. The second half of the 1640s was the beginning of a golden age for this kind of view.
At least a dozen different plants are carefully described in the repoussoir of vegetation that fills the right foreground, providing refuge for an iguana. The inclusion of an iguana, anteater, or armadillo in the foreground is common in Post's oeuvre. Georg Marcgraf (1610–1643/44), a naturalist, was the artist's companion on expeditions, and their mutual interests are recorded in many pictures by Post. The river valley in the Museum's painting probably corresponds with a view that Post recorded in a drawing, but it would be difficult to identify the location today. A good number of Post's pictures show native Brazilians traveling on foot, as depicted here, occasionally in the company of Europeans.
[2011; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Signed and dated (right, on papaya tree): F POST / 1650
Popper, Prague (in 1946); E. Kellner, Rio de Janeiro (in 1947); E. Rais, Rio de Janeiro (until 1948); Octales Marcondes Ferreira, São Paulo (1948–at least 1973); [Noortman & Brod, New York, until 1981; sold to The Met]
Rio de Janeiro. Museu de Arte Moderna. "Os Pintores de Maurício de Nassau," May 21–July 7, 1968, no. 17 (as "Paisagem Fluvial," lent by O. Marcondes Ferreira, São Paulo).
Haus der Kunst München. "Frans Post (1612–1680): Maler des Verlorenen Paradieses," June 2–September 17, 2006, no. 8 (as "Brasilianische Landschaft mit Tupi-Indianern").
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "In Praise of Painting: Dutch Masterpieces at The Met," October 16, 2018–October 4, 2020, no catalogue.
Joaquim de Sousa Leão, filho. Frans Post. São Paulo, 1948, p. 99, no. 11, ill. p. 46, as in the collection of O. Marcondes Ferreira, São Paulo.
Argeu Guimarães. "Na Holanda, com Frans Post." Revista do Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro 235 (April–June 1957), p. 258, no. 69, as in the collection of O. Marcondes Ferreira, São Paulo.
Erik Larsen. Frans Post. Amsterdam, 1962, p. 187, no. 15.
Joaquim de Sousa-Leão. Frans Post, 1612–1680. Amsterdam, 1973, p. 65, no. 14, ill., as in the O. Marcondes Ferreira collection, São Paulo; calls it "an unusual setting for Post"; gives provenance information.
Walter A. Liedtke inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1981–1982. New York, , pp. 41–42, ill.
Walter A. Liedtke. "Frans Post at the Met and in General." Tableau 4 (January–February 1982), pp. 350–51, ill. (color).
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 191.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 322, ill.
Frederik J. Duparc inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 25, New York, 1996, p. 326, calls it "one of his most successful compositions of [the] period".
Pedro Corrêa do Lago inFrans Post: Le Brésil à la cour de Louis XIV. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre, Paris. Milan, 2005, p. 23, fig. III.10 (color).
León Krempel. Frans Post (1612–1680): Maler des Verlorenen Paradieses. Exh. cat., Haus der Kunst München. Petersberg, Germany, 2006, pp. 21, 24, 78–80, 133, 147, no. 8, ill. (color).
Pedro Corrêa do Lago and Bia Corrêa do Lago. Frans Post (1612–1680): Catalogue Raisonné. Milan, 2007, pp. 9, 42–43, 73, 128, 194, 339, no. 13, ill. pp. 128–29 (color, overall and detail), call it "among the most successful and original pictures of Post's second phase".
George Gordon inFrans Post (1612–1680): Catalogue Raisonné. Milan, 2007, p. 73.
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 22, 62, fig. 72 (color).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 532–34, no. 137, colorpl. 137, fig. 121 (color detail).
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