A Young Herdsman Leaning on his "Houlette"

Object Details

Title:

A Young Herdsman Leaning on his "Houlette"

Artist/Maker(s):

Herman Saftleven the Younger (Dutch, 1609 - 1685)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

about 1650

Medium:

Black chalk and brown wash

Dimensions:

27.5 x 18.6 cm (10 13/16 x 7 5/16 in.)

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A young herdsman stares wistfully out from underneath a large, tattered hat, engaging the viewer with his direct gaze. He leans against a long houlette, a tool consisting of a narrow metal scoop attached to the end of a pole, which he would use to dig up small clods of earth, throwing them behind him to create a trail for his animals to follow. The oversized, ragged clothes he wears suggest both his youth and his poverty. The billowing folds of the frayed cape, big shoes, and peaked hat envelop the slight frame of the boy, emphasizing the poignant, shy smile on his face. In a mixture of chalk and wash, Herman Saftleven the Younger emphasized the play of sunlight and shadow over the boy's body.

In the 1600s, Dutch artists first began to sketch the poor in their works of art, capturing not only their poverty, but also their rustic beauty and dignity. Saftleven sketched this boy, probably hoping to use his image in one of his paintings.

Provenance

Gustav Nebehay, Austrian, 1885 - 1936 (Vienna, Austria)

- 1941

Franz W. Koenigs, 1881 - 1941 (Haarlem, Netherlands), by inheritance to his heirs.

- 2001

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's New York, January 23, 2001, lot 20, to Bob Haboldt.]

2001

Bob P. Haboldt, sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001.

Exhibitions
Dutch Drawings of the Golden Age (May 28 to August 25, 2002)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 25, 2002
Visions of Grandeur: Drawing in the Baroque Age (June 1 to September 12, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 1 to September 12, 2004
Paper Art: Finished Drawings in Holland 1590-1800 (September 6 to November 20, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), September 6 to November 20, 2005
Drawing Life: The Dutch Visual Tradition (November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 24, 2009 to February 28, 2010