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Not currently on display at the V&A

The Pancake Woman

Oil Painting
between 1710 and 1719 (painted)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Willem van Mieris (1662-1747) was the son of the famous genre painter Frans van Mieris who trained him. He was active between 1682 and the mid 1730s when he became partly blind. Around 1694, he founded in Leiden with the painters Jacob Toorenvliet (ca. 1635-1719) and Carel de Moor (1655-1738) a drawing academy he directed with de Moor until 1736.

According to CM Kauffmann, this painting is originally one of a pair with a Woman spinning (maybe in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg). The artist signed and dated the panel but the date is hardly readable and indicates the second decade of the 18th century. After the turn of the century, Willem van Mieris indeed specialised in shops and kitchens, often seen through an arched window, genre scenes that form the majority of his production. This painting and his presumably pendant both show a similar setting and highly stylised figures with a profusion of objects and minutely rendered details. The still-life compositions are especially noticeable and belong to the great tradition of Dutch still-life paintings that developed greatly during the 17th century. By contrast, the figures look stiff and stereotyped as the artists reemployed the same characters over and over in his compositions.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Oil on oak panel
Brief Description
Oil painting, 'The Pancake Woman', Willem van Mieris, 1710-1719.
Physical Description
In a rustic interior an old woman is cooking pancakes for a young boy while a woman is looking at him.
Dimensions
  • Estimate height: 49.8cm
  • Estimate width: 40.3cm
Dimensions taken from C.M. Kauffmann, Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1973.
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'W van Mieris Fect. Anno 171-' (Signed and dated by the artist, lower centre)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Robert Curling
Object history
Bequeathed to Robert Curling, who bequeathed it to the Museum in 1894;

Edward Kensington (label on back);

Lord Crewe sale, London, 16 July 1810, lot 175, bought Soloman £168;

Lord Crewe collection (label on back), sale 1806, bought in (G. Redford, Art Sales, ii, 1888, p. 309);

George Bruyn sale, Amsterdam, 16 March, 1724, lot 6 (G. Hoet, Catalogus of naamlist van schilderyen, i, 1752, p, 299).



Historical significance: Originally one of a pair with a Woman Spinning (de Bruyn sale 1724; Hofstede de Groot, nos. 214, 224a). Its pendant is perhaps identical with the painting now in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg. The present work was apparently sold singly at the Crewe sale in 1810. Highly prized at the time, it was the only entry in the sale catalogue with its title in large capitals and one of only a few to be honoured by a descriptive text: 'a high finished and valuable work by this esteemed master.'



Both display a similar setting with highly stylised figures and a profusion of objects and minutely rendered details. The still-life compositions are especially prounounced but the figures seem stereotyped. Van Mieris tended to repeat compositions and the present painting resembles his Woman looking after a Child, dated 1728, private collection. The present work is signed and dated 171[?], and can reasonably be assigned to the late 1710s, when his style became more stereotyped and repetitive.
Historical context
Willem van Mieris (1662-1747) was the son and student of the genre painter Frans van Mieris. He was active between 1682 and the mid 1730s, when he became partially blind. Around 1694, he founded in Leiden, with the painters Jacob Toorenvliet (ca. 1635-1719) and Carel de Moor (1655-1738), a drawing academy which he directed with de Moor until 1736. After 1700 van Mieris specialised in genre scenes of shops and kitchens, indebted to Gerrit Dou and other earlier Leyden 'Fine painters', celebrated for their small scale paintings full of minute detail and executed in a polished style. His technical virtuosity remained unimpaired until the late 1730s, when he went blind.



Paintings of everyday life set in domestic interiors were especially popular in the 17th century in the Netherlands, where he leading genre painters were Jan Steen (1626-1679), Frans van Mieris (1635-1681) and Gerard Ter Borch (1617-1681). Richard Brakenburgh (1650-1702), Willem van Mieris (1662-1747) and Matthys Naiveu (1647-1726) continued this tradition into the eighteenth century.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Willem van Mieris (1662-1747) was the son of the famous genre painter Frans van Mieris who trained him. He was active between 1682 and the mid 1730s when he became partly blind. Around 1694, he founded in Leiden with the painters Jacob Toorenvliet (ca. 1635-1719) and Carel de Moor (1655-1738) a drawing academy he directed with de Moor until 1736.



According to CM Kauffmann, this painting is originally one of a pair with a Woman spinning (maybe in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg). The artist signed and dated the panel but the date is hardly readable and indicates the second decade of the 18th century. After the turn of the century, Willem van Mieris indeed specialised in shops and kitchens, often seen through an arched window, genre scenes that form the majority of his production. This painting and his presumably pendant both show a similar setting and highly stylised figures with a profusion of objects and minutely rendered details. The still-life compositions are especially noticeable and belong to the great tradition of Dutch still-life paintings that developed greatly during the 17th century. By contrast, the figures look stiff and stereotyped as the artists reemployed the same characters over and over in his compositions.
Bibliographic References
  • Kauffmann, C.M., Catalogue of Foreign Paintings, I. Before 1800. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1973, pp. 191-2, cat. no. 229.
  • John Smith, Catalogue raisonné, i, 1829, p. 99, no. 42.
  • Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, x, 1928, p. 159, no. 214.
  • Christopher Wright, Dutch Paintings in the Seventeenth Century: Images of a Golden Age in British Collection, London, 1989, p. 219.
Collection
Accession Number
186-1894

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record createdFebruary 19, 2007
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