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Johan Georg Wille – Old Woman Unreeling Threads – 1755

Description

Original 18th century engraving with the text (in French): THE WINDER. MOTHER OF G. DOUW. Engraved after the original painting of the same size, taken from the Cabinet of Monsieur le Comte de Vence, Camp Marshal of the King’s Armies. Engraved by Jean Georges Wille, Engraver of the King, 1755. The image represents an elderly woman unreeling threads from her spindle, seated half-length, wearing a cap and glasses, seen through an arched window. She is presumably the mother of Dutch Golden Age painter Gerrit Douw (1613-1675). Douw specialized in genre scenes and was a student of Rembrandt.

Johan Georg Wille was a German illustrator and engraver of genre scenes, portraits, and landscapes, born November 5, 1715 in Bieberthal (Hessen). He began his apprenticeship as a damascene engraver with a gunsmith in Königsberg. In 1736, the desire to see Paris led him to furtively leave his apprenticeship and his family. He made part of the journey on foot. His beginnings in Paris were at first rather difficult: he recounted them with the good nature that characterized him in the memoirs published by G. Duplessis in 1857. He began to build his reputation with a portrait of Marshal Belle-Isle, after Rigaud. His expression, at once supple and firm and the good taste of his interpretation, earned him the highest praise. He was recognized by the Academy of Paris on August 20, 1755. He became a naturalized French citizen in 1758, and was appointed Academician on July 24, 1761, taking an active part in the work of the illustrious organization. Wille was endowed with all the honours belonging to the Academies of Paris, Rouen, Augsburg, Valence, Berlin and Dresden. He was engraver of the King of France, the Emperor of Germany, the King of Denmark, and was conferred with France’s highest civilian honour, Knight of the Legion of Honour. He had a great influence on the development of engraving in Germany. His righteousness, wisdom and personality made him a unanimously respected individual.

As an engraver, Wille initially devoted himself almost entirely to portrait engraving, made with a burin. He later reproduced, with equal success, little genre paintings of seventeenth century Dutch and Flemish masters whose talent he particularly appreciated; he also engraved some works of his contemporaries in a similar style. His work as an engraver spanned from 1738 to 1790. He died in Paris on April 5, 1808.

Source: Benezit Dictionnary of Artists

 

Artist: Johan Georges Wille (1715-1808).

Engraved in 1755.

Medium: Line engraving on paper.

Condition: Very good.

Dimensions: 40 x 28 cm. / 15 ¾ x 11 in (visible).

Frame: 47 x 35 cm. / 18.5 x 13 ¾ in. Good condition. Glass.

Provenance: Rouen, France.

 

Price:  C$ 450