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Karel Dujardin
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Best known as a painter, draughtsman and etcher of Italianate landscapes during Holland’s Golden Age, Karel Dujardin was a versatile artist whose subject matter included portraits, history scenes, genre scenes, Dutch landscapes and pastoral scenes featuring cattle and other livestock. (His name is often spelled du Jardin.) Baptized on September 27, 1626 in Amsterdam, his father was a tradesman. Little is known about his artistic training, other than the claim in Arnold Houbraken’s (1660-1719) early 18th-century work on Dutch painters that Dujardin was one of Niclolaes Berchem’s (1621/22-1683) pupils, a claim not otherwise documented. His Italianate works have led some writers to speculate that Dujardin travelled to Italy in the 1640s, but no documentation of such a trip has been found. He probably travelled to Paris in 1650, and apparently met his wife, of Flemish descent, in Lyon. By 1652 he and his wife were living in Amsterdam, based on a will he made that year. Some of his pastoral scenes from the 1650s are set in the Dutch countryside, showing the influence of Paulus Potter (1625-1654). Other works from this period are set in Italianate landscapes, often with peasant genre scenes in the foreground, a motif popularized by Pieter van Laer (1599-ca.1642, known as Il Bamboccio while in Rome), who had returned to Haarlem from Rome by 1638. Dujardin began etching in the 1650s, primarily landscapes and animals; about fifty etchings have been attributed to him. By 1656 he had moved to The Hague, where he was a member of a group of artists known as De Pictura, The group’s records list Martinus Laeckeman (?-?) as his pupil in 1658. By 1659 Dujardin was living in Amsterdam, where he stayed for the next fifteen years. During this time he executed portraits, religions scenes, allegories and large history paintings in addition to Italianate landscapes. His works include a group portrait of The Governors of the Amsterdam Spinhuis (the House of Correction, 1669, Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum). His portrait was painted by Ferdinand Bol (1616-1680) and Bartholomeus van der Helst (1613-1670). In 1672 he authenticated paintings in a legal proceeding for the father of his friend Joan Reynst, and in 1675 traveled south as far as Tangiers with Reynst, from which she returned to Holland. Dujardin continued to Rome; one of his signed and dated paintings recites it was made in Rome in 1675. He painted in Rome for the three years; his last dated painting is from 1678. He may have been a member of Schildersbent (“band of painters,” also known as the “Bentvueghels” or “birds of a flock”), a society of Dutch and Flemish painters in Rome active from around 1620 until 1720. He was in Venice when he died in 1678. He had achieved prosperity during his life, living in a house on the upscale Herengracht in Amsterdam; the inventory of his goods after his death attested to his affluence. (TNB 7/2011) Selected bibliography: Duparc, Frederik J. Golden: Dutch and Flemish Masterworks from the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Collection. Exhibition catalog, pp. 136-139. Salem: Peabody Essex Museum, 2011. Kilian, Jennifer. “Karel du Jardin,” in Jane Turner, ed. The Grove Dictionary of Art. From Rembrandt to Vermeer; 17th Century Dutch Artists. New York: St. Martin Press, 2000. Schatborn, Peter. Drawn to Warmth. 17th century Dutch Draughtsmen in Italy. With an essay by Judith Verberne. Exhibition catalog, pp. 154-160. Amsterdam: Rijksmuseum, 2001.