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"Study of Horses; Heads, Hooves and Rump, 1838"
Wouterus Verschuur l (Dutch, 1812-1874)
Pencil on paper
Signed and Dated "W Verschuur 1838"
10 x 6 1/2 (17 1/2 x 14 frame) inches


In his time Wouterus Verschuur was an acclaimed and celebrated painter of horses. Through careful observation he learned to capture their physique and movement to perfection. As a true-born romanticist he was also interested in their character, thereby painting powerful carthorses in their stable, thoroughbred saddled horses during an afternoon ride or harnessed horses in action.


He was born to an Amsterdam jeweler and received his training from the landscape and cattle painters Pieter Gerardus van Os and Cornelis Steffelaar. As part of this education Verschuur had to copy works by the 17th century painter Philips Wouwerman. Like Wouwerman, Verschuur's subjects consist mostly of stable scenes, landscapes with horses and coastal landscape.  These works reflect the enduring influence of the northern Baroque masters on nineteenth century art, revealing the artist's close study of his Dutch and Flemish predecessors harking back to Peter Paul Rubens.


Showing talent from a very early age, at 15 Verschuur had a painting exhibited at the "Exhibition of Living Masters" at Amsterdam in 1828. In 1832 and 1833 he won the gold medal at the annual exhibition at Felix Meritis. In 1833 he was appointed a member of the Royal Academy in Amsterdam. In 1839 he joined the artists' society, Arti et Amicitiae.

His reputation was also considerable abroad. He was often featured in the annual exhibitions which travelled the large European cities at that time. In 1855 Napoleon III purchased one of his paintings at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.


The Verschuur horse revels in its physicality, like a quintessential Baroque horse, built with the distinct meaty roundness popularized by Rubens and passed down through his student Van Dyck. These details of realism reveal years of close observation of equine physiology. He was well-respected and admired by his peers for his technical skill his ability to capture the power and beauty of working horses, understanding of the fluidity of a horse's movement.


Like his contemporary Rosa Bonheur, Verschuur found great commercial success during his lifetime, travelling frequently to Paris and exhibiting at the 1855 Exposition Universelle in the newly built Palais de L’Industrie, where his works were purchased by Emperor Napoleon III. This royal patronage acknowledged Verschuur’s status as a continuation of the proud international tradition of horse painting set forth by Rubens, Van Dyck, and George Stubbs, celebrated for the careful representation of great sporting and war horses, while extending this treatment to the glory of the everyday working horse. 

During one of his frequent trips Wouterus Verschuur died on July 4 in the town of Vorden in the Eastern Netherlands. He left behind an oeuvre of about four hundred paintings and over two thousand drawings. Amongst his students were his son Wouterus Verschuur Jr. and Anton Mauve.


The work of Verschuur is represented in several museums including the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Rijksmuseum Twenthe, Enschede and Amsterdam Museum.

"Horses Study; Heads, Hooves, Rump 1838" Wouterus Verschuur l (Dutch, 1812-1874)

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