Jan van den Hecke I
Kwaremont (Kluisbergen) c. 1619/1620 – 1684 Antwerp

Animals, 1656
The complete set of 12 prints

Etching. Each c. 15.1 x 20.8 cm.
Title, signature and date inscribed on title page, on pedestal to the left of the image: "Magnificentissimo Principi / PAVLO … vanden Hecke. 1656".

Literature: Bartsch 1–12; TIB 1–12; Nagler, 1837, Vol. III, p. 27; Wurzbach 1–12; Dutuit 1–12; Hollstein 1 V (V), 2-12 II (III)

A rare set of very fine impressions, strong printing with great depth and contrast, some small insignificant stains and flattened creases mainly in the margins, laid paper with remarkable margins, and in a very good condition.

As becomes clear from the inscription on the title-page, van den Hecke dedicated this wonderful series of animal prints to Paolo Giordano II Orsini, Duke of Bracciano (1591–1656). This Mantovese aristocrat was an important art collector and patron to various artists. Possibly van den Hecke worked in his service as well during his stay in Italy between 1644 and 1659, during which period these etchings were made.

Van den Hecke was more famous for his paintings of floral still lifes and Italianate landscapes and, except for one other plate, his work as a printmaker remained limited to this wonderful series of animals. Considering the small scope of his graphic oeuvre, the quality of the set and the outstanding handling of the etching needle, resulting in a free and expressive play of lines, is all the more remarkable. With these lively and elaborate images of animals the artist stands in the tradition of Paulus Potter (1625–1654) and Albert Cuyp (1620–1691). Van den Hecke’s animal series was quite successful, with five subsequent editions printed. Various copies after the designs were made.

Preparatory drawings exist for prints 5, 7 and 11 (Leiden, University Library; Amsterdam and Albertina Museum, Vienna).

Images of all 12 etchings available upon request.

Price: USD 4,100 / EURO 3,500

6 x 8 1/4 inches