Follower of Jan Frans van Bredael

(Flemish School circa 1800)

Landscapes with rivers and mountains in the distance: a pair

Oil on panel: 16 x 12 1/2 framed size 19 1/8 x 15 1/2 in.

These capriccio bucolic scenes belong to the Flemish tradition of landscape initiated by the younger Brueghel dynasty in the sixteenth century.  They celebrate a Dutch-Italianate vision of nature, of rolling hills and distant mountains bordering meandering rivers, with hill-top villages and cottages providing elegant punctuation points in the receding view. The fluently defined staffage provides notes of activity and pure colour in the foreground. After studying with his father Alexander van Bredael (1663-1720), Jan Frans and his brother

Josef were actually contracted by an Antwerp art dealer Jacob de Witte to produce copies of  paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder and Philips Wouwerman, a mission in which Jan Frans succeeded particularly well, to such an extent that his works have often been attributed to the hand of the older Brueghel.  Before 1716 he was active in England supplying a variantof the Grand Tourist landscape to members of the aristocracy such as the Earl of Derwentwater. His meticulous, fluent technique also appealed to French rococo taste, and he was successful in Paris from 1719 to 1725 where the landscapes of Jan Brueghel were particularly admired. In 1725 he returned to Antwerp and joined the Guild of Saint Luke, becoming deacon in the following and throughout the early 1730’s. He married Catharina de Rijck and produced two daughters and a son who also painted, another Jan Frans (b.1729).  An attribution to the latterfor these landscapes is also possible. Jan Frans the Elder was a polymath in subject matter, and as well as fantasy landscapes produced hunting and battle scenes, as well as historical and religious paintings.  Underlying all his work, and indeed that of the entire Van Bredael dynasty, is a lively and meticulous execution, crisp brushwork and a harmonious palette of colours.