Ary Scheffer
Dordrecht 1795-1858 Paris
Thirteen Head studies of Children in different angles, and a further study of Three Roses

CATEGORY: Dutch & Flemish Schools
MEDIUM: Black chalk and watercolour on wove paper
SIZE: 329 x 501 mm. (13 x 19 in.)
SIGNED: Signed lower right in black chalk A Scheffer f
PROVENANCE: Private collection, The Netherlands.

Signed lower right in black chalk A Scheffer f, black chalk and watercolour on wove paper, watermark TECHNISCH

329 x 501 mm. (13 x 19 in.)

8,000 (including frame)


The drawing is not laid down, the paper and chalk are in a very good condition, there is minor surface dirt throughout the paper, adhesive hinges on the upper margins on the verso. There are touches of watercolour in the lips of one of the children.

Ary Scheffer was the son of Johan Bernard Scheffer (1765-1809), a portrait painter who had moved to the Netherlands in his youth, and Cornelia Lamme (1769-1839), a miniature painter and daughter of the Dordrecht landscape painter Arie Lamme, after whom Arij, later Ary, was named. He had two brothers, the journalist and writer Karel Scheffer and the painter Hendrik Scheffer. He was taught by his parents and attended the Amsterdam drawing academy from the age of 11. In 1808 his father became court painter to Louis Bonaparte in Amsterdam, but he died a year later. Encouraged by Willem Bilderdijk he moved to Lille for further academic study, and in 1811 he and his mother moved to Paris where he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts as a pupil of Pierre-Narcisse Gurin. Scheffer exhibited at the Salon de Paris from 1812 onwards. He started to become recognised in 1817 and in 1819 he was asked to make a portrait of Marquis de Lafayette. Perhaps because of Lafayettes contacts Scheffer was politically active, with his brothers, and he became a prominent Philhellene. Scheffer was made a commander of the Legion of Honour in 1848, as captain of the Garde Nationale he escorted the royal family on their escape from the Tuileries and escorted the Duchess dOrlans to the Chambres des Dputs where she in vain proposed her son to be the next monarch of France. Scheffer fought in the army of Cavaignac during the popular uprising in Paris, but he was shocked by the cruelty and hatred from the governments side and the misery of the lower classes that he withdrew from political activity and refused to make portraits of Napolon III.

Most of Scheffers work remained with the family until after the death of his daughter, Cornelia, who bequeathed 341 drawings and a number of pictures to the Dordrechts Museum in 1900, and other pictures to the Louvre. It is interesting to note that in 1877, at the age of twenty three Vincent van Gogh, worked for the bookdealers Bluss & van Braam in Dordrecht. Opposite the bookshop was Ary Scheffers statue, a tribute to the towns most famous son. Van Gogh was fascinated by Scheffers work and after seeing his picture Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane in the Dordrechts museum he wrote to his brother Theo that is something never to forget.

It is interesting to note that the work mark on our paper is from a Dutch paper manufacturer.1

1. Thanks to Peter Bower for his assistance in this, written communication 13 November 2015.