Attributed to G. Denis, 'Boy de-fleaing a dog'

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The Netherlands
17th century
Oil on panel
18 cm
13.5 cm

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This refined little painting shows a boy who’s picking the fleas from his dog. The painting used to be part of the trading collection of J. Goudstikker as a painting by Dominicus van Tol.

During research of paintings by Gerard Ter Borch with the same theme, Gudlaugsson, author of the monograph of Ter Borch, came across several small paintings of boys who are picking fleas from their dogs. One of those paintings was signed and dated, G. Denis 1662. Based on his findings he came to the conclusion that three other similar paintings had been atrributed to the wrong painter, among those three paintings was this one. Gudlaugsson describes Denis as follows: “The completely unknown Denis appears to have belonged to the ‘Leidse school’. His way of painting reminds of Brekelenkam and Jan Steen.”

This painting was in possession of collector Alfred Kummerlé in Leipzig. After he passed away his heir fled to the west and the collection was confiscated by the German Democratic Republic. They placed all of his works in the museum of Leipzig. The works have been listed in the catalogue of 1995, but didn’t appear in the catalogue of 2012 because it had already been determined that the pieces would be returned to the original owner(s).


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