Adrien Frans Boudewijns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout (1658-1719)

Collaborating Artists in Brussels in the late 1600s

I have been doing some research into paintings by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout (1658-1719). We know that these two men worked together producing pretty landscape paintings that appealed to their paying customers. They seem to have both been based in Brussels for most of their lives but may also have worked in Paris. Other than that, most of the details of their lives have been very much lost in distant time. Their dates of birth and death seem fairly certain but simple details like how to spell their names seem very much to be an open question. Spelling in the late 1600s often varied so this is not unusual. References to them do appear in some art publications and I have included a few for reference (see below).

We do know that their paintings were executed in very fine detail with Boudewjns concentrating on the main part of the landscape and Bout concentrating on the small figures of people and animals in the foreground. One group of paintings that do seem to be easily identifiable consist of an Italian looking scene with a castle or fortified village in the centre of the picture, with hills in the distance, a blue and white cloudy sky above, trees either side and a track in the foreground with a variety of travellers. In each example there is a lot to see and we can assume that the patrons who purchased these exquisite artworks obtained much enjoyment from having them hanging on the walls of their living rooms.

Investigating further we can see the common themes that make up the composition:
1. Sky and clouds. The sky tends to be light blue with a few fluffy white clouds often with the light coming from the left hand side.
2. Trees. These tend to be both sides of the picture and very much in the foreground with the trunks easily visible. Often one of the trees will have a double tree trunk or be two large trees close together.
3. The castle or fortified village. These look very Italian with red roofs. Among the structures is often a round tower or building.
4. Lake. There is usually a lake next to the castle.
5. Figures. The figures always have a wide variety. Some are rich people and some are peasants. There are usually horses, cows and dogs.

Another thing to note is that if the picture has been cleaned, some of the figures can end up with a slightly ghostly effect. This is because they have been thinly painted on top of the main picture. During the cleaning process they sometimes become very thin and so the main picture starts showing up underneath them.

Castle scene painted by the collaborating artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout (1658-1719) painters
Castle scene painted by the collaborating artists
Adrien Frans Boudewijns and Pieter Bout  
(Private Collection)

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte
Sotheby Lot 16,  29 Apr 2010. Sold for 15,000 British Pounds.

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte
Dorotheum, Austria, 2008. Details not known

For sale painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte (1658-1719) click for larger image
For sale: 3,500 British Pounds

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte (1658-1719)
Phillips, London, December 1999, Lot 10. Sold for $6,710.

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte (1658-1719)
Christies, London, 25 April 2007, Lot 67, Sold for 9,000 British Pounds

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte (1658-1719)
Christies, London, 3 Dec 1997, Lot 107, sold for 10,350 British Pounds

 

Boudewijns and Bout also produced pictures where the figures are much larger and become the main subject of the scene.

 

Art & Architecture in Belgium 1600-1800
by H Gerson & EH ter Kuile, published 1960.
Page 153
In Brussels too there were some painters who transferred the principles of large-scale decoration to small pictures. Lodewijk de Vadder had preceded them in this, for his gift for swift improvisation found its happiest expression in cabinet pieces. In the work of Pieter Bout (1658-1719) men and beast are more important than the landscape, whether decorative or not. His paintings have an intimate Dutch character precisely because of the lively story they tell of shepherds, fishermen, and comedians. He never visited Italy, and there is only a tradition that he was in Paris about 1675-7, so that he must have taken the material for such animated country scenes from Dutchmen specializing in Italian subjects, such as Asselijn, Esselens, and Pieter van Laer, to mention but a few whose relationship to his work is specially close. He often collaborated with Adam Frans Boudewijns (1644-1711), who played the same role in Brussels as the late imitators of Jan Brueghel in Antwerp: that is, he filled the sitting-rooms of the bourgeoisie with friendly, conventional little landscapes.

Painting by the artists Adrien Frans Boudewijns Boudewyns (1644-1711) and Pieter Bout Peter Botte (1658-1719)
Composition with larger figures

 

 


Dictionary of Art. 
Edited by Jane Turner. Published 1996.

Page 521
Boudewijns [Baudewyns; Bauduins; Boudewyns], Adrian Frans [Adrien-Francois] (baptised Brussels, 3 Oct 1644; died Brussels, 1711).  Flemish painter, draughtsman and engraver.  He was the son of Nicolas Boudewijns and Francoise Jonquin.  On 5 October 1664 he married Louise de Ceul, and on 22 November 1665 he became a master in the Brussels Guild of St Luke, after having been registered as a pupil of Ignatius van der Stock (flourished 1660) in the same year.  By 1669 he had fled to Paris where he met fellow Flemings, Pieter Boel, Abraham Genoels, Adam Frans van der Meulen and Jan van Hughtenburgh (1647-1733), and where he was mainly active as an engraver.  He engraved van der Meulen's 'Battles of Louis XIV' and numerous works by Genoels, van Hughtenburgh and by himself.  These prints combine bold execution with careful attention to detail.  In 1669-70 he was sent to the southern Netherlands with Genoels and van Hughtenburgh to draw three view of the chateau of Mariemont as tapestry designs for the Gobelins.  In the Gobelins accounts there is evidence that the three artists were also paid for a series of tapestry designs depicting the 'Months of the Year'.  On 12 January 1670 his second marriage took place, to Barbara van der Meulen, Frans's sister.  After her death in 1674, he left Paris and returned to Brussels, where he is first mentioned in 1677.  In 1682 he accepted Andries Meulebeeck and Mattijs Schoevaerdts as pupils, and in 1694 his cousin Adriaen Boudewijns (born 1673) was apprenticed to him.
All the surviving paintings by Adriaen Frans Boudewijns were probably produced after his return from Paris.  They are all landscapes, meticulously painted (eg Landscape with Animals; Aalst, Gal. Pintelon) and often peopled with figures painted by Pieter Bout.  Several feature brightly lit sands flats surrounded by trees and are related in style of composition and choice of motifs to the work of Jacques d'Arthois and Cornelis Huysmans.  There are also a number of flat landscapes with Italianate architectural features and a row of hills as a backdrop; a series of village and river landscapes in which the compositional structure and technical precision recall the style of Jan Breughel I.
Among the surviving drawings by Boudewijns are two signed examples (both Dresden, Kupferstichkab.), oval in shape and depicting an Italianate river landscape.  Their high degree of finish suggests that they are preparatory studies for prints.  The delicate yet confident handling that characterizes these drawings as well as Boudewijns's later painted work was imitated in a clumsy manner by his cousin.

Dictionary of Art. 
Edited by Jane Turner. Published 1996.

Page 589
Bout, Pieter [Peeter] (baptised Brussels, 5 Dec 1658; died Brussels, 28 Jan 1719).  Flemish painter draughtsman and etcher.  He enrolled at the Brussels gild of painters in 1671; his teacher is not known.  From circa 1675 he spent several years in Paris, where he frequently collaborated with Adriaen Frans Boudewijns, a fellow countryman, as in the 'Village Fair' (1686; Antwerp, Kon. Mus. S. Kst.), for which he painted the figures.  He was then active in Brussels, where he married in 1695.  He probably visited Italy.
Almost all Bout's dated works were made before 1700.  He painted views of towns, villages, ports and beaches in the tradition of Jan Breughel I.  They are similar to the paintings of Boudewijns and Jacques d'Arthois, for whom he often also painted staffage.  He also painted Italianate landscapes in the manner of Nicholaes Berchem, such as the 'Resting Place' (circa 1680; Amsterdam, Rijksmus.).  His paintings have an easy and lively character, and he used the brush with precision, as in the 'Return of the Fisherman' (1677; Frankfurt am Main, Stadel. Kstinst. & Stadt. Gal.).
Thematically as well as compositionally , Bout's drawings and etchings are similar to the paintings; the drawings are usually in pen and wash, executed with close attention to detail, for example the 'Beach Scene with Fish Merchants' (Rotterdam, Boymans-van Beuningen).  There are five of his own etchings and three executed by A. F. Bargas (possibly a pupil) after his designs, characterized by fine, sketchy lines, in some places retouched with the burin.  Also typical are the heavy, rather unsophisticated shadows.

If anyone has any information to add to what is listed please contact me on jj@jjhc.info

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