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Daniel Dupré (Amsterdam 1751-1817)

The Jan Wellem fountain at the Grafenberger forest, Dusseldorf

inscribed ‘Vuë de l’interieúr de la Soúrse d’eaú a Gravenberg pres de Dusseldorff. 1785.’ ('verso')
pen and grey ink, grey wash, grey ink framing lines, fragmentary watermark crowned fleur-de-lys
18.9 x 21.7 cm

Private collection, The Netherlands.

Daniel Dupré was first trained by the landscape painter Johannes van Dregt (1737- 1807), and continued his training under Jurriaan Andriessen (1742-1819) at the Stadstekenacademie (drawing academy) in Amsterdam. [1] Specializing in landscape painting at the Stadstekenacademie, Dupré would go on to dedicate the entirety of his artistic career to this genre, albeit expressing it through a different medium, that of drawing. The majority of Dupré’s drawn œuvre consists of sheets made during the artist’s extensive travels. His first journey took him to Switzerland, after which he continued his travels to the Rhine River, and trips to Mannheim and Dusseldorf in 1783. [2] In 1786, Dupré submitted a painting to the Oeconomischen Tak van de Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen (a society to promote trade, industry and prosperity) in Haarlem, to showcase his abilities as a painter. [3] The society praised Dupré’s work and granted him a scholarship and awarded him with a stipend of 50 ducats per year to travel and study works of art in Germany and Italy. This sojourn, which lasted 4 years (1786-1790), resulted in a large number of meticulously executed drawings (often inscribed by the artist on the verso with the location of the drawing), which give us a clear idea of the artist’s travels and the landscapes, towns and cities he encountered. [4]
The present drawing, inscribed and dated 1785, predates Dupré’s four-year sojourn to Germany and Italy and was likely based on an earlier sketch he made during his trip to Dusseldorf in 1783. Dupré’s inscription identifies the subject of the drawing as a water source in ‘Gravenberg pres de Dusseldorff’- a fountain that still exists today and is indeed situated in the ‘Grafenberger Wald’. It was built in 1702 by order of the German elector of the Pfalz, Johann Wilhelm II (1658-1716), known as Jan Wellem in the Low Countries- from whom the fountain gains its name. In 1815, it was redesigned by Adolph von Vagedes –
a Neo-Classical architect who was responsible for the design of a number of important buildings and monuments in Dusseldorf – and the fountain’s design has not changed since. Dupré’s drawing (one of the few drawings from his German trips), therefore, is all the more interesting as it shows us what the original fountain must have looked like.

[1] R. van Eijnden and A. van der Willigen, 'Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, sedert de helft der XVIII eeuw', Haarlem, 1830 [reprint, Amsterdam, 1979], vol. 2, p. 394.
[2] R. van Eijnden and A. van der Willigen, op. cit., p. 394.
[3] ibid., p. 394.
[4] A particularly large group, including a large number of sheets from the I.Q. van Regteren Altena collection (gifted in 2013) of the artist’s drawings can be found in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. See also I. Oud, M. Jonker and M. Schapelhouman, 'In de Ban van Italië: Tekeningen uit een Amsterdamse Verzameling', Amsterdam, 1995, nos. 43-49.

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