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Willem Hekking (Amsterdam 1796-1862)

A purple hedge bindweed

signed ‘W. Hekking Fc.’
traces of graphite, watercolour, graphite framing lines, watermark JWhatman 1836 20.9 x 22.3 cm

Francina Louise Martin-Schot (1816 – 1894), and by descent to the present owners.

Like his father, Theodorus Hekking (1766-1819), Willem started his career as a painter of wall hangings. Rather early in his career, however, he specialised in drawings and paintings depicting fruits and flowers which received praise from his contemporaries. [1] Amongst Hekking’s pupils were his son, Willem Jr (1825-1904) and Adriana Maria van Toulon (1792- 1880) who also specialised in still-life painting.
Hekking continued producing watercolours of fruits and flowers throughout his career and it is perhaps in these watercolours that the artist excelled most. His watercolours demonstrate the artist’s exceptional skill in handling the medium as well as his great eye for detail. They tend to depict single fruits, vegetables or flowers isolated blank sheets of paper. Such drawings can be found, for example, in Teylers Museum and Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam and the Centraal Museum, Utrecht. [2]

The present drawing, which colours have been remarkably well preserved, shows a purple hedge bindweed curling around itself across the sheet and ranks amongst Hekking’s finest drawings. While some of the artist’s sheets appear to be of an almost scientific nature, this sheet combines both a scientific and artistic approach. The composition is highly elegant, yet at the same time Hekking made sure to show all the aspects of the plant in greatest detail; the leaves are shown from below and above and the flowers are depicted from bud to full blossom.

The sheet was acquired by the artist Francina Louise Martin-Schot (1816-1894), presumably directly from the artist and has remained in the same family ever since. Martin- Schot, like Hekking, specialised in flower and still-life painting and worked most of her life in Rotterdam. She became a member of the Koninklijke Academie in Amsterdam in 1847 and exhibited numerous times in The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

[1] R. van Eijnden and A. van der Willigen, Geschiedenis der Vaderlandsche Schilderkunst, sedert de helft der XVIII eeuw, III, 1830 [reprint, Amsterdam, 1979], p. 307.
[2] Teylers Museum, inv. AA 85a and AA 85b; Boijmans Van Beuningen, inv. PAK 90 (PK); Centraal Museum, Utrecht, inv. 25941

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