Paulus Constantijn La Fargue
1729 - 1782
The West Singelsgracht, The Hague, seen from the Loosduinsebrug
Born in The Hague, Paulus Constantijn La Fargue was a talented painter, draughtsman and printmaker. He was the most prolific member of a family of topographical artists, which also included his brothers Jacob Elias, Isaac Louis and Karel, as well as his sister Maria Margaretha.
Like many 18th-century Dutch topographical artists Paulus Constantijn began his career by painting wall decorations. In the late 1750s he worked in collaboration with his younger brother Jacob Elias for patrons such as the French Ambassador to The Hague, Louis-Auguste-Augustin, Comte d'Affry, and the English envoy, Sir Joseph Yorke. In 1761 he joined the 'Confrerie Pictura' art society, (at the same time as Jacob Elias) and in 1768 he was recorded as a pupil at the Academy in The Hague. Paulus' best works are townscapes and landscapes, although he also represented current events and painted portraits. Paulus' sepia drawings from the mid-1750s depict the countryside around The Hague and the Haagse Bos, with buildings playing only a minor part. In these he concentrated particularly on the luxuriant foliage of the trees. Townscapes first appeared in his work in the early 1760s and gradually came to dominate both his drawings and paintings. His topographical paintings, usually small, reflect the influence of Jan van der Heyden. The two best-known, however, are large-scale views of The Hague: View of the Hofvijver (1762; The Hague, Historisch Museum) and View of the Grote Markt (1760; London, National Gallery). They are topographically accurate, with lively colours and crowded staffage. Besides The Hague and its environs, Paulus depicted Rotterdam and, during the 1770s, views in and around Leiden, Haarlem and Amsterdam.
In addition to paintings he executed topographical watercolours, series of etchings and book illustrations.
This painting is something of a rarity in the oeuvre of P.C. La Fargue. It was painted as a pendant to a painting by his brother, Jacob Elias. There is also, as is very typical with his work, a preliminary drawing, dated 1757.
We are grateful to Charles Dumas for his kind assistance in cataloguing this work and for his confirmation that it will be included in his forthcoming catalogue raisonné on the La Fargue family.
Hendrik Verschuring (1695 - 1769), The Hague;
until his sale Rietmulder, The Hague, 17th September 1770, lot 63 with its pendant;
Jan Bisschop (1680/81 - 1771), Rotterdam;
Adrian Hope(1709-1781)&John Hope(1737-1784),Amsterdam until 1782;
Private Collection, Wiltshire, UK
E. Wiersum,‘Het schilderijen-kabinet van Jan Bisschop te Rotterdam’Oud-Holland25, 1910, p185.
J.W. Niemeijer, ‘De kunstverzameling van John Hope (1737‑1784)’, in J.P. Filedt Kok, C. van Hasselt & J.W. Niemeijer (red.) 'Verzamelen in Nederland', Haarlem 1982 (Nederlands Kunsthistorisch Jaarboek 32), p180, Nº73.