Hendrik de Meijer (Amsterdam 1744 – 1793 London)
A Man Selling Poultry
Graphite, pen and brown ink, brown wash, black ink framing lines, on handmade laid paper, 142 x 120 mm
Signed on the verso: ‘Hk Meyer inv et fecit’
Provenance: private collection, The Netherlands
Hendrik de Meijer was born in Amsterdam in 1744.1 He was first taught by the obscure artist David Coenraadts (c.1713–1781), and subsequently attended the Amsterdam Drawing Academy or Stadstekenacademie from 1764 to 1768. In 1766 he married, became a citizen of Amsterdam, and soon thereafter joined the Guild of St Luke. In 1768 he moved to Haarlem and specialised in painted wall decorations, ‘behangsels’. In 1772, the year in which our series was executed, he became one of the founding directors of the Haarlem Drawing Academy, where he taught Cornelis Apostool, Jos van den Berg, Egbert van Drielst, Leendert Overbeek and Barend Hendrik Thier, among others.
In 1774 or 1775 he visited London with Wybrand Hendriks, another director of the academy. From 1775 to 1782 he worked in Leiden, and from 1782 to 1789 in Amsterdam, where he married a sister of the artist Daniël Dupré after the death of his first wife. In that year he moved to London, where he exhibited at the Royal Academy annually. He also made etchings combined with aquatint in London, a fashionable medium at the time. ‘Henry Meyer’, as he was known in England, lived at 34 Charles Street (Middlesex Hospital), when he died in 1793. Meijer’s estate was sold in London by the auctioneer Greenwood on 29-30 April of the same year.2 According to Christiaan Josi, a Dutch art dealer living in London at the time, Meijer’s work found a ready market there.3
This beautiful little drawing is a typical example of De Meijer’s drawings, doubtlessly intended for a collector of ‘papierconst’ (paper art), as it is signed on the back, indicating it was intended to be sold
1. He was not born in 1737 as was previously thought. For the artist, see: P.A.F. van de Kamp, Hendrik Meijer (1744-1793): leermeester & tekenaar, thesis, The Hague 2002.
2. Lugt 5047.
3. See Jane Shoaf Turner and Robert-Jan te Rijdt (eds.), Home and Abroad: Dutch and Flemish Landscape Drawings from the John and Marine van Vlissingen Art Foundation, exh. cat. Amsterdam (Rijksmuseum) and Paris (Fondation Custodia) 2015-16, p. 192.