AART SCHOUMAN (1710-1792). Ingenious Painter and Draughtsman
LAURENS J. BOL
1991. (31 x 26 cm) 125 pp. with 105 ills. (70 in color). Cloth bound with dustjacket
ISBN 90 70288 73 7
Aart Schouman can be aptly described as one of the most neglected and underestimated painters of the eighteenth century. The explanation for this can undoubtedly be found in the fact that a great part of his oeuvre - painted wall-hangings and chimney- and doorpieces - were nailed firmly in place in the rooms and halls for which they were made, unintentionally relegated to obscurity.
In the field of painted wall-hangings Aart Schouman had a predecessor in his fellow townsman Abraham Busschop, who was in his turn, inspired by Melchior d'Hondecoeter.
After a short period in which he painted religious and mythological subjects, Schouman proceeded to make his most important contribution in this field: the many colored bird-piece, with indigenous and exotic birds and mammals. Many of these wall-hangings were removed from their original 'homes' and subsequently sold to collectors abroad or lost. Only one set was preserved for the Netherlands, acquiring a place in the Royal Palace 'Huis ten Bosch'.
Schouman's two main channels of expression were painting and drawing. Of the large number of oil paintings he made, only a few have been handed down to us. Examples of his draughtmanship however, have been been preserved in superabundance. There are numerous depictions in Indian ink, watercolor, and gouache of animals (especially birds) and plants, as well as topographical views. In this last category Schouman may be called one of the first modern Dutch aquarellists.