PIETER WITHOOS (Amersfoort 1654-1693 Amsterdam)
A praying mantis, two longhorn beetles, a grasshopper in flight and other insects
signed with initials ‘p:w:fe.’ (lower right) and numbered ‘10.’ (lower left)
pen and brown ink, watercolor
9 x 1338 in. (23 x 34 cm)
with H. Shickman Gallery, New York.
Grace L. Lambert (1900-1993), Princeton; Sotheby’s, New York, 12 January 1994, lot 197.
with Otto Naumann Gallery, New York.
S. Anderson in Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt. Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 2016, p. 326, under no. 99, ill.
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Lot Essay

Pieter Withoos was the second son of the Dutch painter Matthias Withoos (1627-1703). Closely following in the footsteps of his father, Pieter established himself with his accurate depictions of a variety of plants, flowers, birds, and insects. Withoos’s drawings, often part of albums, were actively commissioned and collected during his lifetime.The artist appears to have used the same specimens in different drawings. For example, the praying mantis and the band-winged grasshopper at upper right depicted here appear also in a sheet in the Harvard Art Museums (inv. 1999.182; see Anderson, op. cit., no. 99, ill.) with only small variations in their poses.

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