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Fine Art/18th Century Painting Information


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QUESTION: Hi Lombardo,

I have a painting that looks 18Th century Dutch or French...
The Painting is on wood panel is 9 1/2" x 11 1/2",
The frame size is 14" x 16".

Can you recognize the Period, Artist or Country of origin?
Or anything you can tell me about it...



ANSWER: Hello Hernan.
In order to  help you, I will need the following images;

-A good clear overall image,but  without the use of any flash  - in order to avoid any glare.
-A good clear  detailled image, also  without the use of any flash - of the  writing on the  white  piece of cloth which is  pinned to the box, on the lower  left of the picture.
-A good clear image of the back  of the painting.

I look forward, to seeing the images.
Take care.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

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Tried to take some more pictures, but without flash is too hard.
Hope these pictures help and I look forward for your comments.



Hello Hernan.
Many thanks for the extra images,  as they have prove to be very invaluable.
As with  many things in life, I have some  good news and also  some perhaps - less good news.

-   Firstly,the less good news.

The artist and authorship.

Unfortunately after an exhaustive search of  the archives, I am unable to find any >>  track record << for  an artist called Willie Grans.
This means, that it has been executed by an unknown artist.
However, this  fact is very common and also quite widespread  - as there are far  more >>unknown artists<<  circulating, than  those with a proven >>track record<<.

-   Secondly, the good news

The Origin and background

The painting  is  both German and executed  in - or around, 1870-80.
It belongs to the style of works as is often painted by artists from the German  Münchner Schule  - or the late 19th century Munich school of painting.

The scene portrays that of the almost extinct job, of >> public letter writer <<.
I say almost, because alongside fortune tellers and other  such  intermediary  figures,  in some perhaps less  developed parts of the world,  the role of the  >>public letter writer<< is still going strong.
Indeed,  such roles are not so very much different than when the majority of us today - need to get our  yearly (IRS) tax returns;  sorted out by an accountant.

However at that period of time, it would have been very normal to visit such a person as the vast majority of people, were  totally illiterate, or only partially literate.
Therefore,  as in the case of the young girl in the painting, she is  rather busy explaining the contents of her letter to the  man, who for a small fee - is her “letter writer.”

Normally -  if the  receiver of the letter were also of limited education, then perhaps a priest might decipher the contents, or perhaps even the postman  - over a cup of coffee in the kitchen.

To hasard some iconography of the subject matter, I could well  find it plausable that the  girl on the painting has rather a long list of  subjects  for the letter contents.
If fact, it appears that she has rather a long list of things - which all needs to be written about.
It might be an understatement to say, that the  “letter writer” has all gone a bit pale and has removed his reading glasses as he listens and stares;  with a rather dazed and vacant look on his face, as the girls voice - grinds on and on and……..
In fact, he has almost filled up his sheet of paper – but the girl with her “dreamy eyes” is oblivious to this fact.

There are  a number of reasons  for painting this  ”genre” of life.

1)   It might well be  executed, as the  typical  moralistic picture of a girl, with an endless wagging tongue.

2)    It might also well be executed as both a plea and  a warning,  against  the taking of  young children,  who then are removed from school and sent to work – rather than  finishing  a basic rudimentary education. (i.e. you will never fully realise you dreams,  without being able to manage the basics)

This kind of work is quite often found in the  Munich School – though it is  not exclusively used by them.
That, in a somewhat  enlarged nutshell -  is the story behind your painting.
I hope, that your are  now provided with  more insights into the painting and I wish  you very good luck with it; in the future.
Take care.

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D. E. Lombardo


I am unable to answer enquiries concerning objects, which are NOT related to the areas of Fine Art and Antiques. Nor will I; on the sole basis of any photographic images be willing to give any definitive monetary valuations, or monetary opinions. In such cases I would always advise on getting “real time” valuations and opinions from reputable and qualified auction houses, or third parties. In some applicable cases, I may perhaps give general indications of value, based on the presented materials. True valuations always need a direct “hands on” approach, with perhaps also the necessary research and verifications. Broadly open to almost all questions, regarding the majority of both European, American quality objects, which are related to both Antiques and Fine Art. This also includes modern 20th century designer objects such as furniture etc. My own particular comfort zone areas would be; The decorative Arts, marble, stone, furniture, ivory, bone, amber, ceramics and porcelain, sculpture, glass, silver and metal objects etc. I will also answer inquiries, and give opinions concerning Dutch 17th, 18th and 19th century paintings. Please note that I do have limitations and cannot possibly answer all questions, as the field is very extensive. VERY IMPORTANT and PLEASE NOTE: Please note that; providing > GOOD CLEAR and Preferably High Resolution < photo's of the object(s)in question, is vital. Pics taken with a cell/mobile phone, are of a poor quality and best avoided. Posting signatures only, or just fragments of an artifact - will only provide me with insufficient information and it is often quite misleading. So please; Do post good clear overall images, with your question(s). Failing to do so, may cause rejection, which is also a great pity.


Since the early 90’s I lead a team of very enthusiastic staff at a business, where have the following disciplines; Restoration and refurbishment of historical buildings and gardens, including interior design. The restoration and care of Fine Art and Antiques at our restoration studio We are also Fine Art and Antique dealers, besides being collectors ourselves for a great number of years.

The main professional organization of which I am a member is the BNA, or Association of Dutch Architects, which is equivalent to the US; American Institute of Architects. Affiliated to the Art Loss Register in London and the International Cites Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Villa Rufolo; The forgotten paradise on earth. Published by the University of Aarhus, Denmark Book reviews and articles for International Archis Magazine, in the Netherlands.

Since I wished to become a Restoration Architect, firstly I took my BA degree in Art History. Then after graduation, I followed this immediately by studies to graduate and become a Restoration Architect. Ever since then, I have been an established Restoration Architect and Antiquarian. Since a great number of buildings are also inhabited by Fine Art fixtures and furnishings, I also became absorbed by all the artifacts, which go to fill them and not only the edifices themselves. This and much more, was the reason for gaining an advisory post on the City Commission; For The Protection and Care of Historic Monuments of Amsterdam - Amstelveen.

Awards and Honors
Citations and gratitude; “From the Town of Amalfi” for the groundwork achieved in order bring back the Historical past to the Medieval Villa Rufolo and its vital role in the region. BA in Art Hisory. Graduation Diploma as an Architect & Antiquarian; and also practicing as such. I have also completed a 3 year course in antiques, at the VHOK in Amsterdam VHOK is translated as; ( "The Association of Fine Art Dealers In The Netherlands.")

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