Young woman wearing an ice skate by Jacob Ernst Marcus


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Jacob Ernst Marcus

Sint Eustatius 1774 – Amsterdam 1826

Young woman wearing an ice skate

Sanguine on paper.

227 x 154 mm – 8 15/6 x 6 1/16 in.

Signed « I Marcus » at the bottom left.

Jacob Ernst Marcus, born in 1774 on the island of Sint-Eustatius, also known as Statia is one of the few 18th-century artists with West Indian roots. Sint Eustatius, one of the smallest islands in the West Indies with an area of only 21 km², was home to many plantations. It was there that Marcus discovered his passion for drawing as a child, scribbling ships that fought each other in battle.

In 1783, the young Jacob Ernst left for the Netherlands with his father. Although his West Indian origin was known, he no longer referred to his past. The edition of his engraved works from the first half of the 19th century begins with the phrase: “Jacob Ernst Marcus was not Dutch”. Yet he quickly established himself in the Dutch art world. first student of the famous artists Steven Goblé and Reinier Vinkeles, he became an independent designer and engraver, founder of the artistic company Kunst Zij Ons Doel (« Art is our goal »). He also became known as a book illustrator.

His subjects are most often drawn from daily life and observed vividly. His book illustrations reflect feelings in harmony with the texts they accompany. Marcus had the talent to capture the beauty of the ordinary, with attention to detail and charming elegance.

This drawing can be compared to l’Man on his knees kept at the Rijkspentenkabinet in Amsterdam (inv. RP-T-1935-24), at the Female nude sitting formerly at Christie’s in Amsterdam in November 1998 (lot n° 235) and to the artist’s engravings that depict scenes from everyday life.

Condition report: Small tear at the edge, middle at the bottom.