Why Willem Johan Cornelis Jacobus Lodewijk Stern’s parents burdened him with such a long name will forever remain a mystery. In fact, much of the artist’s life is still a mystery. We do know that he was born in the Netherlands in 1879 and died in 1939, that he lived and worked in various cities and towns within Holland, and that he was an apprentice of artist H.M. Krabbe, who taught at the Applied Arts School in Haarlem. Stern was mainly a painter of animals (especially dogs, horses and rabbits), flowers, still lifes and landscapes.
As the artist lived and worked in the age in which impressionism was making a big splash on the Continent, it can be said that he was caught up in this art movement. Although the bunnies have form, the artist’s use of broad brush strokes gives the work a fluidity and lend the impressionistic feeling to it.
The green background with bits of white and gray seem more like a sea of grass with hints of flowers where the rabbits are placed, rather than a traditional garden. The carrots strewn before our subjects are a brownish orange, and while they resemble carrots, they are more of the artist’s interpretation of them.
The rabbits are rounded and mostly white with their fur in shades of brown, black and gray. In spite of the impressionistic feel and flavor of the painting, there is a feeling of genuine affection for the subject matter. It is signed toward the right corner in dark brown with the artist’s name and the date of 1920.
This charming and creative piece is in its original carved and gilded frame. It has great detail; however, it was re-painted gold at some later date.
The painting is in excellent condition. There is a slight amount of crazing where the paint was more heavily applied. There was a small hole in the painting that I had not previously observed; I have had this professionally restored and the painting was given a light clean at that time. The frame is in excellent condition.
It measures 23 inches wide by 17 inches high, including the frame.
Three Rabbits in a Meadow, by Willem Stern
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