Wilder Darling (1855[?]-1933)

  • WILDER DARLING (1855[?]—1933)
  • Wood Gathering
  • Oil on canvas
  • 18 x 12 ½ inches
  • Signed lower right: WILDER DARLING

Wood Gathering is a quintessential example of Darling’s Dutch genre scenes. A young peasant girl, no more than ten years old, is collecting scarps of wood to bring back to her home for her family’s fire. She is dressed in traditional clothes of rough homespun shirt and skirt, with a red vest and a small Dutch bonnet covering her hair. Centered in the middle of the composition, she looks out at her viewer while cradled in the curve of worn grass beneath her feet and an arch of branches above, and framed from behind with a roughhewn plank fence and walls of a neighboring stone cottage. The painting betrays the strong influence of Rembrandt in both its muted colors and dim light. This painting is an archetypical vignette that documents the simple, old world lifestyle that was fading in the face of modernization.

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