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Paulus Constantijn La Fargue, The Grote Markt at The Hague

Key facts
Full title The Grote Markt at The Hague
Artist Paulus Constantijn La Fargue
Artist dates 1729 - 1782
Date made 1760
Medium and support Oil on mahogany
Dimensions 57.6 × 75.9 cm
Inscription summary Signed; Dated
Acquisition credit Bought, 1903
Inventory number NG1918
Location Not on display
Collection Main Collection
The Grote Markt at The Hague
Paulus Constantijn La Fargue

La Fargue presents a flourishing market packed with people. He looks on his world fondly and with humour, making ’slice of life' pictures similar to William Hogarth, but without Hogarth’s merciless, satirical eye.

Seen from the Prinsengracht –- one of the principal thoroughfares of The Hague – the building in the centre is the Grote Kerk, the Church of St Jacob. On the left is the Boterhuis, a newly built warehouse for storing wholesale butter, one of the mainstays of the prosperous Dutch economy. In front of it, a market stall sells second-hand clothes.

La Fargue paints the tall trees with the impasto technique, so the surface of each leaf would be rough if you were to touch it. He paints every brick, every windowpane, every crooked drainpipe with care and precision. The fun of the picture, then and now, is in a personal interpretation of each little event, and in returning again and again to find something new to explore.

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