The Little Street

The Little Street

Dutch school, 20th century, oil on canvas





The little street after Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675).

Johannes Vermeer was a Dutch painter in the Golden Age and now known worldwide for his works ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’, ‘The Milkmaid’, ‘The Little Street’ and many others. Vermeer was baptized on October 31, 1632 in Delft, and was buried there again on December 15, 1675. Vermeer’s father was called Reynier Jansz Vos and he became after 1631 an art dealer, his mother was called Dina Baltens.

Vermeer’s paintings have diverse genres in which the ideal composition and refined use of color are the norm. His preference for painting subdued moments often comes to the fore in his works. Despite depicting subdued moments, Vermeer sometimes opted for expensive pigments, mainly lead tin yellow and ultramarine. Vermeer often made use of a repoussoir, a chair or a curtain to enhance the depth effect on the painting.

Vermeer worked meticulously and concentrated on his paintings, so it sometimes took several months before one painting was finished. He therefore produced about two or three paintings a year. Thirty-five paintings were attributed to him in 2017, but many more are believed to have been lost. Not all works attributed to Vermeer are signed, and that provided space for master forgers in the past.

Impossible to imagine now, but Vermeer was forgotten. His work remained undervalued long after his death. This changed in 1866 after the French critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger (1807-1869) wrote a monograph on him. This French critic believed that painters should more often depict contemporary subjects as Vermeer did. Herewith Théophile Thoré-Bürger criticized French painting styles of his time. He praised Vermeer so much that he even named him the Sphinx of Delft, because very little was known about him. This sudden international attention for Vermeer’s work led to a hunt for all of his works, and many foreign traders and influential people managed to get hold of a work. Because of this run on his work, the forgotten Vermeer was suddenly in the spotlight among the other old masters.


The word after is often used in museums, art galleries and antique stores. The meaning is very simple, it is a copy of that specific artist’s work where the word ‘after’ is placed before or after the artist’s name. It is very important not to forget that the word ‘after’ has nothing to do with ‘faking’ the artist’s work.

An (unknown) artist can paint a copy of a famous work which is exhibited in a museum. This copy if not a fake, because the (unknown) artist is not claiming to be the original artist of the work. When the (unknown) artist wants to sell his own copy, the word ‘after’ is placed before or after the original artist’s work. Now, the work is not a fake, but a nicely made copy.

Using the word ‘after’ for copies has already been done for centuries. But there are different levels of ‘afters’. An ‘after’ can already be an ‘after’ when an (unknown) artist is copying in 2020 the work ‘The starry night’ by Van Gogh. The (unknown) artist is far removed from the original artist by time and association. A very high level of an ‘after’ is when the original artist is involved or approves the ‘after’. Even an original signature by the original artist can be placed on the ‘after’.

Even tough an ‘after’ is a copy, the value and quality can still be very high and ‘afters’ will stay highly collectible.

The Little Street








Sold with frame

This item is sold including its frame.

Frame condition

Traces of wear and tear and slight signs of aging are visible.


Oil on canvas


Dutch School


The Netherlands


20th century




In fair condition with retouches and traces of wear and tear and signs of aging are visible.


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