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Water buffalo

Relined, unsigned
Oil on canvas, 30 x 35.5 cm



Frans Lebret was trained as a painter in Dordrecht. He painted Dutch landscapes mainly with sheep. He essentially was a painter of animals in Dutch landscapes. Thanks to financial help from his brother Gerrit who had a sugar estate in Java, and his job as a drawing teacher, Frans was able to survive his first years as a painter. Later he became quite successful and was able to live of the sale of his landscape paintings with animals. In 1863, together with his brother Jan Hendrik, he travelled to Indonesia to visit his brother Gerrit at his sugar estate near Pasuruan in Java.

The two bothers stayed in Indonesia for five months. Frans and Jan Hendrik took notes of their voyage to and in Java and Frans made over a hundred drawings depicting people and landscapes many of them with water buffalo. Back in Dordrecht Frans made an illustrated account of their trip. It was published only very recently: Op reis met pen en penseel, Frans en Jan Hendrik Lebret als toerist naar java, 1863. Anne Leussink en Wyke Sybesma, Zutphen 2017. In his times his Indonesian drawing and paintings were appreciated, but 70 years later when his son offered over a hundred drawings and sketches made during his trip to Java, to the Dortdrechts Museum the museum was hardly interested. Only because of the persistance of his son, Lebret’s paintings and drawings were eventually accepted by the museum. Only 6 of his sketches from Indonesia are known to have been worked out into oil paintings by Frans Lebret. The present painting might be number seven.

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