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“The Toy Seller” (1874) Antique Oil Painting by Fritz Beinke (German, 1842-1907



"THE TOY SELLER" (1874) BY FRITZ BEINKE (GERMAN, 1842-1907) Executed in oil on canvas; signed lower left "F. Beinke '74" Item # 009XZP18Q An intricately detailed genre scene that depicts a traveling Toy Seller that has set up his wares at the city gate where he greets the local children and shows them his goods, offering a drawing of a duck to a young girl while a schoolboy looks on eagerly. Bright light of the village limits lined with cottages scattered throughout a pastoral landscape pours through the gates as children walk the dirt path, perhaps returning from their day in school as several grasp books tightly. Behind the salesman is a covered wagon that is likely filled with more colorful toys, his hound resting comfortably in the shadow while chicks peck at the dirt ground along the stone walls. The bag of spilled goods suggests this traveler does not limit his trade simply to toys; colorful cloths are piled high in the bag while belt buckles, scissors, utensils and other trinkets are scattered on the ground where a young girl seeks to pick them up. Beinke often made several versions of his paintings, for example executing his At the Cologne Fair in at least two different sizes (24" x 21" achieved $ 11,000 USD in New York on November 1st of 1999; 10 1/4" x 13 1/2" achieved $ 9,775 just a few years earlier in New York when sold July 18-19th in 1996). His The Toy Seller is no exception, this offered in old auction records in much smaller scale of 14" x 10" and 11" x 8 1/4". The present work is the earliest example of this scene we have found and seems to be the most complete. The level of expression, exquisite detail and lifelike storytelling are a distinct departure from the handful of caricature like sketches of this scene that were likely produced by Beinke for the broader retail market. Born in Düsseldorf on April 23 of 1842, Fritz Beinke was the pupil of Andreas and Karl Müller, Karl and Wilhelm Sohn, and Bendemann at the Düsseldorf Academy from 1859 through 1867. After staying in Italy and Germany, he returned to settle in his native city. He won an award in Cologne in 1871 for his painting Evening Prayer, Black Forest and another prize in Düsseldorf in 1902 for A Farm. He died in the city of his birth in 1907. [Source: Benezit] Artist Listings & Bibliography: E. Benezit Dictionary of Artists, Vol. II, Gründ, 2006, p. 43-44 [auction results reference two separate works "Toy Seller": one sold in Vienna 24 November 2003 for 2,400 euros measuring 14" x 10"; the second sold in Stockholm 19 April 1989 measuring 11" x 8 1/4" and selling for 30,000 SEK See Lauritz Auction, Düsseldorf, 13 July 2011; a small scale sketch in oil of the same three figure arrangement for the Toy Seller measuring 13 3/4" x 9 1/2" See Fine Estate, Inc., California, lot 324, 24 May 2019; a small oil on panel quickly reproducing the same scene in lesser scale and detail, dated 1882, measuring 13 1/2" x 9 1/2" Popular 19th Century Painting: A Dictionary of European Genre Painters, Phillip Hook and Mark Poltimore, 1986 Measurements: 31 3/8" W x 34 1/4" H [canvas]; 38" W x 41" H x 1 3/4" D [frame] Condition Report: Unlined. Craquelure throughout surface including spider-web over the toy seller's cap. Some yellowing to surface that would benefit eventually from being cleaned. Under UV does not show any flaring to suggest repairs, though a small spot in the upper right corner does appear to be overpaint from a prior repair. Tiny chip loss of paint to toy seller's pant leg. Contemporary frame with minor wear to edges.


  • Dimensions
    Height: 41 in. (104.14 cm)Width: 38 in. (96.52 cm)Depth: 1.75 in. (4.45 cm)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    Circa 1874
  • Condition
    Repaired: A small spot in the upper right corner does appear to be overpaint from a prior repair. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. See condition notes in description text.
  • Seller Location
    Shippensburg, PA
  • Reference Number
    Seller: 009XZP18Q | Silla, ltd.1stDibs: LU1059021297352

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    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Ships From: Shippensburg, PA
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4.9 / 5
Located in Shippensburg, PA
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