Gerard de la Vallée – Forest landscape with Christ and the Centurion – 1632
Gerard de la Vallée (1596/1597 – after 1667) was a Flemish painter of landscapes and history paintings. His work was inspired by the great Flemish masters and mainly produced for the export market.
Little is known with certainty about the life of Gerard de la Vallée. The artist is probably identical with Gerard van den Dale, who was born in Mechelen in 1596 or 1597. He may also have been born in Antwerp. He is recorded in Mechelen on 3 July 1620. He was active in Paris from 1620 to 1625. In 1625 he is again recorded in Mechelen where he produced a painting for the Baroque church called the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-over-de-Dijlekerk.
In the guild year 1626-1627 he was documented in Antwerp when he registered as a master in the local Guild of Saint Luke under the name Geeraert de la Vallee. A record dated 1636 of the artist acting as a witness for Guillam Forchondt and N. Lemmens is evidence that he was still in Antwerp at the time. He likely remained in the city until 1656. De la Vallee worked for the Forchondt workshop, which was one of the most important exporters of Flemish art to all corners of Europe and to South America. Many of the works produced in the Forchondt workshop, including those of Gerard de la Vallée, used copper as the support. This made it easier to export them from Antwerp to Seville where Forchondt had a trading post. From Seville the artworks where shipped through Cádiz to Vera Cruz (Mexico) where they were sold to local convents.
The place and time of his death are not known. It is believed he died after 1667 and before 1687.