Aken [Haecken], Joseph van
[Vanacken, Vanaken, Joseph]
(b ?Antwerp, c. 1699; d London, 4 July 1749).
active in England. In Antwerp he began painting genre scenes in the
Flemish tradition, such as The Washerwomen (c. 1715; priv. col., see
Edwards, fig. VI). He arrived in London with his family c. 1720 and
continued to produce genre paintings as well as conversation pieces.
His Interior of an Alehouse (sold London, Christie’s, 31 July 1953,
lot 106; see Waterhouse, p. 377) reveals his Flemish training,
although the figures are wooden and stilted and the work devoid of
moralizing intent. His Covent Garden Market (c. 1726–30; version,
London, Mus. London) and The Old Stocks Market (c. 1740; version,
London, Bank of England) show his adaptation of this genre tradition
to contemporary London scenes, and the several versions of these
works attest to their popularity. Van Aken also painted portraits,
such as Lady with a Fan (untraced; mezzotint, 1735). His
conversation pieces include A Musical Party on a Terrace (c. 1725;
Eastbourne, Towner A.G. & Local Hist. Mus.), which betrays a French
influence in its lively brushwork and informal composition.