"Der Grosse Versammel-platz der Wind Verkauffer. A. 1720 / De Grote Vergader-plaats der Windverkopers van 't Ao. 1720", Anon.
Subject: Satire - Stock Trading
Period: 1720 (published)
Publication: Het Groote Tafereel der Dwaasheid
Color: Black & White
13.4 x 8.6 inches
34 x 21.8 cm
This engraving is from the important account of one the most infamous financial meltdowns in history, known as the Mississippi Bubble incident. The central engraving shows a large gathering in a coffee shop of stockbrokers, known as "wind dealers" for selling shares for nothing. Flanking this image are four small vignettes of various periods during the Mississippi Bubble incident, including the prospering of the brokers, the fall of the brokers (here shown literally), the departure of the brokers, and the restoration of "pure" trade. There are columns of verses in Dutch below the scene.
John Law, a Scottish financier, established the Banque Generale (central bank) in France. He was then granted control of Louisiana and founded the Compagnie de la Louisiane d'Occident, in 1717. Law developed an elaborate plan to exploit the fabulous resources of the region, which quickly gained popularity and people rushed to invest, not just in France, but throughout Europe. This resulted in the development of several other overseas companies, such as the English South Sea Company and a number of smaller companies in the Dutch Republic. The share prices rose dramatically in a frenzy of speculation. In 1720 the bubble burst; speculators cashed in, caused a run on the shares, and the company went bankrupt. As a consequence of the failure, confidence in other similar companies failed, and thousands of individual investors across Europe were ruined.
A nice impression on a clean, bright sheet with an archivally repaired tear confined to the right blank margin.