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Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-1685)
PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-1685)

An apothecary in his study

Details
Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem 1610-1685)
An apothecary in his study
signed and dated 'Av. Ostade. 1671' ('Av' linked, lower right, on the arm of the chair)
oil on panel
11¼ x 8¾ in. (28.5 x 22.3 cm.)
Provenance
George Morant; his sale, Phillips, London, 19 May 1832 [=2nd day], lot 107, ‘The Physician’ (90 gns.).
Acquired by the grandfather of the present owner in circa 1950.
Literature
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, And French Painters..., IX, London, 1842, p. 99, no. 63.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné of the works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, London, 1910, p. 166, no. 81 (with incorrect dimensions).

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Clementine Sinclair
Clementine Sinclair

Lot Essay

Dated 1671, this is a fine example of Adriaen van Ostade’s mature style, which is marked by increasingly elegant subject matter, a more colourful palette, and a highly refined and detailed technique. Ostade’s early range of tavern scenes and depictions of brawling and gambling peasants, painted loosely in subdued brown and ochre tones, evolved as his career progressed into a more idealised vision of daily life; with single-figure depictions of affluent professionals – lawyers, doctors and physicians – at work in their studies, becoming a central part of the artist’s repertoire through the 1660s and 70s.

The smartly dressed protagonist in this picture, who is rendered with admirable precision, is shown working at a draped table strewn with jars, flasks, books and other objects. He is smartly dressed and treated by Ostade with considerable respect, as a diligent and highly educated man of learning, even if his study is somewhat disorderly. Variously referred to in the past as a physician or doctor, the sitter can perhaps better be described as an apothecary, here seen concocting some kind of elixir from the array of potions on his table, with reference to the Kruidenboek open on his lectern. Similar works by the artist are in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin (dated 1665; inv. no. 1498) and in the Petit Palais in Paris (dated 1666; inv. PDUT00921).

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