Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem c. 1610-1685)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus bu… Read more THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN (Lot 70)
Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem c. 1610-1685)

De Drinker: Three boors drinking and smoking in a spirit house

Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade (Haarlem c. 1610-1685)
De Drinker: Three boors drinking and smoking in a spirit house
signed 'Av Ostade' (Av linked, lower centre)
oil on panel
11¼ x 9 1/16 in. (28.6 x 23 cm.)
Willem Fabricius; sale, Bosch, Haarlem, 19 August 1749, lot 3 (with the pendant, lot 4, 305 guilders to J.M. Cock on behalf of Braamcamp).
Gerrit Braamcamp (1699-1771), Herengracht, Amsterdam; (+) sale, Van der Schley, Amsterdam, 31 July 1771, lot 158, one of a pair, 'Deeze twee Stukjes zyn natuurlyk, uitvoerig, envan de kostbaarste van deezen Meester. In de Beschryving van Haarlem wordt gewaagd van een deezer Stukjes, onder den naam van de Drinker' (1,100 florins to Fouquet).
with Pierre Fouquet (1729-1800), Amsterdam, 1771, by whom presumably sold to
Nicolaas Nieuhoff; (+) sale, Van der Schley, Amsterdam, 14 April 1777, lot 156, 'Ce Tableau represente une Guinguette, dans laquelle il y a Trois Paysans, dont Deux sont assis, devant une Petite Table, sur laquelle on voit des Cartes, du Tabac, une Pipe & une Bouteille. L'un des Deux verse du vin, l'Autre fume la Pipe & le Troisième, qui est derrière, tient une Petite Bouteille de Boisson, à la Main ... Ces Deux Morceaux [ i.e. with the pendant, lot 157] sont des plus Beaux de ce Maître. Il est fait mention de l'un de ces Tableaux, dans le Description de la Ville d'Haarlem, sous ce Nom: le Buveur, en Hollandois: de Drinker' (with the pendant, lot 157, 1,530 florins to Fouquet)
with Pierre Fouquet (1729-1800), Amsterdam, 1777, by whom possibly sold to
Solirène; sale, Delaroche, Paris, 13 March [=3rd day] 1812, lot 75, 'Ces deux Sujets [i.e. with its pendant, lot 74] séduisans par l'esprit, la finesse et la vérité des Figures, offrent encore cette transparence de couleur, ces tons chauds et fins, et cette savante dégradation de lumière, qui, même du vivant de ce grand Peintre, lui attirèment l'estime de tous les connaisseurs, dont l'empressement à posséder ses Ouvrages, les fit monter à un prix digne de leur perfection' (with the pendant, lot 74, 3,320 frances to Lafontaine).
with Pierre Joseph Lafontaine (1758-1835), 5 rue de Cleury, Paris.
Alexander Baring, 1st Baron Ashburton (1774-1848), Bath House, London, by 1829, and by descent to his son
William, 2nd Baron Ashburton (1799-1864), Bath House, by whom bequeathed to his widow
Louisa Caroline, Lady Ashburton, née Mackenzie (d. 1903), Bath House, London; after her decease sold in August 1907 en bloc with the Ashburton collection by her executor and son-in-law, William, 5th Marquess of Northampton, K.G. (1851-1913), to a consortium of
Agnew's, Charles Davis, Arthur J. Sully, Asher Wertheimer and F. Kleinberger, by whom sold after 1910.
Dr. Paul von Schwabach (1867-1938), Berlin, by 1914.
with David Katz, Basel and Dieren, from whom confiscated during the Second World War for the Führermuseum, Linz (Munich collecting point no. 3920), recovered by the American forces and in 1947 restituted to David Katz.
Acquired shortly afterwards, possibly from Katz, by the grandfather of the present owner.
(According to the catalogue of the Braamcamp sale) Beschryving van Haarlem, probably before 1748.
G. Hoet, Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen, etc., The Hague, 1752, II, p. 263.
J.-B. Descamps, La Vie des Peintres flamands, allemands et hollandais, II, Paris, 1763, p. 178.
M. de Bastide, Temple des Arts du Cabinet de M. de Braamcamp, Amsterdam, 1766, p. 99.
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., I, London, 1829, p. 118, no. 39, as dated 1661.
G.F. Waagen, Kunstwerk und Künstler in England und Paris, II, Berlin, 1838, pp. 90-1.
Idem, Treasures of Art, London, 1854, III, p. 106, as inscribed 1661, with its pendant, 'These pictures, which came from the celebrated Braamcamp collection, are of the best time of the master, warm, clear, and not exaggerated in tone; and delicately executed.'
T. Gaedertz, Adriaen van Ostade: sein Leben und seine Kunst, Lübeck, 1869, p. 154, no. 31.
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné, etc., III, London, 1910, pp. 239-41 and 348, nos. 326, 329, 332 and 679e, under the last reference referred to as 'tKwyldertje.
A. von Wurzbach, Niederländische Künstlerlexikon, II, Vienna and Leipzig, 1910, p. 278.
I. Errera, Répertoire des Peintures Datées, Brussels, 1920-1. p. 302.
E. Trautscholdt, 'Über Adriaen Ostade als Zeichner', Festschrift Friedrich Winkler, Berlin, 1959, p. 292, note 20.
C. Bille, De Tempel der Kuns of het Kabinet van den Heer Braamcamp, Amsterdam, 1961, II, pp. 38/38a and 190-110, nos. 158 and 158b, supp. I, fig. 158b.
Moiso-Diekamp, Das Pendant in der Niederländische Malerei, p. 419, B11.
London, Royal Academy, 1871, no. 203, 'Boors Smoking and Drinking. 11 x 9 in.'
Berlin, Kaiser Friedrich Museum, Ausstellung Alter Kunst aus dem Privatbesitz von Mitgliedern des Kaiser Friedrich Museumvereins, 1914, no. 119.
(Possibly) Vienna, Galerie Neumann und Salzer, Das holländische Sittenbild im 17. Jahrhundert, 20 May-20 June 1930, no. 46.
Special notice

VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price plus buyer's premium.

Lot Essay

Described by Gustav Waagen (loc. cit.) as 'of the best time of the master, warm, clear and not exaggerated in tone; and delicately executed', this painting and its former pendant (for which see below) were for long regarded as two of the finest examples of Adriaen van Ostade's oeuvre. The pendant is dated 1661, placing the pair within the period generally understood to represent the zenith of Ostade's career, at a time when his work combines the mature development of style and subject matter with the vivacity and charm of which he was at his best possessed. In the present painting, as intimated by Waagen, this is reflected in the sympathy of interpretation, subtlety of palette and fineness of detail for which Ostade is so admired.

Ostade was one of the foremost genre painters of seventeenth-century Holland, recorded as having started his career as a pupil of Frans Hals in Haarlem, concurrently with Adriaen Brouwer. It was from these two artists, and from Brouwer in particular, that Van Ostade first developed his themes of parties of smoking, drinking and dancing peasants in their village surroundings. He initially adopted a satirical, almost caricatured, manner, but from the 1640s onwards began to endow his low-life protagonists with increasing degrees of restraint and dignity, his palette becoming richer and his chiaroscuro stronger.

Although such works are more prevalent from the 1640s, from relatively early in his career Van Ostade had painted scenes of tranquil domestic comfort (for example the Village Alehouse with Four Figures of 1635 in the Residenzgalerie, Salzburg). In them, the action is less important than the depiction of a psychological state, and the setting gains in significance. In the course of the 1640s, however, Ostade increasingly began to explore that approach to the theme, thereby moving further away from Brouwer's influence towards a fully mature, personal style. His interiors became more spacious, flat-ceilinged and better furnished, whilst the figures and their costumes, as well as the furnishings and utensils attendant on peasant life, are shown in more detail, for example the Three Peasants at an Inn of 1647 (London, Dulwich Picture Gallery).

Through the 1650s and by the date of the present work, scenes of excessive drinking and gambling became the exception rather than the rule. Ostade's peasants are mostly shown relishing the small pleasures permitted by their modest existence. This shift is accompanied by a change in the implicit meaning of the pictures: thus in place of, or alongside, the traditional satire on human frailty, the simplicity of peasant life is held up as a model or even idealized. In addition, his interiors continue to show an increasing emphasis on detail, whilst, as in the present work, the strong local colouring of the figures stands out powerfully from the tonal twilight of the interior setting.

As mentioned above, the pendant, which depicts A man and a woman drinking at a table, is dated 1661. In some records, for example Hofstede de Groot (loc. cit.), the present painting is described as similarly dated, although no evidence of that survives today. It is interesting, however, that the first mention of any date is in the catalogue of the Solirène sale (which erroneously read that of the pendant as 1660), in which no mention was made of a date on the present work. It is entirely possible therefore (and, indeed, plausible), that originally only the pendant was dated, whereas that on the present picture was added at a later date, an addition that has been removed with subsequent cleaning.

The picture was separated from its pendant at some point after their acquisition from the Ashburton collection and the sale of the present work to von Swabach. The pendant remained in the possession of the descendants of Asher Wertheimer - one of the consortium who acquired the pair in 1907 - until sold, Sotheby's, London, 8 July 1987, lot 111 (with incorrect vertical measurement). Before that, the pictures shared a provenance that reflected the admiration in which they were universally held. Two collections in particular stand out from amongst those to which they have belonged: Braamcamp and Ashburton.

The eldest son of Jan Braamcamp (c. 1671-1713), who settled in Amsterdam and became a successful wine merchant, Gerrit Braamcamp joined the family business which after the death of his parents he greatly expanded. His consequent wealth enabled him to assemble a renowned art collection that by the late 1760s included some 380 works. Braamcamp's main interest was the Dutch seventeenth century, owning such works as Rembrandt's Storm on the Sea of Galilee (Boston, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum), Gabriel Metsu's Old Woman with a Book by a Window (London, National Gallery), Philips Wouwerman's Knight Vanquishing Time, Death and Monstrous Demons (Boston, Museum of Fine Arts), Gerard Ter Borch's Card Players (Los Angeles, County Museum of Art), as well as notable works by many others of the great names of the period, for example Gerrit Dou, Nicolaes Berchem, Jan van Huysum, Paulus Potter, Jan Steen and Jan van der Heyden.

In 1766 Braamcamp sold a number of lesser paintings, and six years later his mainly Italian and Dutch drawings. At the end of his life he decided to sell his entire collection but died shortly before the auction, at which Catherine II of Russia purchased a number of works, all of which were lost at sea on the way to St. Petersburg.

Alexander Baring (1774-1848), who was created Lord Ashburton in 1835, was lavish in his collection of pictures, buying both in London and abroad. They were divided between The Grange, his neo-classical mansion in Hampshire, and Bath House in London, the collection at which greatly impressed Dr. Waagen, who wrote of Ashburton that 'uniting an ardent love for the fine arts with extraordinary wealth, he expended very large sums in the gratification of this taste, and succeeded in acquiring a choice collection of Dutch and Flemish pictures from the most celebrated cabinets in Europe' (op. cit., p. 97). The collection was inherited, and apparently expanded, by the 2nd Lord Ashburton who, as a gout-ridden 59-year-old, married Louisa Stewart-Mackenzie in 1858.

On Ashburton's death in 1864 the Grange passed to his brother, but its contents, together with Bath House and all it contained, including such masterpieces as Mantegna's Adoration of the Magi and Dosso Dossi's Pan and Echo (both now at Malibu, The J.P. Getty Museum) passed to his widow, the aforementioned Louisa, Lady Ashburton, a close friend of Browning, Carlyle and other luminaries of the late Victoria era (for a biography, see V. Surtees, The Ludovisi Goddess, Wilton, 1984).

We are very grateful to Dr. Hiltraud Doll for her assistance in cataloguing this lot; Dr. Doll will include the picture in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of Adriaen van Ostade.


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