In this charming small-scale work on panel, Adriaen van Ostade depicted a courtyard with a family at their daily activities. A woman inspects a vessel of water before a barrel, assisted by a man holding a jug, whilst a young woman carrying a young child looks on. In the background children are playing, and a crying girl is being soothed by a woman seated under an arch in the immediate foreground. Dogs and chickens further enliven the scene.
We are grateful to Dr. Bernhard Schnackenburg for confirming the attribution on the basis of a photograph. He dates the present lot to the very end of the artist's celebrated career - Van Ostade is said to have painted until his death at the age of 75 - and suggests that it might be an unfinished work, pointing out the three faces of the figures in the middleground that appear to exist of thin layers of paint only, also further indicated by the second dog, behind the one sleeping. Dr. Schnackenburg refers to the signed picture sold with Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 1 December 2009, lot 63, which is close in both style and composition. Dr. Hitraud Doll, to whom we are grateful for inspecting a photograph, on the other hand, does not believe the attribution.
This lot is accompanied by a photo certificate by W. Vogelzang, dated 1931, as by Adriaen van Ostade.