© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Identification and Creation
Object Number
Adriaen van Ostade, Dutch (Haarlem 1610 - 1685 Haarlem)
Cornelis Dusart, Dutch (Haarlem, Netherlands 1660 - 1704 Haarlem, Netherlands)
Tric Trac Players under an Arbor
Work Type
Physical Descriptions
Brown ink and brown wash over graphite, incised, on cream antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink
20.3 x 19 cm (8 x 7 1/2 in.)
mount: 28.9 x 26 cm (11 3/8 x 10 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: lower left, brown ink: Av. [in ligature] O.
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: 60 [encircled]
  • watermark: none
  • inscription: verso, lower center, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
Private Collector, Switzerland. [Galliéra, Paris, 11 June 1971, lot 20]. [Adolphe Stein, Paris], sold; to Maida and George Abrams, Boston, 1973.

Published Text
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: The Complete Collection Online
Multiple authors
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2017–)

Entry by Susan Anderson, completed November 01, 2017:

Adriaen van Ostade sketched the core elements of this sheet in preparation for his 1673 watercolor Tric Trac Players under an Arbor, in the Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, Paris.1 Van Ostade’s hand may be seen in the black chalk sketch throughout the composition and the central figural grouping in roughly applied pen and brown ink, including the figures under the arched doorway. As Bernhard Schnackenburg recognized, careful inspection reveals that a second layer of lighter brown ink and wash was applied by Van Ostade’s last student, Cornelis Dusart. Dusart’s finer pen line can be seen in the arbor, the tree, the remaining architectural elements, and the figures at the left in the background. Dusart may have known Van Ostade’s watercolor, but his free interpretations of the background details here are guided more by Van Ostade’s black chalk sketch: in contrast with the watercolor, Dusart filled more of the sky with the tree, rendered more detail in the cottage, and added livelier background figures, one with an outstretched arm and another with a pointed hat and bending torso.2

Dusart presumably inherited a large cache of Van Ostade’s compositional studies, together with the rest of his studio contents, upon his master’s death in 1685. A small number of Van Ostade’s compositional studies without additional campaigns survive, and these invariably follow his practice, seen here, of quickly rendering an overall sketch in black chalk and working out a central figural grouping rapidly in brown ink.3 More often than not, though, another hand filled in background detail to transform the drawing from rough study into finished object, as Dusart did in this sheet. In some instances, the intervening hand remains unidentified, suggesting that such revisions were likely an exercise done under either Van Ostade’s or Dusart’s supervision.4 Dusart’s high degree of detail, finish, and nearly seamless transition from Van Ostade’s original lines make this sheet stand out among this group.


1 Adriaen van Ostade, Tric Trac Players under an Arbor, 1673, brown ink and transparent and opaque watercolor, 235 × 200 mm, Paris, Fondation Custodia, Frits Lugt Collection, 324A. See Bernhard Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade, Zeichnungen und Aquarelle (Hamburg: Dr. Ernst Hauswedell & Co., 1981), cat. 247. Van Ostade’s painting of this subject, now lost (HdG 832), is known only through an engraving in reverse by Jan de Visscher, but appears to have been very close to the watercolor; see J. E. Wessely, Adriean van Ostade, Verzeichnis seiner Original-Radirungen und der graphischen Nachbildungen nach seinen Werken (Hamburg: Haendcke & Lehmkuhl, 1888), cat. 278, p. 70. An unattributed copy after this drawing is in the Musée Wicar, Lille, 1020, brown ink and wash, 210 × 200 mm; see Schnackenburg, under cat. 248, as a copy. An anonymous drawn copy of Van Ostade’s watercolor (brown ink and brown wash, 135 × 125 mm) appeared at Piasa, Paris, Dessins Anciens et Modernes, 1 December 2008, lot 32.

2 In addition to Schnackenburg, others have commented on the two hands at play in this drawing. See, for example, William Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection (Lynn, Mass.: H. O. Zimman, 1991), cat. 85. Following Schnackenburg’s lead, Robinson described the architectural elements differing from Van Ostade’s watercolor as Van Ostade’s hand, but they are instead part of Dusart’s later campaign.

3 For example, Peasants in a Tavern, brown ink, brown wash, and graphite, 120 × 144 mm, Vienna, Albertina, 23497 (see Schnackenburg, cat. 253); Peasants in a Tavern, brown ink, gray wash, and black chalk, 185 × 305 mm, Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, WA1855.27 (see Schnackenburg, cat. 250); and Peasant Family at the Hearth, with the Mother Making Pancakes, brown ink over graphite or black chalk, 180 × 177 mm, Rennes, Musée des Beaux-Arts, C 97/3 (see Schnackenburg, cat. 233).

4 See, for example, The Pater Familias, brown ink and gray and gray-brown wash over graphite, 140 × 175 mm, London, The British Museum, 1836.8.11.415 (see Schnackenburg, cat. 50).

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Franklin W. Robinson, Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, exh. cat., International Exhibitions Foundation (Washington, D.C, 1977), cat. no. 46, pp. xv and 51-2, repr.

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, checklist (unpublished, 1980), no. 41

Bernhard Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle (Hamburg, Germany, 1981), vol. 1, cat. no. 248, p. 130, repr. vol. 2, pl. 117, fig. 248 as Adriaen van Ostade and Cornelis Dusart

Frima Fox Hofrichter, Haarlem: The Seventeenth Century, exh. cat., Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum (New Brunswick, NJ, 1983), cat. no. 92, p. 112, repr.

William W. Robinson, Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, exh. cat., H. O. Zimman, Inc. (Lynn, MA, 1991), cat. no. 85, pp. 184 and 188-9, repr.

Anna Knaap, "From Lowlife to Rustic Idyll: The Peasant Genre in 17th-Century Dutch Drawings and Prints", exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1996), cat. no. 40, pp. 43-44 and 57, repr. p. 44, fig. 44 as Adriaen van Ostade

Annemarie Stefes, Niederländische Zeichnungen 1450-1850: Kupferstichkabinett der Hamburger Kunsthalle, ed. Andreas Stolzenburg and Hubertus Gaßner, Böhlau Verlag (Cologne, 2011), vol. 2, p. 426, under cat. no. 773 (n. 1)

Susan Anderson, "A Drawing by Cornelis Dusart in the Fogg: Copying and Transformation", Master Drawings (Winter 2015), vol. LIII, no. 4, pp. 471-476, p. 476 n. 15

Exhibition History

Seventeenth Century Dutch Drawings from American Collections, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 01/30/1977 - 03/13/1977; Denver Art Museum, Denver, 04/01/1977 - 05/15/1977; Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, 06/01/1977 - 07/15/1977

The Draughtsman at Work. Drawing in the Golden Century of Dutch Art, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 11/21/1980 - 01/04/1981

Seventeenth-Century Dutch Drawings: A Selection from the Maida and George Abrams Collection, Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, 02/23/1991 - 04/18/1991; Albertina Gallery, Vienna, 05/16/1991 - 06/30/1991; Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 01/22/1992 - 04/22/1992; Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 10/10/1992 - 12/06/1992

From Lowlife to Rustic Idyll: The Peasant Genre in 17th-Century Dutch Drawings and Prints, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 03/29/1997 - 06/22/1997

Subjects and Contexts

Dutch, Flemish, & Netherlandish Drawings

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of European and American Art at am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu