© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Adriaen van Ostade produced this drawing in the early 1640s during a period of transition in which he moved away from roughly drawn, rowdy subjects inspired by Adriaen Brouwer to comparatively refined representations of the contented peasant. Here, neither gruff nor genteel, a standing drinker chats with his two seated friends in the foreground, while four figures sit behind him, set off by the hostess who tallies the beer tab with chalk on a blackboard. Van Ostade’s increasing use of gray and brown wash during this period lent his drawings an impression of painterly tonality, here emphasizing the foreground figural grouping with strong, contrasting shadows over the more diffusely shaded background groups.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
2009.206
People
Adriaen van Ostade, Dutch (Haarlem 1610 - 1685 Haarlem)
Title
Peasants Drinking in an Inn
Classification
Drawings
Work Type
drawing
Date
c. 1640-1643
Culture
Dutch
Physical Descriptions
Medium
Brown ink, brown and gray wash, and white opaque watercolor correction (dog) over graphite on off-white antique laid paper, framing line in brown ink
Dimensions
17.8 x 26.1 cm (7 x 10 1/4 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, upper left center, graphite: Van
  • inscription: verso, lower center, black chalk: A.V. Ostade
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: nicht Isaak
  • inscription: verso, lower right, graphite: A. Both [crossed out]
  • collector's mark: verso, upper left, purple ink stamp and brown ink: L. 1758 (Freiherr Reinhold von Liphart) 536 [upside down]
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, black ink stamp: L. 1687 (Karl Eduard von Liphart)
  • collector's mark: verso, lower left, blue ink stamp: L. 3306 (Maida and George Abrams)
  • watermark: Arms of Bern; related to Lindt 119–121 (House of Zeender and Tribolet, “Zu Thal” mill, Bern, 1621–30)
Provenance
Karl Eduard von Liphart, Dorpat, Bonn, and Florence (L. 1687, verso, lower left), by descent; to Reinhold von Liphart, Ratshof near Dorpat (L 1758, verso, upper left). [Muller, Amsterdam, 15-16 June 1926, lot 411, repr. pl. 411]. Anton W. M. Mensing, Amsterdam; sold, [Mensing, Amsterdam, 27 April 1937, lot 503, repr.]; to Dr. Verloop. Overbosch collection, Amersfoort. [Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 19 January 1965, lot 429, repr.]. [Sotheby's, London, 1 July 1965, lot 117, repr.]; [to Robert M. Light, Boston.] [Shickman Gallery, New York.] Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Ferkauf, New York, sold; [Christie's, London, 5 April 1977, lot 25, repr. pl. 14], to Maida and George Abrams, Boston (L. 3306, verso, lower left); The Maida and George Abrams Collection, 2009.206.
Published Text
Catalogue
Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums
Authors
William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson
Publisher
Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016)

Catalogue entry no. 63 by Susan Anderson:

The painter, draftsman, and etcher Adriaen van Ostade remained the dominant practitioner of the peasant genre in Haarlem from the 1630s until his death in 1685. His early training is not documented, although Houbraken reports study with Frans Hals, and Adriaen Brouwer exerted an early influence with his raucous scenes of peasant life. Van Ostade appeared in the rolls of Haarlem’s Guild of Saint Luke in 1634 and became warden in 1647 and 1662, with service as dean in 1662–63. Over the course of his fifty-year career, Van Ostade instructed many, including his brother, Isaac (2008.256, 1999.160), Thomas Wijck (1616?–1677), probably Jan Steen (1626–1679), Cornelis Bega (25.1998.93), Michiel van Musscher (1645–1705), Jan de Groot (1650–1726), and Cornelis Dusart (2009.208).

Adriaen van Ostade’s only child, Johanna Maria, gave birth to his only grandchild the day after his burial in 1685. Both died within the next two years, leaving no direct descendent. Shortly after Van Ostade’s death, his art holdings were sold at auction. Dusart appears to have acquired the majority of Van Ostade’s studio contents, judging by his enormous studio and art collection—including vast amounts of paintings, drawings, and prints by Van Ostade—inventoried after his death.1

Adriaen produced this drawing—dated on stylistic grounds by Bernhard Schnackenburg to the early 1640s—during a period of transition (c. 1638–46) in which he moved away from roughly drawn, rowdy subjects inspired by Adriaen Brouwer to refined representations of the noble peasant. Here, neither gruff nor genteel, a standing drinker chats with his two seated friends in the foreground, while four figures sit behind him, set off by the hostess who tallies the beer tab with chalk on a blackboard. In the left background, another woman cooks at the fireplace, accompanied by two children. Instead of his early brawlers, Adriaen’s peasants here converse over a tankard, pipe, or game of cards—although such features as crooked noses and wide smiles classify them as distinctly unrefined.

Also during this period, Adriaen’s increasing use of gray and brown wash lends his drawings the impression of painterly tonality, here emphasizing the foreground figural grouping with strong, contrasting shadows over the more diffusely shaded background groups.2 In other drawings, Adriaen minimally suggested background elements with fewer and lighter penstrokes—especially prominent in his Interior with Peasants Merrymaking, now in London (Fig. 1)—or omitted all but the foreground figures, often tempting a later hand—frequently Dusart’s—to fill in background detail. In The Pater Familias, also in London (Fig. 2), the lighter handling of the pen and gray wash is the work of just such an interloper.3

Although Adriaen often directly transferred figural groupings from these transitional compositional studies to his paintings, no panel related to this sheet has been identified.

Notes

1 Irene van Thiel-Stroman in Pieter Biesboer and Neeltje Köhler, eds., Painting in Haarlem 1500–1850: The Collection of the Frans Hals Museum (Ghent, 2006), pp. 258–61, Bernhard Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle (Hamburg, 1981), vol. 1, pp. 13–16; Hessel Miedema, De Archiefbescheiden van het St. Lukasgilde te Haarlem, 1497–1798 (Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, 1980), throughout; and Arnold Houbraken, De groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen (first ed. 1718–21; reprint Amsterdam, 1943), vol. 1, pp. 273–75.

2 Schnackenburg, vol. 1, pp. 39–40.

3 Adriaen van Ostade, Interior with Peasants Merrymaking (Fig. 1). Brown ink and brown and gray-brown wash over graphite, 214 × 296 mm. London, British Museum, 1910,0212.168; see Schnackenburg, vol. 1, cat. 39; Adriaen van Ostade, The Pater Familias (Fig. 2). Brown ink, gray-brown and brown wash over black chalk, 139 × 175 mm. London, British Museum, 1836,0811.416; see idem, cat. 50 and cats. 38 and 41.

Figures
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
The Maida and George Abrams Collection, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Accession Year
2009
Object Number
2009.206
Division
European and American Art
Contact
am_europeanamerican@harvard.edu
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Publication History

Exhibition of Old Master Drawings at the H. Shickman Gallery, auct. cat., Shickman Gallery (New York, October 1966), cat. no. 45, n.p.

Bernhard Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle (Hamburg, Germany, 1981), vol. 1, p. 57 and cat. no. 35, pp. 86-87, repr. vol. 2, pl. 18

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. 82, pp. 182-3, 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. 39, pp. 43 and 57, repr. p. 43, fig. 13

William W. Robinson and Susan Anderson, Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt: Highlights from the Collection of the Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 2016), cat. no. 63, pp. 216-218, repr. p. 217; watermark p. 379

Exhibition History

Exhibition of Old Master Drawings at the H. Shickman Gallery, Shickman Gallery, New York, 10/01/1966 - 10/31/1966

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

Abrams 50th reunion exhibition, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/2004 - 06/14/2004

Drawings from the Age of Bruegel, Rubens, and Rembrandt, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 05/21/2016 - 08/14/2016

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