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Peasants carousing and dancing outside an inn

About the item

This is one of Adriaen van Ostade's finest exterior scenes, painted when he was at the height of his success.  By the late 1650s Ostade had tempered the scenes of raucous revelry of his early career, and by the turn of the decade, when he painted this picture, their more muted pleasures are matched by a smoother and more delicate technique in the manner of their depiction.  By this stage Ostade had become much more interested in the detailed observation of surfaces: cloth, wood, plaster, brick, and the way that they reflect light.  This is clearly seen in the Fattorini picture: in the decaying lath and plaster wall to the right and in the contrasting white linen cap and blue chemise of the dancing peasant woman, for example.\n\nThis picture has long attracted effusive praise: by Smith, and in particular by Waagen, who wrote that it  "is so rich and picturesque in composition, so sunny in effect, so transparent in its somewhat reddish golden tones, and, withal, executed in such a fine body and with such equal care, that it may be reckoned one of the finest works the master ever produced".\n\nFollowing the example of his brother Isack, Adriaen van Ostade based the compositions of his exterior scenes, usually, like this one, of peasants outside an inn, on a receding diagonal.  One of the earliest examples of this, a drawing in the Fondation Custodia, Paris, which Ostade made in preparation for his engraving in reverse of the Feast under the Vine Trellis (Bartsch 47) is remarkably similar in conception to the Fattorini painting, despite predating it by at least eight years (see Schnackenburg under Literature, vol. 1, p. 91, no. 53, reproduced vol. 2, p. 29).\nOstade's compositional drawings, are, like the Fondation Custodia drawing, generally done in pen and ink.  Some such drawings made in preparation for paintings do exist, but they do not seem to have formed an essential part of his working method, and most of them were, like the Fondation Custodia drawing, done in preparation for etchings.  His studies for individual figures in his paintings are numerous, and were usually done in black chalk on blue paper.  One such, for the man seated smoking on the bench in the Fattorini painting, is in the Kunsthalle, Hamburg, and is reproduced here (Fig. 1; see Schnackenburg under Literature).  The twisted pose of this figure is clearly a complicated one to depict correctly, and Ostade made two studies of the left leg of this figure in his drawing, while omitting the head.\n\nWe are grateful to Dr. Hiltraud Doll for her help in cataloguing this picture, which will be included in her forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the paintings of the Van Ostades as no. 219.  We are also most grateful to Michael Hall for his help in establishing the correct Rothschild provenance.\nENGRAVED:\nBy W. Woollett.\nSigned and dated lower right: AV.Ostade 1660


Oil on oak panel


Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade


42.5 by 57.2 cm.; 16 3/4 by 22 1/2 in.


London, Royal Academy, Exhibition of Works by The Old Masters, Winter exhibition (January-March) 1886, no. 62 (wrongly as on canvas; lent by Alfred de Rothschild, Esq.); Liverpool, City School of Art, Exhibition of Works by Dutch Masters of the 17th Century, 22-29 September 1944, no. 12; London, Arts Council of Great Britain, Dutch Paintings of the 17th Century, 1945, no. 23; London, Royal Academy, Dutch Paintings 1450-1750, Winter 1952-3, no. 503 (lent by Mrs. Naylor); Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, on loan, -2004.


J.B. Descamps, La vie des peintres flamands, allemands et hollandais, vol. II, Paris 1754, p. 176; J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. I, London 1829, pp. 113-4, no. 26; J. Smith, A Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné..., London 1842, pp. 82-3, no. 11 (a "most enchanting work of art"); C.H. Balkema, Biographie des Peintres Flamands et Hollandais..., Ghent 1844, p. 237; G. Waagen, Treasures of Art in Great Britain, vol. II, London 1854, p. 282; Ch. Blanc, Le Trésor de la Curiosité, Paris 1858, vol. I, pp. 149, 355, vol. II, pp. 187, 423; W. Bürger (T.E. Thoré), Trésors d'art en Angleterre..., Paris 1865, p. 315 (as included in the catalogue of the 1857 exhibition in Manchester, but not exhibited); The Gaedertz, Adriaen van Ostade, sein Leben und seine Kunst, Lübeck 1869, p. 153; C. Davis, Catalogue of the collections of Alfred de Rothschild, London 1884, vol. I, Pictures, no. 24, reproduced; C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. III, London 1910, p. 387, no. 799; A. von Würzbach, Niederländischen Künstlerlexikon, Vienna/Leipzig 1910, vol. II, p. 278; B. Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Hamburg 1981, vol. 1, p. 112, no. 164, reproduced vol. 2, p. 80 (wrongly as on canvas).


Louis Jean Gaignat, Ancien Sécretaire du Roi, Receveur des Consignations, his deceased sale, Paris, Remy/Poirier, 14-22 February 1769, lot 27, for 10,800 Francs; Pierre Louis Paul Randon de Boisset, Receveur Général des Finances, his deceased sale, Paris, Remy/Juilliot, 27 February-25 March 1777, lot 68, for 9,400 Francs to Lebrun; Claude Tolozan, his deceased sale, Paris, Paillet/Delaroche, 23-26 February 1801, for 7,300 Francs; Duchesse de Berry, in whose collection exhibited for private sale at Christie's in London, 1834, priced at £1,200 (but presumably not sold); Her sale ("Duc de Berry, Galerie du Palais de l'Elysée"), Paris, Paillet, 4-6 April 1837, lot 14, for 22,005 Francs to George; Sir Anthony de Rothschild, 1st Bt. (1810-1876), by 1842 (according to Smith), in whose collection seen by Waagen in 1854; By inheritance to Alfred Charles de Rothschild, London (1842-1918), Seamore Place, London, in 1876; By descent to Lionel de Rothschild (1882-1942), Exbury, Hampshire; By descent at Exbury to Edmund de Rothschild  (b. 1916), by whom sold in 1942 through Tancred Borenius to Enrico Fattorini; From whom inherited by his daughter, Mrs. G.E. Naylor.


Signed and dated lower right: AV.Ostade 1660


Property from the collection formed by Enrico Fattorini, sold by order of the Trustees of his daughter, the late Mrs Margaret Naylor


Haarlem 1610 - 1685

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.