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Adriaen van Ostade

(1610–1684, Haarlem)

A Strolling Peasant Couple. Pen and brown ink, brown wash, the reverse reddened for transfer. 7 x 5.6 cm. Monogrammed at the bottom left (heavily faded). Bernhard Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Hamburg 1981, Volume I, p. 46; Exhibition catalogue Kinder, Kerle, Charaktere. Das druckgraphische Werk Adriaen van Ostades, ed. by Hans-Christoph Erling, Kunsthalle Bremen, 2016, cat. no. 24, with fig. on p. 161.

This hastily dashed off drawing served as the design for an etching by Ostade on the same subject (Hollstein 24), the dating of which is not clear. While Godefroy dates the sheet to around 1638, it is more likely that the work arose at a later date between 1647 and 1652. The small drawing has a framing line in pen and brown ink, which gives it a painterly quality, and is reddened on the reverse for transfer to the plate. The confident, fluid and accurate execution in a very small format is a clear indication that the work is by Ostade. Susan Anderson notes that the use of “quick lines and dots to delineate facial features is common for Adriaen’s drawing style, especially in the 1650’s” (see L. J. Slatkes, “Preparatory Drawings for Prints by Adriaen van Ostade”, in Drawings Defined, ed. W. Strauss, T. Felker, New York 1987, pp. 229–231).

Provenance: W. Pitcairn Knowles Collection (Lugt 2643); Robert P. Roupell, London 1887; Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, 15 April 1953; Dr. William Suida, Vienna and New York; private collection, Connecticut, USA.

The etching is available in a superb impression of the earliest state; with fine plate tone and inky platemarks; before the heightened framing line, before the round plate corners and before the revisions. The impression recorded by Godefroy and Hollstein is described by Godefroy as RR (très rare). Godefroy 24 I (of IV); Davidsohn 24 I (of IV); Hollstein (Boon-Verbeek) 24 I (of IV). Provenance: J. B. de Graaf (1742–1804, Amsterdam); Comte A. B. Lobanoff-Rostovsky, St. Petersburg (Lugt 2005); Auction Amsler & Ruthardt, Berlin, 26 April 1881, no. 395; F. von Hagens, Dresden (Lugt 1052a); Auction C. G. Boerner, Leipzig, 2/3 May 1927, no. 411; Auction C. G. Boerner, Leipzig, 1 December 1937, no. 293; auction Klipstein & Kornfeld, Bern, 23 May 1962, no. 253; M. E. Trautscholdt, Düsseldorf; L. A. Kolker, Scarsdale; Dr. Karl Herweg, Recklinghausen (Lugt 3974); auction Sotheby’s London, 4 December 2003, no. 56: Kunsthandlung Helmuth H. Rumbler, Frankfurt; private collection.

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