THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
signed lower right: D. Teniers. F
Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 22 January 2004, lot 35;
Acquired subsequently by the present collector.
This picture, painted in Antwerp in the mid-1640s, is a good example from Teniers' early maturity. He had in the preceding decade been influenced by the lively brushwork and comic sense of Adriaen Brouwer, who had returned to Antwerp from Haarlem, and by the barn and scullery interiors of the Rotterdam brothers Cornelis and Herman Saftleven, with their interest in still life elements in the foreground, and in particular in their different surface textures and ways of absorbing and reflecting light. By the mid-1640s however Teniers had transformed these influences into a personal and immediately identifiable style. Here he shows us a scurrilous piece of domestic drama, since it would appear that the old woman descending the steps in the background has just caught her bearded husband in the act of canoodling with the nubile scullery maid, vulnerable while her hands are engaged in cleaning a cooking pot with a handful of straw.
We are grateful to Frau Margret Klinge for confirming the attribution and for dating this picture to Teniers' Antwerp period, circa 1644-45.
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