16
16
Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
A MAN WITH PINCE-NEZ, READING NOTICES (THE SENSE OF SIGHT)
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT
16
Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
A MAN WITH PINCE-NEZ, READING NOTICES (THE SENSE OF SIGHT)
Estimate
400,000600,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The Weldon Collection

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New York

Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
HAARLEM 1610 - 1685
A MAN WITH PINCE-NEZ, READING NOTICES (THE SENSE OF SIGHT)
signed and dated lower left:  AvOstade 16 (the last two digits of the date obscured)
oil on panel
6 1/8  by 4 5/16  in.; 15.5 by 11 cm.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Probably Pieter Testas the Younger;
Probably his sale, Amsterdam, Hendrik de Leth, 29 March 1757, included in lot 14, "The Five Senses (vyf Kabinetstukjes, verbeeldende de vyf Zinnen, met eenig bywerk; teder en eel geschildert, door A. van Oostade, ieder hoog 6 1/2 duim, breet 4 1/2 duim), for 310, to Colijns;
Antoine-Claude Chariot (1733-1815), Paris;
Sale, Paris, A.J. Paillet, "Cabinet de M. Ch***," 28 January 1788, lot 16 (Un homme ajusté d'un manteau , & très-attentif à lire des placards qui se trouvent sur une muraille de brique il est ingénieusement touché & varié de ton avec une intelligence de clair obscur admirable. Ce petit morceau parfait d'exécution & de couleur , offre la vérité de la nature & la beauté de la touche de van Ostade), for 682 livres, to Verrier;
Robert de Saint-Victor (1738-1822), Rouen;
His deceased sale, Paris, Pierre Roux, 26 November 1822, lot 186, for 850 francs, to Jean-Louis Laneuville or James-Alexandre, Comte de Pourtalès-Gorgier;
James-Alexandre, Comte de Pourtalès-Gorgier (1776-1855);
His sale, London, Phillips, 19-20 May 1826, lot 39, for 45 guineas, to Seymour or Nieuwenhuys (A cabinet gem, a Dutchman habited in a blue jacket and cloak, atrracted by some placards stuck against a house, which he is reading -- from St. Victor's Collection, in an or-molu frame);
Miss S. Seymour, Salisbury;
A. Peek, The Hague, 1927;
With Kunsthandel Gebr. Douwes, Amsterdam, by 1927;
W.J.R. Dreesmann (1885-1954), Amsterdam;
W. Dreesmann (1913-1971), by 1940;
R. Dreesmann, 1980;
David Koetser, 1981.

Exhibited

Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum, Catalogus van de tentoonstelling van oude kunst door de Vereeniging van handelaren in oude kunst in Nederland in het Rijksmuseum te Amsterdam, 1929-30, p. 31, no. 108 (as on loan from a private collection through Douwes);
Delft, Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, Kersttentoonstelling, 21 December 1952 - 1 February 1953, p. 27, no. 53 (as on loan from a private collection);
Amsterdam, Kunsthandel Gebr. Douwes, Jubileumtentoonstelling 1805-1955, 1 June - 5 September 1955, pp. 15-16, no. 50 (as dated 1665);
Birmingham 1995, no. 13;
Washington, National Gallery of Art, Dutch Cabinet Pictures, temporary loan, 1 April –15 September 1996;
New Orleans 1997, no. 36;
Baltimore 1999, no. 35.

Literature

J. Smith, Catalogue Raisonné ..., vol. 1, 1829, p. 153, cat. no. 169, ("A Dutchman standing to read some bills... This is of very good quality"); 
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné ..., vol. 3, London 1910,  p. 169, cat. no. 90l and probably also p. 151, cat. no. 22a, "Sight";
New Orleans 1997, p. 88, cat. no. 36, reproduced p. 89;
Baltimore 1999, pp. 79-80, cat. no. 35, reproduced pp. 79 and 81.

Catalogue Note

This engaging panel, long regarded as a genre scene is, in fact, the missing representation of The Sense of Sight from a set of the Five Senses, the remainder of which are in the Národni Galleri, Prague (inv. nos. O 144, O 157, O 158 and O 182).  All the works are on panels of about the same size, two are on paper laid on panel and three (including the present work) painted directly on the wood.  The Prague panels can be traced back to collection of Pieter Testas the Younger, which was sold at auction in 1757.  At that time the series was complete:  five cabinet pictures, representing the five senses, with some further [figures and setting]; tenderly and perfectly painted, by A. van Ostade, each 6 ½ inches high, 4 ½ inches wide (see Provenance). By 1788 the Weldon panel had been separated from the group and lost its association with the others.  In the auction of the Antoine-Claude Chariot collection, the subject is identified as “A man in a close-fitting mantle very attentively reading the placards on a brick wall,” following which is a laudatory account of its quality:  “this little work, perfect in its execution and coloring reveals the truth of nature and the beauty of Van Ostade’s touch” (see Provenance).

When looking at all five panels together, it is clear that the protagonists represent the five senses.  The Man with Pince-Nez, like the paintings in Prague, is set in a village or small town.  A single, standing man dominates the foreground, while other figures are in the background, but only as staffage.  The men are decently dressed and appear more likely to be burghers than peasants, although the figure in The Sense of Taste appears somewhat more rakish, perhaps as a result of his drinking (fig. 1). However, comparing the present work and Taste it is clear that they belong to the same series.  In addition to the overall compositional similarities, such details as the placement of the figure in relation to the building and the treatment of the bricks and ivy, bespeak a consistent approach to the subject matter.  Ostade made a number of other series of the Five Senses including two in the Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

During the course of his career, Ostade’s portrayal of the local populous shifted, from satirical depictions of drunken, brawling men and women to a more sympathetic view, recognizing the value of country life.  He depicted his subjects as more well-behaved and a bit more prosperous, as we see here in A Man with Pince-Nez.  As his subject matter evolved, so did his technique, and from around 1650 he began to work in a more refined style with a greater emphasis on local color.  In the present work he used short, quick brush strokes to delineate the folds of the man’s blue jacket and his graying curls, as well as the leaves of the vine at the left.  However, his absolute mastery of the medium can be seen in his treatment of the wall, where he colors the bricks with flicks of pink and red over a darker ground and then adds the mortar in thin squiggles of white to create its uneven surface.

 

The Weldon Collection

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