Antoine Poullain, (Receveur Général des Domaines du Roi), Paris, when engraved by Halbou;
His deceased sale, Paris, Le Brun, 15-21 March 1780 (3rd day, 17th March), lot 47, for 445 Livres to Langlier;
Gustaf Adolf Sparre (1746-1794), by whom probably bought in Paris in 1780;
Sparre inv., 1794, no. 39
Granberg, 1885-6, no. 44;
M. van de Wiele, Les Frères Van Ostade, Paris 1893, p. 357, reproduced;
Göthe, 1895, pp. 22-3, no. 48;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. III, London 1910, p. 185, no. 148 (`The Drinker');
Granberg, 1912, vol. II, p. 12, no. 23, reproduced plate 42;
I. Errera, Répertoire des peintures datées, Brussels-Paris 1920, p. 309;
Kjellberg, 1966, p. 346;
Hasselgren, 1974, pp. 117, 120, 127, reproduced p. 182;
C. Moiso-Diekamp, Das Pendant in der Holländischen Malerie des 17.Jahrhunderts, Frankfurt-am-Main 1987, p. 418, no. B8.
By Basan, from the Poullain Galerie, 1781;
By Louis Michel Halbou (1730-1809) when in the Poullain collection.
This is one of a series of small-scale studies of single figures that Ostade painted in the 1660s and 1670s, relatively late in his long career. He had painted studies of single figures throughout his life, but the earlier ones are more strongly caricatural, depicting raucous drunken peasant types. While the element of caricature is always present, later pictures such as this one depict more prosperous types, often elderly lawyers or scholars, reading myopically, or as here, enjoying a a quiet drink and a smoke at the end of the day. Ostade's pictures portray types of people and are probably rarely portraits. the physiognomy of the present elderly fellow for example, with his high heavily lined forehead and bulbous nose can be found in other pictures as a man of varying age.
Although Hofstede de Groot remarked that the print on the wall behind is dated 1665, no trace of such a date, which would be anomalous, can be found. A larger (28 by 22 cm.) copy of the Sparre picture with was in the possession of E. Heymann, Wassenaer, in 1943.
Sparre was in Paris in 1780, and according to Göthe, bought at least two other pictures from the Poullain sale, the celebrated Ter Borch now at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and a Jacob Jordaens Silenus.1 Since all of these were knocked down to Langlier, it is reasonable to assume that he was acting as agent for Sparre. This is the only picture in Sparre's 1794 inventory to be identified by name - in fact by its signature and date.
We are grateful to Dr. Hiltraud Doll for her help in writing this entry. Dr. Doll will include it in her catalogue raisonné of Adriaen van Ostade as no. 264.
1. See Göthe under Literature, p. 6.
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