Prince Joseph Bonaparte, from whom acquired in 1840 by
With Galerie Sedelmeyer, Paris;
Their sale, Paris, 3-5 June, 1907, lot 58;
With E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., Amsterdam, by 1932;
With Scott & Fowles, New York;
With Knoedler, New York;
There purchased by the family of the present owner before 1939.
Amsterdam, E.J. van Wisselingh & Co., Hollandsche en Vlaamsche schilderkunst der XVIIe eeuw : keuze-tentoonstelling/ Exhibition of selected Dutch and Flemish pictures of the XVIIth century, June 20- August 20, 1932, pp. 18-19, cat. no. 9., reproduced.;
New York, New York World’s Fair, Catalogue of European and American Paintings 1500-1900, May-October 1940, pp. 57-58, cat. no. 78;
Pittsburgh, PA, Carnegie Institute, Genre Painting in Europe, 1500-1900, October 14- December 12, 1954, no. 34, reproduced.;
Chicago, Art Institute, 1981, on loan.
J. Smith, Supplement to the Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French painters, vol. IX, London 1842, pp. 422-3, no. 55 (`This excellent production is painted in a vigorous style, about the period that the artists aimed at an imitation of Brouwer').
This a work from Teniers' early maturity, and was probably painted in the early 1640s. At this time Teniers favored interiors bounded by a wall parallel to the picture plane, with a doorway or other opening to a further room, and a wall to the right (or left) seemingly set at a diagonal, often with a figure peering through a window1. In these relatively early works, the influence of Adriaen Brouwer is still present, and Teniers retains the theatrical and caricatural qualities of the older Master, but handled with Teniers' lighter touch. While this beautifully preserved picture is a visual delight with its fresh coloring and vigorous bravura brushwork, Teniers, ever the man to remind us of the other senses, begs us to imagine the atrocious racket that these raucous types are producing, from the Flemish bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy (whose player is vigorously beating time with his foot), and from their voices that one uncharitably assumes to be tuneless. The bare walls of the small room they are in would have amplified the aural torture.
A copy of the present work was sold at Van Marle, de Sille & Baan, Rotterdam, July 15-16, 1942, lot 200. A repetition or copy of the three figures at the right of the composition, the boy playing the hurdy-gurdy with the two singing figures, was sold at Graupe, Berlin, January 7, 1936, lot 22.
We are grateful to Margaret Klinge who, based on a transparency, has confirmed the attribution to David Teniers the Younger.
1 See for example the Crowning with Thorns in the Baron van Dedem collection, or 'Le Bonnet Rouge' at Wrotham Park; see M. Klinge, David Teniers the Younger, exhibition catalogue, Antwerp 1991, pp. 82-3, 110-11, nos. 22, 32, both reproduced.
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