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PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR (LOTS 29, 30, 31, 53, 61, 62, 63)

Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
A SCHOOLROOM INTERIOR
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 519,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
62

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTOR (LOTS 29, 30, 31, 53, 61, 62, 63)

Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
A SCHOOLROOM INTERIOR
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 519,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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New York

Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade
HAARLEM 1610 - 1685
A SCHOOLROOM INTERIOR
signed and dated lower left: Av. Ostade. 1666 (Av in compendium)
oil on oak panel
8 3/4  by  7 1/2  in.; 22.4 by 18.9 cm.
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Provenance

Probably, Count van Wassenaar Obdam, The Hague;
His sale, The Hague, Do Hondt, 19 August 1750, lot 42 (for 505 Florins, according to Hoet, see Literature);
J.T. Batt, New Hall, Salisbury, by 1818;
Colonel (later General) Alfred Buckley, New Hall, Salisbury, by 1844 and until after 1882 (not in his 1901 sale);
Baron Königswarter, Vienna;
His sale, Berlin, Lepke, 20 November 1906, lot 60 (for 39.000 Reichsmarks);
there acquired by Dr. James Simon, Berlin;
His sale, Amsterdam, Fred. Muller & Co., 25 October 1927, lot 37 (23,000 Florins to Lugt);
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's, 6 July 1984, lot 105;
There acquired by Richard Green, London;
Private collection;
Anonymous sale ("Property from a Private Collection"), London, Sotheby's, 17 December 1998, lot 11;
There acquired by David Koetser, Zurich;
From whom acquired. 

Exhibited

London, British Institution, 1818, no. 148 (lent by J.T. Batt);
London, British Institution, 1844, no. 28 (lent by Col. Buckley);
London, British Institution, 1866, no. 42 (lent by Gen. Buckley)
London, British Institution, 1882, no. 120 (lent by Gen. Buckley);
Berlin, Kaiser Friedrich Museumsverein, Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst: aus dem Privatbesitz von Mitgliedern des Kaiser Friedrich-Museums-Vereins, May 1914, no. 121 (lent by Dr. Simon);
The Hague, Koninklijk Schilderijenkabinet Het Mauritshuis, 1993-1998, on loan.

Literature

G. Hoet, Catalogus of Naalyst van Schilderijen..., 'sGravenhage 1752, vol. II, p. 293, cat no. 42;
J. Smith, A Catalogue Raisonné..., vol. I, London 1829, pp. 111-112, cat. no. 18 (as "an excellent little picture");
T. Gaedertz, Adriaen van Ostade. Sein Leben und seine Kunst, Lübeck 1869, p. 155;
A. Graves, A Century of Loan Exhibitions 1813-1912, vol. II, London 1913, pp. 887-890;
T. Frimmel, Blätter für Gemäldekunde, vol. III, Vienna 1907, p. 104, cat. no. 68;
C. Hofstede de Groot, A catalogue raisonné of the works of the most eminent Dutch painters of the seventeenth century, vol. III, London 1910, p. 253, cat. no. 378;
I. Errera, Répertoire des Peintures Datées, Paris 1920, p. 318;
B. Schnackenburg, Adriaen van Ostade. Isack van Ostade. Zeichnungen und Aquarelle, Hamburg 1981, vol. I, p. 114, under cat. no. 174;
L.J. Slatkes, in Everyday Life in Holland's Golden Age: The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade, exhibition catalogue, Amsterdam 1998, p. 111, under cat. no. 17, notes 1 and 4.

Catalogue Note

Signed and dated 1666, this small panel of an orderly seventeenth-century schoolroom interior, described by Smith in 1829 as "an excellent little picture," is a mature work by Adriaen van Ostade, one of the leading genre painters of the Dutch Golden Age.  With its meticulous brushwork and rich coloring, it ranks among Ostade's finest and marks an important moment in his career, as his attention shifted from rustic caricatures of farmers and peasants towards capturing the tranquility and respectability of the Dutch interior.  Though a consonant master of observation, his late works exhibit an even more exquisite attention to detail, as evidenced here in the tender facial expression of the seated teacher, the clear glass of the large window through which shines a soft light, and the dusty weathered floor of the simple, one-room classroom filled with diligent students of all ages.

It was not until the 1650s that Ostade began to move away from rustic caricatures of peasants and tradesmen and towards more respectable respresentations.  There are various theories to account for Ostade’s change in viewpoint, but Wayne Franits convincingly argues that the artist’s new approach was the result of a change in the culture at large resulting in the desire for a general code of civility.1  To greatly simplify his thesis:  the upper classes wanted to believe that all of society was well-behaved and wished to decorate their houses with paintings that illustrated such behavior rather than with images of drunkeness and riotous living.  

The gentle restraint with which Ostade approached the present composition is remarkable.  The setting of this Schoolroom Interior is a modestly furnished space, with a few wooden tables and benches set atop a dusty earthen floor, all set within a room with arched ceilings and a large paned glass window.  The dwellers in this space emit a sense of comfort and ease: the instructor sits near the window tenderly looks upon a youngster whom he instructs as another eagerly looks on nearby, as the rest of the students are scattered throughout, fully engaged in their own academic task.  Among the most beautiful elements of the scene is the way the warm light softly outlines the profile of the child in a hat seated beneath the window in the lower left corner and fully engrossed in a book.  An emotional warmth pervades the composition, and the importance of providing lessons to the next generation seems to be poignantly woven into every careful stroke that brings this scene to life. 

The boy in red standing in the center of the composition and holding his hat also appears in a drawn figure study by Ostade, with studies of hands in the lower left corner, today in a Dutch private collection (fig. 1). An iteration of this composition also appears in an engraving by Ostade, dated generally to 1671-1679 (fig. 2).  In this etching, Ostade remains quite faithful to the present work, yet he reduces it to only the seated teacher and three attentive students.  The teacher is placed before a wooden wall upon which is tacked a piece of paper, and he leans over the table with a pen in hand as he points to letters in a book held by the young pupil, as two others absorb the lesson being taught. 

This painting will be included in the forthcoming catalogue raisonné of the works of the artist being compiled by Dr Hiltraud Doll.

1.  W. Franits, Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting:  Its Style and Thematic Evolution, New Haven and London 2004, pp.  135-139.

2.  Charcoal or black chalk, heightened with white, on blue paper, 150 by 83 mm. See B. Schnackenburg, in Literature, reproduced vol. II, plate 84. 

Master Paintings Evening Sale

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