Lot 248
  • 248

ATTRIBUTED TO JACOB OCHTERVELT | An interior with a young lady giving alms to beggars at the door

30,000 - 50,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jacob Ochtervelt
  • An interior with a young lady giving alms to beggars at the door
  • indistinctly signed and dated, lower right: J.ochtervelt.f. / 16[...]
  • oil on canvas


In subject matter and composition, this interior scene relates to a group of ten other works that Jacob Ochtervelt made over the course of about twenty years, during the 1660s and 1670s.  All of the paintings in this group are set in the entrance hall (or voorhuis in Dutch) of an elegant house and portray an encounter at a doorway between the household residents and members of the outside world.  Ochtervelt was not the first employ to the voorhuis as a central element of a composition, but he most fully realized its potential.  Setting the interaction between the members of two classes of society in a physical space that was neither entirely indoors nor outdoors, he was able to subtly encapsulate an essential aspect of Dutch life and its underlying moral structure with a minimum of fuss or extraneous detail.  In the present work, a young boy and his mother, who holds a nursing baby in one arm and the hand of her other child with the other, timidly approach the large doorway of a grand canal-house.  The young boy holds his hat out before him as he tentatively steps into a pristine and brightly lit entrance way.  He is greeted there by the barks of a small dog seen in the lower left as well as by a seated young woman, adorned in rich and elaborate fabrics, who reaches forward to place alms into the boy’s hat.  Of the ten other pictures in this comparable group, three depict street musicians at the doorway, six depict food sellers of meats and fruits, and one, not listed in Susan Kuretsky's 1976 monograph though today in the National Gallery of Art, D.C. (inv. no. 2015.68.1), also depicts beggars asking for alms.1   

1. See S. Kuretsky, The Paintings of Jacob Ochtervelt (1634-1682), Oxford 1979, cat. nos. 16, 24, 41, 50, 51, 54, 55, 62, 103.  The other painting depicting beggars by Ochtervelt also sold New York, Sotheby’s, 30 January 2014, lot 38.