Property from the SØR Rusche Collection
JAN MIENSE MOLENAER
Haarlem circa 1610 - 1668
A group of young musicians with a dancing dwarf
signed with monogram lower right: IMOR
oil on canvas
102.3 x 90.2 cm.; 40¼ x 35½ in.
The canvas is lined, the paint surface is relatively clean, and the varnish is clear. The paint surface has thinned slightly in a few areas, such as the window upper right, and the door-frame centre right. Discoloured retouchings are visible along the upper half of the left margin. Inspection under ultraviolet light confirms these, and reveals further retouching along the other margins, as well as some wash retouching in the top section of the building on the right. There are also spot retouchings scattered in the figures, with more notable areas in the right side of the jacket of the left-most musician, and the right side of the jacket and trousers of the right-most musician, and just to the right of this. All these have been sensitively executed, and the painting appears fresh and ready to hang. Offered in a plain, painted wooden frame in good condition.
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Private collection, Munich, whence acquired.
Mönchengladbach, Städtisches Museum Schloss Rheydt, 19 April – 21 June 1998; Oelde, Rathaus, 1 October – 1 November 1998, Von Kavalieren, Dirnen und Quacksalbern, unnumbered;
Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina Museum of Art, 13 October 2002 – 5 January 2003; Indianapolis, Museum of Art, 12 January – 16 March 2003, Jan Miense Molenaer: Painter of the Dutch Golden Age, no. 5;
Manchester, New Hampshire, Currier Gallery of Art, Jan Miense Molenaer: Painter of the Dutch Golden Age, 30 March – 8 June 2003, unnumbered;
Gera, Kunstsammlung Gera - Orangerie, Von Kavalieren, Dirnen und Quacksalbern, 14 September 2003 – 11 January 2004, unnumbered;
Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, 23 October 2004 – 9 January 2005; Frankfurt/Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, 10 February – 1 May 2005, Der Zauber des Alltäglichen: Holländische Malerei von Adriaen Brouwer bis Johannes Vermeer, unnumbered;
Rotterdam 2008, no. 56;
's-Hertogenbosch, Noordbrabants Museum, Music played and displayed, 26 April – 31 August 2008, unnumbered.
The SØR Rusche Collection has been exhibited extensively over the last two decades. Please click here for further information.
Raupp 1996, pp. 168–71, cat. no. 40, reproduced in colour;
D.P. Weller, Jan Miense Molenaer: Painter of the Dutch Golden Age, exh. cat., Raleigh, N.C. 2002, pp. 78–80, cat. no. 5, and p. 81, under cat. no. 6, reproduced in colour;
J. Giltaij, Der Zauber des Alltäglichen: Holländische Malerei von Adriaen Brouwer bis Johannes Vermeer, exh. cat., Rotterdam 2004, p. 126;
Rotterdam 2008, p. 73, cat. no. 56, reproduced in colour;
E.J. Allen, 'An early Jan Miense Molenaer in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest', in Bulletin du Musée Hongrois des Beaux-Arts, 2011, vol. 114-115, p. 92, cat. no. 18, reproduced.
Jan Miense Molenaer and his wife Judith Leyster were the two most talented pupils of Frans Hals in Haarlem. Some of their caricatural studies of single figures are very Hals-like, and both husband and wife painted small-format genre subjects of gentle comedy. Molenaer alone however developed larger scale works such as this one, in which unruly boys and a dwarf grasping a flagon make raucous music and dance, absorbed in their own amusement, but put on display by the artist for ours. Dating from around 1630, as Dennis Weller suggests, it is one of Molenaer’s first large-scale representations of merrymakers out-of-doors, and he continued to paint similar pictures until the later 1640s. Molenaer’s style of painting has already diverged from his teacher, particularly in the way he builds up paint layers to convey form, but Hals’ ideas are never far away – one thinks for example of his own depictions of boys playing the rommel-pot which date from around 1620 onwards, and are the direct forerunners of the lad looking out at us here. Judith Leyster’s treatments of this theme on the other hand remain more Hals-like well into the 1630s.