Overview

The vivid sense of daily life that seventeenth-century Dutch artists conveyed in their work is one of that period’s most delightful aspects, and Isack van Ostade was the most important of a number of Haarlem artists who painted rural life at that time. The social area outside a tavern became one of his favorite subjects, providing him the opportunity to combine his skills both as a landscapist and as a genre painter.

In this painting, we witness the bustle of activity outside a village inn as two well-dressed travelers arrive and dismount from their horses. A woman with a child strapped to her back has stopped to watch, and others converse with the travelers. The street is filled with people, and the informality of all these human interactions creates a sense of conviviality. Van Ostade carefully depicts the timeworn brick-and-mortar construction of the inn and accentuates the charming character of the scene with details such as the vines clinging to the buildings. He exaggerated the level of disrepair to make the structures more picturesque. Such liberties in his painted works are revealed by the drawings he made from life on his treks in the countryside around Haarlem, which clearly show the various inns to be in good repair.

A student of his more famous older brother Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685), Isack died at the young age of twenty-eight. Despite his short artistic career, he had a significant influence on his contemporaries, including Jan Steen (1625/1626–1679), with whom he occasionally collaborated.

Inscription

lower right: Isack van Os... / 164[?]

Marks and Labels

null

Provenance

Marie-Caroline-Ferdinande-Louise de Naples, duchesse de Berry [1798-1870]; (De Berry sale, by Bataillard and Charles Pillet, Paris, 4-6 April 1837, no. 19). Charles-Auguste-Louis-Joseph, comte de Morny [1811-1865, later duc de Morny], Paris; (his sale, Phillips, London, 20-21 June 1848, 2nd day, no. 108). Mrs. Stephen Lyne-Stephens [1812-1894, née Pauline Duvernay or Yolande-Marie-Louise Duvernay], Lynford Hall, Mundford, near Thetford, Norfolk, London (Roehampton), and Paris; (sale, Christie, Manson & Woods, London, 9 May 1895, no. 340); (Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris), in 1895.[1] (Eugene Fischhof, Paris); sold 1898 to Peter A.B. Widener, Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1909
The Hudson-Fulton Celebration, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1909, no. 70.

Bibliography

1829
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 9(1842):127-128, no. 17.
1885
Catalogue of Paintings Forming the Collection of P. A. B. Widener, Ashbourne, near Philadelphia. 2 vols. Paris, 1885-1900: 2(1900):235, repro.
1895
Sedelmeyer, Charles. Illustrated Catalogue of the Second Hundred Paintings by Old Masters, Sedelmeyer Gallery. Paris, 1895: 34, no. 28, repro.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. 8 vols. Translated by Edward G. Hawke. London, 1907-1927: 3(1910):450-451, no. 37.
1909
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Catalogue of a collection of paintings by Dutch masters of the seventeenth century. The Hudson-Fulton Celebration 1. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1909: xxviii-xxix, 71, no. 70, repro., 155, 161.
1910
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. "Die Ausstellung holländischer Gemälde in New York." Monatshefte für Kunstwissenschaft 3 (1910): 10.
1910
Valentiner, Wilhelm R. Catalogue of a Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Old Dutch Masters Held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Connection with the Hudson-Fulton Celebration. New York, 1910: 16, repro. 246, 247, no. 70.
1913
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis, and Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Pictures in the collection of P. A. B. Widener at Lynnewood Hall, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania: Early German, Dutch & Flemish Schools. Philadelphia, 1913: unpaginated, repro.
1923
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1923: unpaginated, repro.
1931
Paintings in the Collection of Joseph Widener at Lynnewood Hall. Intro. by Wilhelm R. Valentiner. Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, 1931: 92, repro.
1938
Waldmann, Emil. "Die Sammlung Widener." Pantheon 22 (November 1938): 336, 338.
1942
National Gallery of Art. Works of art from the Widener collection. Washington, 1942: 6.
1948
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Washington, 1948 (reprinted 1959): 52, repro.
1959
National Gallery of Art. Paintings and Sculpture from the Widener Collection. Reprint. Washington, DC, 1959: 52, repro.
1965
National Gallery of Art. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. Washington, 1965: 98.
1968
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 86, repro.
1975
National Gallery of Art. European paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. Washington, 1975: 256-257, repro. 257.
1981
Schnackenburg, Bernhard. Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle: Desamtdarstellung mit Werkkstalogen. 2 vols. Hamburg, 1981: 1:35, 274, no. 59, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 291, no. 383, color repro.
1984
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Painting in the National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 1984: 16-17, color repro.
1985
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. Washington, 1985: 296, repro.
1991
National Gallery of Art. Art for the Nation: Gifts in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1991: 72.
1992
National Gallery of Art. National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1992: 126, color repro.
1995
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, 1995: 191-194, color repro. 193.
2004
Franits, Wayne E. Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting. Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution. New Haven, 2004: 204, fig. 190.
2004
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Gerard ter Borch. Exh. cat. National Gallery of Art, Washington; Detroit Institute of Arts. New Haven, 2004: 60, fig. 1.

Conservation Notes

The original support was a horizontally grained wood panel composed of two boards joined horizontally just above the grouped figures. A horizontal check extended from the right edge through several of the figures and the head of the brown horse. Prior to 1837, when the painting was in the sale of the collection of the Duchess de Berry, it was transferred from wood to a fine-weave fabric and lined with the dimensions expanded. The transfer canvas has a small vertical tear in the foreground near the gray horse’s tail. In 1982 the lining was removed and the transfer canvas was relined and marouflaged to a honeycombed aluminum solid support panel consistent with the original panel dimensions.

The artist incorporated a smooth, off-white ground layer into the light tones of the design. He applied paint in thin layers with minimal impasto. Transparent glazes were laid over opaque layers in the upper sky in the dark foreground. The paint craquelure is characteristic of paintings on both wood and fabric supports, although the solid support mounting minimizes the impression of the weave texture.

A thin line of loss exists along the panel join and check and adjacent to a canvas tear that occurred in 1979. Scattered small losses found overall include losses in the signature and date, the beggar woman, and the structures at right. Dark gray stains in the sky were minimized through inpainting when the painting was treated in 1982.

Related Works

Related Resources

  • Event Type
    Event Name
    March 1–June 1
    Mon, Tues, and Wed at 1:00
    March 5, 2012 at 2:00
    March 7, 2012 at 4:00
    East Building, Auditorium
    Name of docent
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum
    60 minutes
    Registration for this event begins on April 1, 2012 at noon.
    Download the program notes (100k)
  • Self-Guided Tour
    Italian Collection
    image:
    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum