Baptized on December 10, 1610, in Haarlem, Adriaen van Ostade was the third of the eight children of Jan Hendricx van Eyndhoven and Janneke Hendriksdr. Although no documents survive relating to Van Ostade’s training, Arnold Houbraken states that he studied with Frans Hals (Dutch, c. 1582/1583 - 1666). He also says that Adriaen Brouwer (1606–1638), the Flemish painter of low-life and tavern scenes who lived in Haarlem until 1631, was a pupil of Hals at about the same time. Whether or not the two artists studied together, Brouwer’s influence is readily apparent in Van Ostade’s early works.
By June 8, 1632, Van Ostade was working successfully as an artist. Due to incomplete guild records, the date that he entered the Haarlem Saint Luke’s Guild is unknown, but he was certainly a member by 1634, when one of his paintings was included in a lottery of guild members’ works that Dirck Hals (1591–1656) organized in April of that year. Two years later Van Ostade is recorded as a member of the Oude Schuts civic guard company. Later in his career, he played an active part in the administration of the Saint Luke’s Guild, holding office as hoofdman in 1647 and 1661 and as deken in 1662. It must have been at about the time he was elected hoofdman in 1647 that Frans Hals painted his portrait (Adriaen van Ostade).
On July 26, 1638, Van Ostade married Macheltje Pietersdr. They drew up a will on March 8, 1642, six weeks before she died. Fifteen years later, on May 26, 1657, Van Ostade married Anna Ingels, a wealthy Catholic woman from Amsterdam. He appears to have converted to Catholicism at this time. His second marriage prompted a change in residence. After living for some years in the house on the Cromme Elleboochsteech that he had purchased in September 1650, he settled first in the Koningstraat and then, by August 1663, moved to the Veerstraat. The couple had one child, a daughter named Johanna Maria. In 1655 Van Ostade became guardian of his sister Maeyeken’s five children, and from 1668 he was also responsible for the children of his brother Jan. After the death of Anna late in 1666, Van Ostade inherited considerable sums both from her and from her father. His prolific output must also have provided a substantial income, for by 1670 he was living in relative comfort on the Ridderstraat. In 1672, at the time of the French invasion of the Netherlands, he temporarily fled Haarlem and moved to Amsterdam.
On April 21, 1685, Van Ostade was a signatory to his daughter’s marriage settlement. He died six days later and was buried in Saint Bavo’s on May 2. According to an announcement placed by his daughter in the Haarlem Courant on June 19, the contents of the artist’s studio were to be sold at auction on July 3 and 4; a second sale is known to have taken place on April 27, 1686.
Van Ostade’s productivity was remarkable. His known works include more than eight hundred paintings, about fifty etchings, and numerous drawings, some of which are worked up with watercolor. The vast majority of this oeuvre consists of genre scenes, but he also produced a small number of portraits and history paintings.
Weyerman, J. C. De levens beschryvingen der nederlandsche konstschilders en konstschilderessen. 4 vols. The Hague, 1729-1769: 2:91.
Houbraken, Arnold. De Groote Schouburgh der Nederlantsche Konstschilders en Schilderessen. 3 vols. in 1. The Hague, 1753 (Reprint: Amsterdam, 1976): 1:320, 347-349.
Smith, John. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters. 9 vols. London, 1829-1842: 1(1829):107-178; 9(1842):79-136.
Gaedertz, Theodor. Adrian van Ostade: Sein Leben und seine Kunst. Lübeck, 1869.
Willigen, Adriaan van der. Les Artistes de Harlem: Notices historiques avec un précis sur la Gilde de St. Luc. Revised and enlarged ed. Haarlem and The Hague, 1870: 21-23, 29, 233-241.
Rosenberg, Adolf. Adriaen und Isack van Ostade. Bielefeld, 1900.
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):140-436.
Kuznetsov, Yury U. Adrian fan Ostade. Edited by Vladimir F. Levinson-Lessinga. Exh. cat. State Hermitage Museum. Saint Petersburg, 1960.
Bie, Cornelis de. Het gulden cabinet van de edel vry schilderconst. Edited by Gerard Lemmens. Reprint of Antwerp, 1661/1662. Soest, 1971: 258.
Miedema, Hessel. De Archiefbescheiden van het St. Lukasgilde te Haarlem: 1497-1798. 2 vols. Alphen aan den Rijn, 1980: 2:613, 665-672, 1060-1062.
Schnackenburg, Bernhard. Adriaen van Ostade, Isack van Ostade: Zeichnungen und Aquarelle. 2 vols. Hamburg, 1981.
Sutton, Peter C. Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Edited by Jane Iandola Watkins. Exh. cat. Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin; Royal Academy of Arts, London. Philadelphia, 1984: 281-289.
Godefroy, Louis. The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade. San Francisco, 1990.
MacLaren, Neil. The Dutch School, 1600-1900. Revised and expanded by Christopher Brown. 2 vols. National Gallery Catalogues. London, 1991: 1:297-298.
Pelletier, S. William, et al. Adriaen Van Ostade: etchings of peasant life in Holland's Golden Age. Exh. cat. Georgia Museum of Art, Athens; Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor. Athens, 1994.
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Dutch Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1995: 184-185.