Ostade was a leader among the many painters of daily life who appeared in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century. Peasant themes—tavern subjects, domestic scenes, and images of work— allowed him to capture bawdy characters, touching family scenes, and the physically demanding toil of...
Ostade was a leader among the many painters of daily life who appeared in the Netherlands during the seventeenth century. Peasant themes—tavern subjects, domestic scenes, and images of work— allowed him to capture bawdy characters, touching family scenes, and the physically demanding toil of the lower classes. Using exaggerated gestures, facial expressions, and dark compositions, Ostade emphasized the cruder qualities of their lives. While some scholars see moralizing overtones in his paintings, others find an unbiased glimpse of common life.
Sir R. Brackenbury. 1853, Robert White, Edinburgh; June 11, 1853, White sale, Christie, Manson and Woods, London, lot 49, to Frederick Richard Sears (b. 1824 - d. 1907), Boston, for £25 [see note 1]; 1915, sold by the estate of Frederick Richard Sears to his son, Philip Shelton Sears (b. 1867 - d. 1953), Brookline, MA [see note 2]. 1941, acquired by John Mitchell, London and New York; probably sold by Mitchell to Max B. Berman, New York; 1944, consigned by Berman to French and Company, New York (stock no. 77274/2) [see note 3]; 1945, sold by French and Co. to the MFA for $5500. (Accession Date: October 11, 1945) NOTES:  A handwritten label on the back of the panel reads "Van Ostade / Bought at Christie + Manson's sale in London of the gallery of Sir R. Brackenbury, by me, F. R. S. June 11, 53." The label from the sale, numbered 49, also remains on the panel's reverse.  Another label, once affixed to the reverse of the painting, reads "Painting by van Ostade, Bought from the estate of F. R. Sears Esq. by Philip S. Sears 1915."  A note by MFA curator W. G. Constable (November 1945) states that John Mitchell indicated he had acquired the painting in 1941 and sold it to a private collector, who probably sold it to French and Company.
Seth K. Sweetser Fund