Peasant Settling His Debt

Adriaen Van Ostade (1610-1665), The Peasant Settling His Debt, etching, c 1646. Godefroy 42, Hollstein 42, Godefroy’s eighth state (of 12). In very good condition, with small/thread margins all around. 4 5/32 x 3 15/32; the sheet 4 1/4 x 3 17/32 inches.

Provenance: Rev. J Burleigh James, Knowbury Park, England (Lugt 1425), sale: London, April 23-30, 1877 [Sotheby’s]; Paul Davidsohn, Grunewald-Berlin (Lugt 654), sale: Leipzig, November 22-26, 1920 [C.G. Boerner]; Paul M. Robinow, Hamburg (Lugt 2237b), sale: Bern, November 7, 1946 [Gutekunst and Klipstein]; Dr. William Pelletier (not yet in Lugt), bought at Craddock & Barnard, London. November 6, 1969.

A fine impression. Pelletier described this impression (in the catalogue Adriaen Van Ostade, Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age), in this way: “A flawless impression in black ink on ivory, laid paper, printed with tone and inky plate edges. In this state, there are new strokes in the shadow below the chimney,and the line above the woman’s belt is strengthened and forked. Godefroy described this state as ‘tres rare’. ” (Indeed, this is the earliest state of this print that Pelletier, who had a very comprehensive Van Ostade collection, owned. )  After state 8 the plate is re-worked and gives heavy, dull impressions; the posthumous Picart edition was taken from state 10.

The Peasant Settling His Debt is famed as a small gem, an etching which successfully addresses the difficult problem of portraying daylight suffused through a window.