The Family

Adriaen Van Ostade - The Family


Adriaen Van Ostade (1610-1685), The Family, etching and drypoint, c. 1647. References: Godefry 46, third state (of 7). In excellent condition, trimmed on or to the borderline at the top and sides, a bit more space below, on old laid paper without watermark, 6 15/16 x 6 1/16 inches.

Provenance: Jiles Boon (1916-2009); E.V. Rouir, Belgium (Lugt 2156a, with his stamp verso)

A very fine impression of this rare early state (Godefry designates the third states as RR, “très rare.”)

In the third state Van Ostade has re-worked the border lines with a burin, but the lower right corner of the cleaver suspended on the wall over the coffeepot, to the right of where the man is standing, has yet to be completed; this is also before the vertical crosshatching on the floor in the lower left corner, which is done in the still-rare fourth state.

The Family is one of Van Ostade’s masterpieces, called by Hamerton perhaps his most perfect etching, and by Wedmore among the “chefs d’oeuvre” of the art of etching. The composition is one of his most successful, with the focus on the family (taking up only about a quarter of the space), each of the family members is occupied – the father cutting bread, the mother feeding an infant, the younger boy holding a soup bowl and the older one playing with the dog – a splendid, positive picture of 17th Century Dutch peasant life.