The Inn

begainnCornelis Bega (1631/2-64), The Inn, etching, c. 1660-64. Reference: Hollstein 35. First state of three. With the Foolscap watermark. In good condition, with some (flattened) printing creases, a few unobtrusive (printer’s oil?) stains, archival mounting.  With margins, 8 3/4 x 6 3/4, the sheet 9 5/8 x 7 1/2 inches.

A fine impression of this very early state, before the address was added (“J Covene et C. Mortier excudit” was added in the second state).

Hollstein notes several other first state impressions with the Foolscap watermark.

Provenance: ex. Collection: Dr. Karl Herweg, and with his stamp (not in Lugt) verso. The Herweg collection was distinguished for its collection of Van Ostade and Bega prints.

Cornelis Bega was born in Haarlem, the son of Pieter Bega, a wood carver and silversmith, and Maria Cornelisdr, daughter of the Mannerist painter Cornelis van Haarlem. He is known as a pupil of Adriaen Van Ostade, and of course his work bears a resemblance to Van Ostade’s. He was admitted to the Haarlem artists’ guild in 1654.

Bega’s few later etchings are his most complex, and – as is especially evident in The Inn –  they have a dark, cold sense to them – not the warm hominess of some of the other 17th Century etchings of Van Ostade, Van Vliet or Dusart. Here, the two men talk with the girl in an accusatory or threatening manner, and she appears contrite. The scene is dark, two other men talk in the background. Food and a jug are on an overturned half barrel at the right, shoes and hat and a broom on the ground at the left. The composition is triangular, tight and structured, and the lighting focuses on it effectively.