Le paysan sans souci

95,00

Bust of a peasant, in profile to right, head thrown back, balding, wearing a dark gown, in a rectangular frame; after Adriaen van Ostade. Etching by William Baillie made in 1775. The image is 11,5 x 10,5 cm, in good condition, and comes in a passe-partout

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Adriaen van Ostade (christened Haarlem, 10 December 1610 – there, 28 April 1685) is one of the most important Dutch painters of the golden age. In addition to being a painter, he was an engraver and draftsman. Van Ostade belongs to the Dutch School. Adriaen van Ostade was the eldest son of Jan Hendricx Ostade, who came from the hamlet of Ostade in today’s Asten. Both Adriaen and his brother Isaac took the name “Van Ostade” when they became painters. Van Ostade married at the age of 28. His wife died in 1640, after which Adriaen van Ostade remarried. In 1666 he became a widower again. Haarlem was one of the most important and prosperous cities of Holland in the Golden Age. The flourishing and freedom of the city attracted many Flemish and Dutch painters, which strengthened Haarlem as an art city. According to Houbraken, Adriaen van Ostade was taught by Frans Hals, at the same time as Adriaen Brouwer. Van Ostade mainly painted the poor layer of the population. He preferably portrayed the peasants and villagers cheerfully dancing, partying and fighting, and at the same time aroused admiration and horror in his time. Van Ostade derived this theme from the writers of that time such as Bredero, from his example the painter Pieter Bruegel and from his immediate surroundings. He combined the raw, realistic tradition of Bruegel with the exuberant style of his teacher Frans Hals: in the early years in particular, his paintings contained a palette of small, ugly caricatures that rags on alcohol and tobacco. From the outset, Van Ostade’s canvases were cheerful and he regularly painted caricatures to mock the exuberant lives of farmers and villagers. He also experimented with strong light-dark contrasts. It is a movement in time, in which Rembrandt excels most. A clear example of the ‘clair-obscur’ is a work from 1635, ‘partying farmers in a barn’, the bright lighting of the main group, the sparse-lit space and the dark objects in the foreground (the ‘repoussoir’) are characteristic of that period of time. In the first years Van Ostade mainly used many gray and brown shades in his canvases, economically supplemented with pale red, purple and blue. After 1640, Van Ostade’s compositions became calmer and the lighting effect warmer. The paintings show more respect for the subject. The farmers and villagers still drink and dance, but it is not a caricature. Van Ostade appears to have been influenced in style by Rembrandt during this period. Sometimes Van Ostade even takes over a subject such as the “proclamation to the shepherds” (1640). At the time, he also painted a few landscapes that match the monochrome style of Haarlem. But landscapes clearly do not arouse passion in Adriaen van Ostade. Van Ostade changed style again after 1650: he felt the urge for perfection. Van Ostade is a gifted atmosphere painter (“tonalist”) and composition painter, who combines his far-reaching detail with a strong sense of space and light. The colors remain reserved: grays, blue gray and brown. He creates depth effect by painting figures in the background a little fainter in hue. The canvas ‘A painter in his studio’ (1663) is one of his most sensitive paintings from that period in terms of light treatment, which moreover gives a good impression of the habitat of the seventeenth-century painter: the painter behind his easel, next to him the bottles with oil and turpentine, trays, dishes and brushes on the couch. In the background the student is rubbing paint. The poor appearance did not relate to Van Ostade’s studio: he was already a wealthy man through painting. At the end of his life, Van Ostade shifts his attention to producing engravings (which was a lucrative trade) and his canvases flatter.

Source: https://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adriaen_van_Ostade

William Baillie (1723–1810) often known as “Captain William Baillie” was an Irish printmaker. Baillie was born at Kilbride, County Carlow, on 5 June 1723. He was educated at Dr. Sheridan’s school in Dublin, and at about the age of eighteen his father sent him to London to study law. However he decided to follow the example of a younger brother and join the army. After some opposition from his father, he was allowed to accept of a commission offered to him by Lord Archibald Hamilton, in the 13th Regiment of Foot. He joined the regiment as the senior ensign before the battle of Lafeldt, where he carried the colours. He served with this regiment for many years, and was at the battle of Culloden, and at several engagements in Germany. He then became an officer in the 51st Regiment and was with them as captain of the grenadiers and paymaster at the battle of Minden. He then spent some time in the 17th Light Dragoons before selling his commission. He made his first etchings while still in the army. The earliest dated ones, from 1753, depict soldiers, one a named member of his regiment. He was largely self-taught as an artist, though he had some lessons from his fellow Irishman, Nathaniel Hone. After leaving the army in 1761, Baillie devoted his life to the arts, although from 1773–95 he also held the post of Commissioner of Stamps. He made prints in various styles, first exhibiting his work with the Society of Artists in 1762, but his most notable productions were those in the style of, or directly copied from, the etchings of Rembrandt. To imitate Rembrandt’s effects of chiaoscuro, he used mezzotint, a technique not employed by the Dutch artist. He also obtained the badly worn original plate of Rembrandt’s “Hundred Guilder Print” and reworked it. When a limited number of impressions had been made, the plate was cut into four pieces, and impressions taken from the individual sections.  His main business however was as a picture dealer, acting as agent for the Earl of Bute and Lord Liverpool among others. His works were published in two folio volumes by John Boydell, in 1792,under the title of A Series of 225 Prints and Etchings after Rembrandt, Teniers, G. Dou, Poussin, and others. He died at Paddington, London, on 22 December 1810.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Baillie_(engraver)