David TENIERS the Younger
(Antwerp 1610 – Brussels 1690)
Signed “D.TENIERS F” (lower right)
Oil on panel, 27 x 38.5 cm
– Private collection, France ;
– Collection Jules Porgès (1839-1921), Paris (engraved by Jacques -Philippe Le Bas (1707-1783)) ;
– Kleinberger Galleries, Paris 1910 ;
– Adolf Wollenberg (1874-1950/51), Berlin;
– Anonymous sale, Lepke, Berlin, 17 March 1932, n°193 ;
– C. van den Berghe, Antwerp (before Salisbury) ;
– Private collection, Netherlands;
– Private collection, France, circa 1980 – 2021.
Berlin, Akademie der Künste, Gemälde alter Meister aus Berliner Besitz, 1925, n°378.
Appraisal: certificate of authenticity by Dr Margret Klinge, dated 1983.
Our panel is a fine example of the work of David Teniers the Younger in the 1640s, when he was at the height of his career. A son-in-law of Jan Brueghel the Elder (1568-1625), his family connections and numerous contacts in the art trade enabled him to secure a prominent place on the Antwerp art scene.
During this decade, his work became detached from the influence of Adriaen Brouwer (1605-1638), a painter and draughtsman who had fundamentally renewed the Breughel-inspired peasant genre. Teniers took over from him his caricatured peasant figures, depicted in monochrome interiors, such as Smokers, a work in the Royal Museum of Fine Arts in Antwerp (inv.no.5043) ill.1. Subsequently, his compositions show a more moderate spirit in which the figures have lost their frightening, caricature-like deformations and the atmosphere becomes clearer, as can be seen in our painting and a composition from the same period, The Smokers, kept at the Wallace Collection in London (inv.no.P227) ill.2.
During this period, Teniers developed a certain interest in genre painting, producing a series of small coppers and panels like this one exploring the theme of play. The focal point of our composition is a game of trictrac, in which the master has succeeded in capturing the moment of tension in the game. The serious nature of the scene between the two players is underlined by the presence of two observers, seated around the table, whose relaxed appearance contrasts with the concentration of the former. In any case, the group does not seem in any way disturbed by the entrance of an elderly woman to the right of the composition. Teniers took advantage of the sobriety of the interior to include, on the right, a still life in which we find coats and a hat, probably belonging to the protagonists of the scene, resting nonchalantly on a wooden bench. There is also a small dog, to which Teniers has taken great care. This still life motif is found in other compositions by the artist.
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