Friday, 10 August 2018

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “The Gossips”, c1650


Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685)

“The Gossips” (TIB title) (aka “Two old women in conversation”; “The two housewives” [Rijksmusuem titles]), c1648–1654

Etching with light plate tone on laid paper with small margins, backed with a support sheet.
Size: (sheet) 12.3 x 10.9 cm; (plate) 10.4 x 9.1 cm; (image borderline) 10.2 x 8.9 cm
Inscribed on plate: (lower left) "A.v. ostade"
State v (Note: my attribution of this impression to the fifth state is because it matches the fifth state impression held by the BM [S.1508] “with smudge erased”.)

TIB 40 [v] (373) (Leonard J Slatkes [ed.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol. 1, Abaris Books, New York, p. 352); Hollstein Dutch 40.V(5); Bartsch I.373.40

The British Museum offers the following description of this print:
“Two elderly women gossiping in a village street, a trader in left background, and weighing goods for sale to a group of peasants.”
See also the description offered by the Rijksmuseum: http://hdl.handle.net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.38957
See also: Peter van der Coelen 1998, “Everyday life in Holland's Golden Age: The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade”, ex. cat. Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, p. 144, cat .no. 40.

Condition: crisp, well-inked and well-printed impression with small margins (approx. 1 cm), backed with a support sheet of archival (millennium quality) washi paper. The sheet is in excellent condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds, abrasions, stains or foxing).

I am selling this almost iconic image of two elderly women gossiping on the street for AU$242 in total (currently US$176.98/EUR154.38/GBP138.62 at the time of posting this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this small graphically strong etching from one of the truly great masters of the 17th century, please contact me (oz_jim@printsandprinciples.com) and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.


This print has been sold


There is so much to examine regarding the body language of these two elderly women gossiping in the street. For instance, I see the lady on the left as chuckling about some event with lightly clasped hands holding her dress while her friend on the right smiles knowingly with fingers tightly intertwined and raised as if thinking inwardly. Going further—and I may be going too far with this next personal reading of these figures—I see the left lady’s bundling of her dress and her outspread shoe angled beyond the lady on the right as character attributes expressing her forceful character while her friend with her slightly hunched posture as projecting a somewhat passive and introverted demeanour.

Beyond the body language of these women, I am also fascinated with how the background supports expressed meanings. For instance, note how the form of the foliage mass behind the ladies is like a visual analogue for a wave of spirited conversation from the lady on the left “landing” on the lady on the right. There may also be meanings to a gleaned by correlating the hive of activity behind the left lady with the serenity of the scene punctuated with a silhouetted cross behind the right lady.







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