Gallery of prints for sale

Monday 27 November 2017

Adriaen van Ostade’s etching, “The Pater Familias”, 1648

Adriaen van Ostade (aka Adriaen Jansz. van Ostade) (1610–1685)

“The Pater Familias” (aka “Le Père de la Famille”; “The Father”), 1648

Etching on fine paper without visible chainlines trimmed close to the platemark
Size: (sheet) 12.8 x 9.5 cm; (platemark) 12.6 x 9.4 cm; (image borderline) 12.2 x 9 cm
Signed on plate at lower edge: “AV. ostade 1648”
State v (of v) with rounded plate corners (Godefroy).

TIB 1.33 (v) (368) (Walter L Strauss & Leonard J Slatkes [eds.] 1978, “The Illustrated Bartsch: Netherlandish Artists”, vol.1, p.347); Hollstein 33.IV; Bartsch I.368.33; Godefroy 33 v/v; Boon-Verbeek 33 v/vi; Davidsohn 33 iv/iv
See also P van der Coelen 1998, “Everyday life in Holland's Golden Age: The Complete Etchings of Adriaen van Ostade”, ex. cat. Rembrandthuis, Amsterdam, no.34.

The British Museum offers the following description of this print (in the fourth state):
“The Pater Familias; a humble interior with the father carefully feeding his baby, watched by his wife who holds some laundry in front of the fire-place, another child sits before a stool on the floor eating a meal, a large pot is suspended before a fire at right, a bed with a curtain beyond. 1648 Etching” (  

Condition: well-inked, crisp and well-printed impression in near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, abrasions, stains, foxing or signs of handling) trimmed close to the platemark. There is the remnant of a hinge at the top of the sheet (verso).

I am selling this sparkling crisp impression from the final state of this very important print in the oeuvre of Ostade for AU$310 (currently US$237/EUR198.44/GBP177.48 at the time of this listing) including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.

If you are interested in purchasing this superb print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This print has been sold

Surprises happen when least expected.

Initially, when I set out to showcase this print, my vision was simple: I wanted to offer close-up details of Ostade’s marvellous etching so that they may be compared with related details in Jacque’s etched copy posted previously. What I had not anticipated is that this seemingly simply domestic scene of warm intimacy in a family would set me into a flurry of thinking.

Essentially, I realised that the portrayed family bliss must have been a shock at the time that it was executed. Indeed, it may even represent a watershed moment. After all, earlier depictions of domestic/tavern life invariably showed the antithesis of family cohesion and harmony; images that I would describe succinctly as “bad behaviour.” Interestingly, in just a few years after this print was created the whole notion of how family life should be portrayed changed significantly away from derogatory satire to positive celebration of domestic life as showcased by artists like Vermeer and de Hooch.

Regarding the change of attitude towards showing loving intimacy in domesticity, Leonard J Slatkes (et al., 1994), in the exhibition catalogue from the Georgia Museum of Art, “Adriaen van Ostade: Etchings of Peasant Life in Holland’s Golden Age”, offers rich insights into the shift of mindset and proposes that Rembrandt’s depictions of the Holy family may have prompted “a transformation of … religiously oriented intimacy into pure genre themes.” (see pp.177–8)

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