Haarlem ca. 1618 – Haarlem 1650
An Interior of an Inn with Peasants Merrymaking
Signed ‘. molenaer‘ | Lower right
Oil on panel
H. 21,3 cm. W. 17,5 cm.
With Guy Folkner | Sint-Martens-Latem | As by Jan Miense Molenaer;
Private collection | Antwerp
With an expertise by Guy Folkner, dd. 2 October 1979
Weller, D.P. (1992). Jan Miense Molenaer. The life and art of a seventeenth-century Dutch painter. University of Maryland, pp. 330-332
We are grateful to Dr. Dennis P. Weller, former Curator of Northern European Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, for his kind assistance with cataloguing this picture. The present tavern interior, formerly attributed to the Haarlem master Jan Miense Molenaer (1609/10-1668), raises interesting questions regarding works attributed to Jan Miense and painters working in his immediate circle. Dr. Weller attributes the present picture to Jan Miense’s younger brother Bartholomeus (1618-1650), who became a member of the Haarlem Guild of St. Luke in 1640. Bartholomeus lived with his brother Jan Miense and his wife Judith Leyster at the Lombaertsteech (Lombardsteeg) in Haarlem until 1646. As such, it is not surprising that both brother influenced each other and that the overall quality in several known works by Bartholomeus come close to peasant genre scenes painted by his older brother Jan Miense. One of the major differences between their paintings is the lesser detail Bartholmeus applied in facial features. With just a few broad strokes he suggest eye lids and eyebrow, with dark dots indicate the iris.
Dr. Weller compares the present picture to Interior of a Tavern, attributed to Bartholomeus, oil on panel, H. 17,2 cm. W. 22,7 cm., monogrammed ‘BMR’, signed ‘Molenaer’ and monogramed ‘JMM’, kept in the Collection Frits Lugt, Paris (inv. nr. 188). He states that the Lugt example and the present picture are clearly painted by the same hand. Dr. Weller believes it likely that the signature on the present picture is original. He stresses that still little is known of the workings of Jan Miense Molenaer’s studio and that the roles played by his brothers and others are little understood. The present Interior of an Inn reflects the degree of influence and exchange between the two brothers within the Molenaer studio in Haarlem.