Wednesday 16 November 2022

Lot 43

Gabriel Metsu,   Dutch 1629-1667-   The drinker;   oil on canvas...

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Lot 43

Gabriel Metsu,
Dutch 1629-1667-
The drinker;
oil on canvas...

Price Realised: £26,000

Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000

Price realised is hammer price plus fees (30% Buyers Premium inclusive of VAT).

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Lot 43


Gabriel Metsu,


Dutch 1629-1667-


The drinker;


oil on canvas laid down on panel, bears traces of initials G M (upper right), bears old inscribed label on the reverse, 17.7 x 13 cm.



Collection of M. le Chevalier V. de Stuers, Directeur General des Beaux-Arts, The Hague.;

Collection of Mrs W. E. Gatacre Jonkvrouwe de Stuers, Kasteel de Wiersse, Vorden, Holland;

with Alfred Brod Gallery, London.;

Private Collection, UK, since 1966.;

By descent.



Catalogue of the Collection of M. le Chevalier V. de Stuers, Directeur General des Beaux-Arts, The Hague, 1898.;

Hofstede de Groot, A Catalogue Raisonne of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, Vol. I, 1908, no.196.;

Victor de Stuers, Manuscript Catalogue of his Collection, 1915, no.303.;

Franklin W. Robinson, Gabriel Metsu (1629-1667), A Study of His Place in Dutch Genre Painting of the Golden Age, New York, 1974, p.16, fig.2 (illustrated).;

Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., Review of Robinson 1974, Art Bulletin 58, 1976, p.457.;

Adriaan Waiboer, Gabriel Metsu, New Haven and London, 2010, p.319, no.D-23 (illustrated).


Note: Dr Adriaan Waiboer, to whom we are grateful, has confirmed the attribution of the present lot after first-hand inspection, and has suggested its dating to the mid-1650s. Having initially rejected the attribution on the basis of black and white photographs (see A. Waiboer Gabriel Metsu, 2010, no.D-23), he has revised his opinion.


Metsu was one of the leading figures in the founding of the Leiden Guild of Saint Luke, of which he became a member in 1648. Between circa 1650-2, the guild records show that Metsu was absent, and he probably spent part of this time in Utrecht. By 1657 he was living permanently in Amsterdam where he died prematurely at the age of 39. It was in the years 1653-54 that Metsu began to distance himself from the influence of Nicolaus Knupfer (c.1603-1655/60), the Utrecht painter who specialised in biblical and mythological subjects, and began to seek inspiration from a wider variety of artists. The canvas, thematically unrelated to and much smaller than the Knupferian paintings he had executed in the early 1650s, is evidence of the artists change of direction, and belongs to a long tradition of Dutch and Flemish images of men drinking and smoking in a tavern paintings commonly seen in collectors homes, the shops of art dealers, and the workshops of other painters. The tone is meditative, rather than didactic or narrative, and there is a new emphasis on the rendering of everyday objects the exquisitely rendered earthenware jug, for example, and the pipe which suggests Metsus imagination may have been captured by the still life works of Leiden artists, such as Jan Davidsz. de Heem (1606-1683/4) or Jan Lievens (1607-1674). Metsu's pictures were sought after by the urban elite in the cities where he worked, Leiden and Amsterdam. Yet he also had several noble patrons, including August II, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, who owned an unidentified 'tobacco smoker' (A. Waiboer, p.119). In the 18th century, his fame continued to grow and his paintings were more desirable than those of his contemporary Johannes Vermeer (1632-1675), with whom he exchanged mutual influence (A. Waiboer, pp.29-51). For a comparable composition by the artist, though on copper, see his Smoker seated at a table, now in private hands, which was offered at Sothebys, London, 5 December 2007, lot 8 (see A. Waiboer, Smoker Seated at a Table (2017). In The Leiden Collection Catalogue, 3rd ed. Edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. and Lara Yeager-Crasselt. New York, 2020).

Buyer's Premium

The buyer shall pay the hammer price together with a premium thereon of 26% up to £20,000 (31.2% inclusive of VAT), 25% from £20,001 - £500,000 (30% inclusive of VAT), 20% from £500,001 thereafter (24% inclusive of VAT). The premium price is subject to VAT at the standard rate.

VAT is not charged on the hammer price unless it is stated that there is 'VAT applicable on the hammer price at the end of the description. Buyer's premium is subject to VAT.

Qualifying living artists and the descendants of artists deceased within the last 70 years are entitled to receive a re-sale royalty each time their work is bought through an auction house or art market professional.

It applies to lots with hammer value over €1,000 as follows:
0 to €50,000 - 4%, €50,000.01 to €200,000 - 3%
€200,000.01 to €350,000 - 1%,
€350,000.01 to €500,000 - 0.5%
Exceeding €500,000 - 0.25%
ARR is capped at €12,500

Please note ARR is calculated in euros. Auctioneers will apply current exchange rates.

Export of goods

Buyers intending to export goods should ascertain whether an export licence is required before bidding. Export licences are issued by Arts Council England and application forms can be obtained from its Export Licensing Unit. Details can be found on the ACE website or by phoning ACE on 020 7973 5188. The need for import licences varies from country to country and you should acquaint yourself with all relevant local requirements and provisions before bidding. The refusal of any such licences shall not permit the cancelling of any sale nor allow any delay in making full payment for the lot.

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