Information from the museum, 25 January 2016
Alongside Rembrandt, Adriaen van Ostade (1610–1685) occupies an outstanding position in Dutch genre art. Ostade was a master of the art of etching. His light, extremely subtle and detailed etchings not only reveal an intimate observationof his subjects but also a fine sense of humor. Whereas his early prints testify to a certain tendancy to caricature, his later works reproduce external reality without a moralizing or cold analytical gaze. In his oeurvre of fifty etchings, van Ostade faithfully depicted contemporary life: inns, peasant hovels, stalls, hostelries and simple people drinking, smoking, dancing and gambling.
The exhibition, with around one hundred works on display, for the first time brings together Ostade’s entire printed work in Germany. In addition to the etchings from the holdings of the Kunsthalle, the exhibition also presents a major collection of exquisite prints from a private collection. Along with his small etchings, which will be shown in various stages to illustrate the creative process, copper plates and preliminary drawings from renowned public collections, such as the Hamburger Kunsthalle, the Department of Prints and Drawings in Berlin and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt are displayed. Through these drawings it is possible to follow the origins of the etchings and the transformation of Ostade’s style in the 1640s and early 1650s.