Old Master Paintings, Drawings, and British Portraits


QUIRINGH VAN BREKELENKAM (Zwammerdam [?] near Leiden circa 1623 – Leiden 1669 [?] or after)

The Tired Drinker

oil on panel

13 ½ x 11 ½ inches          (35 x 30 cm.)


H. A. van Bleiswijk sale, Rotterdam, July 23, 1827, lot 18

Marczell von Nemes, Budapest

M. von Nemes sale, Galerie Manzi, Joyant, Paris, June 17–18, 1913, lot 46, illustrated

Marcus Kappel, Berlin, 1914, and thus by descent in the family until purchased by

Galerie Hoogsteder, The Hague by 1986, from whom acquired by

Private Collection, Washington, D.C., until the present time



Dusseldorf, Städtische Kunsthalle, Sammlung des Kgl. Rates Marczell von Nemes-Budapest ausgestellte Gemälde, 1912

Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, 1939

Zuoz-Graubünden, Switzerland, Chesa Planta Museum, Holland im Engadin, February 6 – March 2, 1986, no. 12, illustrated (lent by Galerie Hoogsteder)



Katalog der aus der Sammlung des Kgl. Rates Marczell von Nemes: Budapest, ausgestellten Gemälde, Druck und Verlag von A. Bagel, 1912, no. 48, illustrated

Gabriel Mourey, “La Collection Marczell de Nemes” in Les Arts – Revue Mensuelle des Musées, Collections, Expositions, no. 138, Goupil et Cie, June 1913, p. 18, illustrated

Wilhelm von Bode, Die Gemäldesammlung Marcus Kappel in Berlin, Im Verlag von Julius Bard, 1914, no. 48, illustrated

Wilhelm von Bode, “Quiringh G. Brekelenkam, ein Maler des holländischen Kleinbürgertums” in Velhagen & Klasings Monatshefte, no. 31, 1916-1917, p. 50

“Quirin Gerritsz. van Brekelenkam” in Holland im Engadin, Hans M. Kramer/Galerie Hoogsteder/The Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, 1986, p. 43, no. 12, illustrated

Roland E. Fleischer, “Quirijn van Brekelenkam and the Artist’s Workshop in the Hermitage Museum” in The Age of Rembrandt: studies in seventeenth-century Dutch painting, Pennsylvania State Univerisity, circa 1988, pp. 72-73, 87, fig. 4-14, illustrated (dated circa 1660, from a private collection)

Angelika Lasius, Quiringh van Brekelenkam, Davaco, Doornspijk, 1992, p. 175, no. D77 (listed as present location unknown and under rejected attributions but, problematically, Lasius has combined the provenance of two different paintings under this entry)

Peter C. Sutton, “Quirijn van Brekelenkam” in Prized Possessions: European Paintings From Private Collections of Friends of the Museum of Fines Arts, Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1992, p. 128


Although very little is known about the life of Quiringh van Brekelenkam it is likely that he received his artistic training in Leiden. In 1648 he joined the newly founded Guild of St. Luke in Leiden. It is also from this year that his earliest dated work is known, Domestic Cares in the Stedelijk Museum, Leiden. His career spanned two decades from 1648-1668, and with the exception of a few still lifes and portraits, Brekelenkam devoted himself to genre.[1]

During the first decade of his career the artist painted simple domestic scenes as well as hermits. These works reflect his close ties to the Leiden school of fijnschilders, a group of artists centered around Gerrit Dou, but as early as the 1650s Brekelenkam would begin to formulate a more individualized style, one which would reflect the influence of Gabriel Metsu. From 1653-1664 the majority of his paintings depict the workshops and stalls of different crafts and tradesmen, such as the shoemaker, barber-surgeon, apothecary, tailor, coppersmith, lace-maker, fruit-seller, shrimp-seller and vegetable seller. No other contemporary Dutch artist would represent these subjects as often. In the 1660s his works would also include the newly fashionable conversation pieces in elegant interiors. During this period his palette would brighten and become more luminous, reflecting the influences of Jan Steen, Gerard ter Borch, Pieter de Hooch and Jacob Ochtervelt. By this point he had also developed a distinctive hand characterized by broad fluid brush strokes, thinly applied paint, carefully crafted figures and objects with slightly blurred faces and contours, clothing consisting of a few well modeled folds, all covered in a fine glaze.[2]

Brekelenkam and his fellow artists rarely worked for individual patrons but instead in an open market whose main outlets consisted of auctions and dealers. As competition was fierce, artists tried to stand out by specializing in certain subjects or by the introduction of original themes, which would then be associated exclusively with their name.[3] The theme of immoderate drinking was a subject Brekelenkam painted a number of times. In this charming panel a young man has fallen asleep after having too much to drink. His broken glass lies at his feet, while the barmaid chalks up an additional dram to his account. A map stretched on rods decorates the back wall. The intended warning against overindulgence could not be more clearly stated.

Fred G. Meijer, upon firsthand inspection, has confirmed the painting to be by Quiringh van Brekelenkam.




[1] Lasius, op. cit., pp. 7-8, 15, 69.

[2] Ibid, pp. 69, 148.

[3] Ibid, pp. 37.

Lawrence Steigrad Fine Arts

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