The Flemish painter and draughtsman Adriane Brouwer specialised in peasant genre paintings and during his lifetime his works were avidly collected, with inventories of Rembrandt and Rubens’ collections revealing that they respectively owned six and seventeen pictures by him.

This panel depicts a high-ceiling room in a ‘tabagien’, a specialist inn for tobacco smokers. It is typical of Brouwer’s oeuvre in its innovative focus on the exaggerated facial expressions of its characters and their basic impropriety.
Such subjects were intended as moral warnings; indeed, essayist William Hazlitt commented that this painting ‘Almost gives one a sick headache’.


  • Title: Interior of a Tavern
  • Creator Lifespan: 6/1/1605 - 1638
  • Date: c.1630
  • Physical Dimensions: w432 x h324 cm
  • Type: Painting
  • Medium: Oil
  • Work Notes: A replica of this picture (formerly Duc D'Arenberg coll.; sold Cologne, Lempertz, 26 Nov. 1970, lot 32), now in an unknown American private collection (HdG106), may be the original, or both may be copies of a lost original. Knuttel thought DPG108 a copy but had not seen the original, which remains untraced. Copies are in the Hermitage, St Petersburg, and Valenciennes. An expanded version was at Paris, A Schloss coll. (Witt). According to Denning 'duplicate at Houghton, there attrib. to Teniers'.Letter from Dr Konrad Renger, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, 19 Nov. 1997, says he thinks it is a copy.
  • Work Nationality: Dutch
  • Support: Panel
  • Provenance: London, Noel Desenfans, ?1786-1807: ?London, Christie's, Desenfans private sale, 8ff Apr. 1786, lot 50 (ÔConversation'); ?1804 Insurance List, no. X); London, Sir Francis Bourgeois, by 1811; Bourgeois Bequest, 1811.
  • Further Information: Adriane Brouwer was a Flemish painter and draughtsman chiefly known for developing the depiction of indoor tavern scenes. Humorous and moralising, these lowlife scenes allowed Brouwer to experiment with figures expressing strong emotions, almost bordering on caricature, and record contemporary behaviour, such as smoking, which was a new activity in seventeenth century Netherlands. The figures are well observed: in the right foreground a figure urinates against a post, a detail seldom depicted so graphically in seventeenth century Netherlandish painting, while a man drinks directly from a jar in the centre background.
  • Artist: Brouwer, Adriaen
  • Acquisition Method: Bourgeois, Sir Peter Francis (Bequest, 1811)

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