The Smokers

Adriaen Brouwer (Flemish, Oudenaarde 1605/6–1638 Antwerp)
ca. 1636
Oil on wood
18 1/4 x 14 1/2 in. (46.4 x 36.8 cm)
Credit Line:
The Friedsam Collection, Bequest of Michael Friedsam, 1931
Accession Number:
Not on view
The Fleming Brouwer worked in Haarlem and Amsterdam before joining the Antwerp painters' guild in 1621–32. HIs sheer talent and flair for human comedy earned the short-lived artist the esteem of Rubens and Rembrandt. In this famous picture, Brouwer himself (center foreground) plays one of his usual tavern habitués, with the still-life painter Jan de Heem (right) and more derelict companions serving as a chorus of smokers. Ephemeral effects, ranging from shifting highlights to funny faces, were prized as examples of artistic virtuosity.
#5029. The Smokers
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Inscription: Signed (lower left): Brauwer
?Louis Henri de Loménie, comte de Brienne, Paris, or Versailles (in 1662); L. van Oukerke, Haarlem (until 1818; his sale, Haarlem, May 19, 1818, no. 6, for fl. 62); Jacob de Vos, Amsterdam (until 1833; sale, De Vries-Roos, Amsterdam, July 2, 1833, no. 2, for fl. 490 to Steengracht); Jonkheer Johan Steengracht van Oostcappelle, The Hague (1833–d. 1841); Jonkheer Hendrick Steengracht van Oosterland, The Hague (until d. 1875); Jonkheer Hendrick Adolf Steengracht van Duivenvoorde, The Hague (until d. 1912; his estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, June 9, 1913, no. 9, for Fr 450,000 to Kleinberger); [Kleinberger, Paris and New York, 1913–19]; Michael Friedsam, New York (1919–d. 1931)
New York. Lotos Club. "Loan Exhibition of XVIIth Century Paintings," February 1919, no. 1 (lent by Michael Friedsam).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fiftieth Anniversary Exhibition," May 8–August 1920, unnumbered cat. (p. 8, lent by Michael Friedsam).

London. Burlington House. "Flemish & Belgian Art: 1300–1900," 1927, no. 291 (lent by Col. Michael Friedsam).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Michael Friedsam Collection," November 15, 1932–April 9, 1933, no catalogue.

Art Institute of Chicago. "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1933, no. 57.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Fifty Centuries," November 15, 1970–February 15, 1971, no. 278.

Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. "David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern," November 5, 2005–February 19, 2006, no. 18.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cézanne's Card Players," February 9–May 8, 2011, not in catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Frans Hals in the Metropolitan Museum," July 26–October 10, 2011, no catalogue.

Jacob Campo Weyerman. De Levens-beschryvingen der Nederlandsche Konst-schilders en Konstschilderessen . . . Vol. 2, The Hague, 1729, p. 69, identifies the sitters as Jan Davidsz. de Heem, Jan Cossiers, and Brouwer himself.

W. Burger [Théophile Thoré]. Trésors d'art exposés à Manchester en 1857. Paris, 1857, pp. 262–63.

W. Burger [Théophile Thoré]. "Sur Brouwer." L'Artiste, n.s., 6 (January 23, 1859), pp. 58–59.

Louis Henri de Loménie, comte de Brienne. Le Catalogue de Brienne (1662) annoté par Edmond Bonnaffé. Ed. Edmond Bonnaffé. Paris, 1873, pp. 25, 37, no. 29, as "Brauwer—Son portrait entouré de ses amis".

Paul Mantz. "Adrien Brauwer." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 21 (1880), pp. 30–31.

"Art in the Netherlands: The Gallery of M. Le Baron Steengracht D'Oosterland." Magazine of Art 3 (1880), p. 155, notes that the principal figure is probably Brouwer, and rejects an identification of the figure at far right as Frans Hals.

Wilhelm von Bode. "Brouwer's Lehrer und künstlerische Herkunft: Sein Aufenhalt in Holland." Die Graphischen Künste 6 (1884), pp. 56–57, cautiously identifies his self-portrait.

Charles Ephrussi. "À propos d'Adriaen Brouwer." Gazette des beaux-arts, 2nd ser., 31 (1885), pp. 173–74, as a late work.

Georges Lafenestre and Eugène Richtenberger. La Peinture en Europe: La Hollande. Paris, [1898], p. 153, ill. opp. p. 152, identify Brouwer, Hals to the right, Adriaen van Ostade beside him, and Ary de Vois in the center, and consider "The Smoker" in the Louvre a study for the picture.

Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 1, Vienna, 1906, p. 197, notes a signature and a date of 1630 or 1631.

F. Schmidt-Degener. Adriaen Brouwer et son évolution artistique. Brussels, 1908, pp. 22–23, identifies Brouwer and Hals, and describes the others as variations of the figure in the foreground.

Cornelis Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 3, London, 1910, pp. 603–604, no. 113, calls the Louvre "Smoker" a sketch.

F. Schmidt-Degener in Allgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Ulrich Thieme. Vol. 5, Leipzig, 1911, pp. 74–75, dates it to Brouwer's Dutch period.

R. E. D. "Art in France." Burlington Magazine 23 (1913), pp. 237–38, records its purchase by Kleinberger.

Émile Dacier. "La Galerie Steengracht." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 33 (1913), pp. 355–56, ill. opp. p. 356, identifies Brouwer, Hals, Van Ostade, and de Vois.

Wilhelm von Bode. Die Meister der holländischen und vlämischen Malerschulen. 2nd ed. Leipzig, 1919, p. 388.

American Art News 17 (February 8, 1919), p. 2, ill. p. 1, repeats the identification of Brouwer, Hals, Van Ostade, and de Vois, adding Philips Wouwermans.

Otto Heinrich Hirschmann. "Die Sammlung A. Preyer im Haag." Der Cicerone 15 (1923), p. 135, notes that "The Smoker" by Teniers in the Preyer collection (now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art?) derives from Brouwer's.

Wilhelm von Bode. Adriaen Brouwer, sein Leben und seine Werke. Berlin, 1924, pp. 172–75, fig. 117, cautiously identifies the self-portrait of Brouwer, and considers the Louvre "Smoker" "a kind of study".

William B. M'Cormick. "Michael Friedsam Collection." International Studio 80 (November 1924), p. 118, ill. p. 117.

Hans Schneider. "Bildnisse Adriaen Brouwers und seiner Freunde." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 60 (1926–27), pp. 270–72, ill., publishes Weyerman's account [see Ref. 1729].

Hans Schneider. "Bildnisse des Adriaen Brouwer." Festschrift für Max J. Friedländer zum 60. Geburtstage. Leipzig, 1927, pp. 149–50, 153–55, fig. 1. (detail), provides an identification based on Weyerman [see Ref. 1729], and considers the Louvre "Smoker" a study.

Royal Cortissoz. "Flemish Art in London." Arts 11 (January 1927), ill. p. 132.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner in The Michael Friedsam Collection. [completed 1928], p. 27.

Hans Kauffmann. "Overzicht der Litteratuur betreffende Nederlandsche Kunst." Oud-Holland 45 (1928), p. 231.

E. J. Reynolds. Some Brouwer Problems. Lausanne, 1931, pp. 51–53, 63–66, 85–86, fig. 26, rejects the Louvre "Smoker" as a study; identifies Lievens, Brouwer, Andries van Ertvelt, an unknown man, and Gerard Seghers; dates the picture not earlier than 1634; and suggests the collaboration of Lievens and Van Craesbeeck.

Bryson Burroughs and Harry B. Wehle. "The Michael Friedsam Collection: Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27, section 2 (November 1932), p. 44, fig. 77.

"Friedsam Bequest to be Exhibited Next November." Art News 30 (January 2, 1932), p. 13, prints Bryson Burroughs's survey of the Friedsam paintings.

C. J. Bulliet. Art Masterpieces in a Century of Progress Fine Arts Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1933, no. 58, ill.

F[riedrich]. Winkler. "Brouwers 'Raucher' im Louvre." Pantheon 17 (1936), p. 163, attributes the Louvre "Smoker" to Van Craesbeeck, after Brouwer.

K. G. Boon. Het Zelfportret in de Nederlandsche en Vlaamsche Schilderkunst. Amsterdam, 1947, p. 55, fig. 33, identifies Brouwer and his friends, including de Heem.

The Brothers Le Nain. Exh. cat., Toledo Museum of Art. [Toledo], [1947], unpaginated, ill.

Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 2, p. 614, no. 1624, ill. (cropped).

W. R. Valentiner. "Teniers and Brouwer." Art Quarterly 12 (1949), pp. 89–91, fig. 2, suggests that the picture may have been owned by Rubens, and dates it about 1635.

Eduard Plietzsch, ed. Die Meister der Holländischen und Flämischen Malerschulen.. By Wilhelm von Bode. rev. ed. [first German ed., 1919]. Leipzig, 1951, pp. 453, 536, places it in Brouwer's Antwerp period.

Erich Höhne. Adriaen Brouwer. Leipzig, [1960], pp. 51–52, pl. 21, accepts Schneider's [see Ref. 1927] identification of Brouwer and de Heem but considers that of Cossiers uncertain, and dates the picture to 1636 or later.

Gerard Knuttel. Adriaen Brouwer: The Master and His Work. The Hague, 1962, pp. 13, 23–26, 44–48, 52, 54, 95–98, 101, 115, 119–20, 123, 134, 156, 182, pl. V, fig. 54, accepts Schneider's identifications [see Ref. 1927], noting that the inclusion of de Heem dates the picture to 1636 or 1637.

F[rancine].-C[laire]. Legrand. Les Peintres flamands de genre au XVIIe siècle. Brussels, 1963, p. 145.

Julius S. Held and Donald Posner. 17th and 18th Century Art: Baroque Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., [1972], p. 218, fig. 227.

Selections from the Bader Collection. Milwaukee, 1974, under no. 7, compares it with a supposed portrait of Brouwer by Van Craesbeeck.

Barbara Rose. "Self-Portraiture: Theme with a Thousand Faces." Art In America 63 (January–February 1975), ill. p. 68.

Matías Díaz Padrón. "I—Escuela flamenca: Siglo XVII." Museo del Prado: Catálogo de Pinturas. Madrid, 1975, vol. 1, p. 394, under no. 1791.

Jane P. Davidson. David Teniers the Younger. Boulder, Colo., 1979, p. 12.

Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, pp. 322, 333, fig. 580 (color).

Walter A. Liedtke. "Gods, Saints & Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt." Connoisseur 206 (April 1981), p. 253.

Robert F. Chirico. "Some Reflections on Sound and Silence in the Visual Arts." Arts Magazine 56 (April 1982), pp. 102–3, ill.

Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 5–10; vol. 2, colorpl. I, pls. 3, 4 (overall and detail), identifies the prominent figure at the left as the painter Jan Cossiers; dates it about 1636 or 1637.

Walter A. Liedtke. "Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum—II: Van Dyck, Jordaens, Brouwer, and Others." Tableau 6 (February 15, 1984), pp. 31, 34, fig. 12 (color).

Konrad Renger. Adriaen Brouwer und das niederländische Bauerngenre, 1600–1660. Exh. cat., Alte Pinakothek. Munich, 1986, pp. 17, 51, fig. 19.

Zirka Zaremba Filipczak. Picturing Art in Antwerp, 1550–1700. Princeton, 1987, pp. 116–17, 226 n. 23, fig. 61.

Guido Jansen in Rubens and His Age. Exh. cat., Museum Boymans-van Beuningen. Rotterdam, 1990, p. 37, under no. 2.

Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 24, 272–75, no. 87, ill. in color (overall and detail).

David Oldfield. Later Flemish Paintings in the National Gallery of Ireland: The Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries. Dublin, 1992, pp. 9–10, fig. 7, discusses it in connection with a copy in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Konrad Renger in Von Bruegel bis Rubens: Das goldene Jahrhundert der flämischen Malerei. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 1992, p. 189, ill.

Peter C. Sutton. The Age of Rubens. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 1993, p. 62, fig. 64 (color).

H. Perry Chapman et al. in Jan Steen: Painter and Storyteller. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 1996, pp. 19, 23 n. 60, fig. 12.

Nanette Salomon. "Vermeer's Women: Shifting Paradigms in Midcareer." The Practice of Cultural Analysis: Exposing Interdisciplinary Interpretation. Ed. Mieke Bal. Stanford, 1999, pp. 51, 352 n. 8 [reprinted in "Shifting Priorities: Gender and Genre in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting," Stanford, 2004, pp. 111, 139 n. 18].

Walter Liedtke et al. Vermeer and the Delft School. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, p. 368, under no. 66; p. 398 n. 11, under no. 76.

Stephanie S. Dickey. "Van Dyck in Holland: The Iconography and its Impact on Rembrandt and Jan Lievens." Van Dyck 1599–1999: Conjectures and Refutations. Ed. Hans Vlieghe. Turnhout, Belgium, 2001, pp. 298, 302–3 nn. 60–62.

Walter Liedtke in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 2001–2002." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 60 (Fall 2002), p. 22.

Margret Klinge in David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Heidelberg, 2005, pp. 122, 126–28, no. 18, ill. (color).

Jessica Mack-Andrick in David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Heidelberg, 2005, p. 344, under no. 123.

Jessica Mack-Andrick and Astrid Reuter in David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Heidelberg, 2005, p. 360.

Walter Liedtke. "Toward a New Edition of Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum of Art." Munuscula Amicorum: Contributions on Rubens and His Colleagues in Honour of Hans Vlieghe. Ed. Katlijne van der Stighelen. Vol. 2, Turnhout, Belgium, 2006, pp. 673, 677 n. 22.

Walter Liedtke. Vermeer: The Complete Paintings. Antwerp, 2008, p. 64.

Annette de Vries and Quentin Buvelot. Passie voor schilderijen: de verzameling Steengracht van Duivenwoorde. Voorschoten, The Netherlands, 2012, pp. 25, 86, no. 11, fig. 16 (color), ill. p. 87 (color).

Dennis P. Weller. Small Treasures: Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Their Contemporaries. Exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art. Raleigh, 2014, p. 65, fig. 1 (color), under no. 7.

Bert Watteeuw in Stijn Alsteens and Adam Eaker. Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2016, pp. 145–46 n. 4, fig. 87 (color).

C. D. Dickerson III in The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. San Francisco, 2016, pp. 27–28, fig. 20 (color).

Engraved by W. Steeling; lithographed by F. H. Weissenbruch [both published in Horst Scholz, Brouwer Invenit: druckgraphische Reproduktionen des 17.–19. Jahrhunderts nach Gemälden und Zeichnungen Adriaen Brouwers, Marburg, 1985, pp. 229, 234, figs. 209, 217].

This painting commemorates the friendship of Brouwer and the Dutch still-life painter Jan Davidsz. de Heem by including both their portraits: Brouwer's is in the left foreground and de Heem's to the right. The prominent figure at the far left may be the Antwerp painter Jan Cossiers. This picture inspired Teniers, who frequently painted Brouwer-like smoking scenes, to represent himself in Brouwer's place, pose, and setting at least twice (see Díaz Padrón 1975, pls. 261–63). A modest copy of Brouwer's entire composition, but with liberties taken, as in the versions by Teniers, probably was produced in the latter's studio (National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin). The Smoker (Louvre, Paris), most likely by Brouwer's pupil Joos van Craesbeeck, must be another response to, rather than a study for, Brouwer's self-portrait in the Museum's picture.