David Teniers the Younger
1610 Antwerp - 1690 Brussels
THE PANCAKE BAKER (PANNEKOEKENBAKSTER)
Oil on copper. 30,8 x 23,3 cm.
Liste der Arbeiten
Coll. Fürst Joachim Murat. - Sale, Paris 5.5.1961, lot 118. - Coll. Adolphe Stein, Paris. - Herbert Girardet, Kettwig, until 1980. - Private collection, Germany.
"Le siècle de Rubens". Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, Brüssel 1965, Nr. 275 (verso transport label). - "Sammlung Herbert Girardet. Holländische und Flämische Meister", Wallraf-Richartz-Museum/Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Köln/Rotterdam 1970, no. 55. - "Adriaen Brouwer - David Teniers the Younger", Noortman & Brod, New York/Maastricht, 1982, no. 12. - "David Teniers de Jonge. Schilderijen/Tekeningen", Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerpen, 1991, no. 2 (verso label of the exhibition).
David Teniers shows the pancake baker in an interior at a fireplace, holding a pan in her hand. She looks towards a man standing behind her, another man crouches beside the fireplace. A plate with pancakes and a jug with ingredients can be seen in the foreground as a small still life.
The pancake maker appears in Dutch theatre plays of the 17th century as a comic figure, Adriaen Brouwer introduces him in genre paintings, in a male as well as in a female version, as a bawdy peasant or as an old woman. The pancake was a simple, cheap meal and thus popular among peasants, and it was accordingly associated with the rustic low classes. Rembrandt was supposed to have owned a pannekoekenbakster by Adriaen Brouwer, his interpretation of the theme can be seen in his famous etching from 1635.
Margret Klinge dates this painting to the early 1630s and thus in the first Antwerp years of Teniers when he was still under the influence of Adriaen Brouwer. One can assume that Teniers also knew Brouwer´s depictions of pancake makers and his influence can be seen in the figure types and the monochrome palette of this painting. As Klinge has pointed out (Antwerp 1991, no. 2), Teniers´s depiction is different to those of the other painters as the pancake maker is represented as a young woman with a neat hair style and wearing a nice blue jacket. Turning to the young man behind her, she seems to be distracted from her work, whereby she holds the pan firmly in her hand. For Klinge the depiction has a moral message and associates an old German proverb with it: "Halt die Pfanne bei dem Stil, halt den Pflug bei dem Sterz", which can be translated as "Hold firm the pan at its handle, the plough at its tail," a call for moral firmness.
This painting was acknowledged as an original work by David Teniers the Younger by Margret Klinge.