A masterpiece of genre scene

Antwerp, 1610 – Brussels, 1690
The smoking den ("Man with white hat")
About 1644-1645
Hist.: Bequest of Antoine Valedau, 1836, Inv 836.4.66

The Smoking den or Man with white hat dates from the artist's best period, free of the influence of the populist, vivid and sardonic genre paintings of Adriaen Brouwer.
The peasants, busy with their favourite pastime, smoking and drinking, seem relaxed, even lost in their reverie, like the old man in blue. The monumentality of the figures and the precise and economic draughtsmanship contribute to this impression of a sensible and balanced approach to pleasure.

The grey and brown monochrome is lightened with a few touches of colour – blue, white and red: this painting was well-known in the 18th century, with the title "Man with white hat".
During the years 1640-1650, Teniers painted numerous scenes set in smoking dens, with an infinite variation of colours and compositions, as in the Card players in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Strasbourg and the Louvre.