Merry Company, Dirck Hals
Dirck Hals
Merry Company
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Dirck Hals

Merry Company, ca. 1620

49 x 73 x min. 0.5 cm
maximum depth
0.8 cm
Physical Description
Oil on oak
Inventory Number
Acquired in 1918 as a bequest from Fritz Berg
Not on display


About the Work

The young people in this painting emphasise their fashion-consciousness with colourful fabrics and large lace collars. The table in the garden is sumptuously laid, the wine already flowing in abundance. The oysters – known for their aphrodisiacal qualities – have also taken effect. Yet two of the men seem somewhat out of place. The bearded fat fellow in black is the ‘Peeckelharing’, a personification of drunkenness, and the standing man with the old-fashioned red hat is ‘Hansworst’. They are two well-known jester types whose presence mocks the carefree wastefulness of the ‘merry company’.

About the Acquisition

Fritz Berg (1864-1918) was the son of the lawyer, notary and mayor of Frankfurt Karl Nikolaus Berg (1826-1887). Fritz Berg died in 1918 "in the field in the battle for the fatherland" - as we can read in the obituary signed by his brother Dr. Alexander Berg (1868-1960) in the 'Frankfurter Zeitung' of 15 October 1918. Alexander Berg was probably also the initiator of this art bequest. From 1904 he was a member of the Städel administration. According to later reports by Alexander Berg, the Berg family possessed an extensive collection of paintings and graphic works. In addition to this painting, the donation to the Städel Museum also included a Flemish Madonna painting dated about 1520.


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