Loading Spinner

Genre Paintings

A genre scene depicts everyday life. Through the 19th century, genre scenes held the third level of prestige for painters, after history scenes and portraits. Genre scenes have a strong domestic appeal and have persisted throughout art history.

Johannes Vermeer painted some of the most famous genre scenes. His "Woman Holding a Balance," c. 1664, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. is a perfect example. Art lovers celebrate Vermeer for his masterful application of lighting and perspective.

Genre painting went away as painters focused on abstraction in the 1900s, but contemporary artists are newly adopting genre painting. For example, American artist Jonathan Gardner paints neo-cubist genre scenes of women at leisure, often smoking cigarettes. Glenn Ness paints genre scenes that recall David Hockney and Edward Hopper, with a minimalist edge. French artist Marc Desgrandchamps paints beach scenes and urban scenes in which the figures fade in and out of existence.


Quick Facts

  • Museums deaccess major works of art, and museum ethics dictate the museums utilize funds earned from the sale to benefit their collecting
  • The LA Country Museum of Art deaccessioned Pieter de Hooch, "A Woman Handing a Coin to a Serving Woman with a Child," circa 1668-72, selling the painting through Sotheby’s New York in 2009. Pieter de Hooch was a contemporary of Vermeer, and the painting sold for $1.65 million
  • Pieter Breughel the Younger, a Dutch painter, was also a master of the genre scene. The Metropolitan Museum of Art deaccessioned The Whitsun Bride, undated, selling it through Christie’s New York in 2012, for $686,500

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

Prof. Mladen Veža, Bäuerliches Festgelage
May 25, 10:00 AM CEST
Prof. Mladen Veža, Bäuerliches Festgelage
by Auktionshaus Mehlis GmbH
Est: €0- €0
€3,60019 Bids
Samuel Jafnel (NY,1887-1964) oil painting
Jun 16, 11:45 AM EDT
Samuel Jafnel (NY,1887-1964) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $500- $650
$18013 Bids
KAREL BREYDEL DIT "LE CHEVALIER" (1678-1733) CHOC DE CAVALERIE
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
KAREL BREYDEL DIT "LE CHEVALIER" (1678-1733) CHOC DE CAVALERIE
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €1,800- €3,600
€32012 Bids
Ferdinand Waldmuller (Austria,1793-1865) oil painting antique
Jun 30, 11:45 AM EDT
Ferdinand Waldmuller (Austria,1793-1865) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $142,000- $180,000
$1,00011 Bids
Joseph Clark (UK,1834-1926) oil painting antique
Jun 16, 11:45 AM EDT
Joseph Clark (UK,1834-1926) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $2,400- $3,000
$1008 Bids
Wilfrid Beauquesne (French,1847-1913) oil painting antique
Jun 30, 11:45 AM EDT
Wilfrid Beauquesne (French,1847-1913) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,900- $2,500
$3608 Bids
Paul Emile Perboyre (French,1851-1929) oil painting antique
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Paul Emile Perboyre (French,1851-1929) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,050- $1,350
$1308 Bids
Connie Johnston Cannon N.C. Artist Oil Painting
Jun 01, 10:00 AM EDT
Connie Johnston Cannon N.C. Artist Oil Painting
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1807 Bids
Andries Scheerboom (UK,Dutch,1832-1880) oil painting antique
Jun 16, 11:45 AM EDT
Andries Scheerboom (UK,Dutch,1832-1880) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,500- $1,900
$1106 Bids
ATTR Arthur Ernst Becher (NY,WI,German,1877-1960) oil painting
Jun 16, 11:45 AM EDT
ATTR Arthur Ernst Becher (NY,WI,German,1877-1960) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $650- $800
$1306 Bids
bp parity badge
LYLE TAYSON "BASKET WEAVER" OIL ON CANVAS
Jun 09, 9:00 AM MST
LYLE TAYSON "BASKET WEAVER" OIL ON CANVAS
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$706 Bids
Cleto Luzzi (Italy,1884-1952) oil painting
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Cleto Luzzi (Italy,1884-1952) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $6,250- $8,000
$505 Bids
Len Thurston (UK,1932-2011) oil painting
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Len Thurston (UK,1932-2011) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $425- $550
$805 Bids
Antique 19C European oil painting signed
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Antique 19C European oil painting signed
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,600- $2,000
$1205 Bids
Nahapetian, Yervand | 1916 Dschulfa, Stadtteil von Isfahan, Iran - 2006 Ebenda
Jun 01, 10:00 AM CEST
Nahapetian, Yervand | 1916 Dschulfa, Stadtteil von Isfahan, Iran - 2006 Ebenda
by GAILER Kunstauktionshaus am Chiemsee
Est: €0- €0
€3605 Bids
ATTRIB Jean Francois de Troy (France,Italy,1679-1752) oil painting antique
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
ATTRIB Jean Francois de Troy (France,Italy,1679-1752) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $42,000- $54,000
$605 Bids
Wouterus Verschuur II (Dutch,1841-1936) oil painting antique
Jun 16, 11:45 AM EDT
Wouterus Verschuur II (Dutch,1841-1936) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $1,600- $2,000
$2605 Bids
Michael Atkinson (TX,b 1946) watercolor painting
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Michael Atkinson (TX,b 1946) watercolor painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $475- $625
$104 Bids
Henri Carpentero (Belgian,1820-1874) oil painting antique
Jun 02, 11:45 AM EDT
Henri Carpentero (Belgian,1820-1874) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $750- $950
$504 Bids
Nicola Simbari, (Italian, 1927-2012) Painting
May 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Nicola Simbari, (Italian, 1927-2012) Painting
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $2,000- $6,000
$1754 Bids
Andrea Alvin Popart Sundae Oil On Canvas
May 25, 10:00 AM MST
Andrea Alvin Popart Sundae Oil On Canvas
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$554 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Genre Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Millon & Associes

Millon & Associes

Venduehuis der Notarissen

Venduehuis der Notarissen

Bernaerts Auctioneers

Bernaerts Auctioneers