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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

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D'ARCY DOYLE, 1932 - 2001, Street Cricket, oil on canvas on board, 20 x 40 cm (frame: 44 x 65 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
D'ARCY DOYLE, 1932 - 2001, Street Cricket, oil on canvas on board, 20 x 40 cm (frame: 44 x 65 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD6,000- AUD8,000
AUD4,75025 Bids
HERMAN PEKEL, 1956 -, Country Races, oil on canvas, 76 x 122 cm
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
HERMAN PEKEL, 1956 -, Country Races, oil on canvas, 76 x 122 cm
by Lawsons
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD2,20023 Bids
PRO HART, 1928- 2006, The Battle, oil on board, 32 x 44 cm (frame: 53 x 65 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
PRO HART, 1928- 2006, The Battle, oil on board, 32 x 44 cm (frame: 53 x 65 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD8,000- AUD12,000
AUD3,25022 Bids
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Your Turn for the Fridge, 2023, oil on board, 48 x 66 cm (frame: 63 x 81 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Your Turn for the Fridge, 2023, oil on board, 48 x 66 cm (frame: 63 x 81 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD2,500- AUD3,500
AUD1,00021 Bids
PRO HART, 1928- 2006, Kids Playing, 1993, oil on board, 20 x 15 cm (frame: 33 x 28 x 4 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
PRO HART, 1928- 2006, Kids Playing, 1993, oil on board, 20 x 15 cm (frame: 33 x 28 x 4 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD1,80018 Bids
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Your Sprung Mate, oil on board, 45 x 56 cm (frame: 63 x 74 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Your Sprung Mate, oil on board, 45 x 56 cm (frame: 63 x 74 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD3,000- AUD5,000
AUD1,00018 Bids
Charles T. Phelan Oil On Canvas Sheep & Shepherd
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Charles T. Phelan Oil On Canvas Sheep & Shepherd
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$21017 Bids
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Farm Kids, 2023, oil on board, 52.5 x 64 cm (frame: 73 x 84 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
JOHN COBBY, 1957 -, Farm Kids, 2023, oil on board, 52.5 x 64 cm (frame: 73 x 84 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD3,000- AUD5,000
AUD2,80017 Bids
HUGH SAWREY, 1919 - 1999, Mustering on Springvale, oil on canvas, 36 x 56 cm (frame: 57 x 76 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
HUGH SAWREY, 1919 - 1999, Mustering on Springvale, oil on canvas, 36 x 56 cm (frame: 57 x 76 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD4,000- AUD6,000
AUD2,00016 Bids
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Reconciliation III, 2002, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm (frame: 171 x 141 x 5 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Reconciliation III, 2002, oil on canvas, 152 x 122 cm (frame: 171 x 141 x 5 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD30,000- AUD40,000
AUD25,00015 Bids
Thomas Faed (UK,Scottish,1826-1900) oil painting antique
Mar 10, 11:45 AM EST
Thomas Faed (UK,Scottish,1826-1900) oil painting antique
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $5,250- $6,750
$80013 Bids
Samuel Edmund Oppenheim (1901-1992)
Feb 21, 12:00 PM EST
Samuel Edmund Oppenheim (1901-1992)
by Caza Sikes
Est: $400- $600
$1,30013 Bids
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Europa playing with Cockatoos, oil on board, 25 x 27 cm (frame: 42 x 44 x 4 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Europa playing with Cockatoos, oil on board, 25 x 27 cm (frame: 42 x 44 x 4 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD10,000- AUD15,000
AUD6,00013 Bids
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Gathering Wild Cherries, oil on board, 50 x 60 cm (frame: 74 x 85 x 4 cm)
Feb 21, 8:00 PM AEDT
DAVID BOYD, 1924 -2011, Gathering Wild Cherries, oil on board, 50 x 60 cm (frame: 74 x 85 x 4 cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD25,000- AUD30,000
AUD10,50013 Bids
F. Meinert Oil On Canvas Beach Combing
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
F. Meinert Oil On Canvas Beach Combing
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$25012 Bids
Robert Waltsak (NJ,b 1944) oil painting
Mar 10, 11:45 AM EST
Robert Waltsak (NJ,b 1944) oil painting
by Broward Auction Gallery LLC
Est: $950- $1,250
$15011 Bids
Bernard Pothast Oil On Canvas Of Mother & Child
Feb 22, 10:00 AM EST
Bernard Pothast Oil On Canvas Of Mother & Child
by Berner's Auction Gallery
Est: $10- $1,000
$20011 Bids
Tom Sadler (American, b. 1917) Afternoon on the Avenue, 1917 (after Childe Hassam)
Feb 21, 10:00 AM EST
Tom Sadler (American, b. 1917) Afternoon on the Avenue, 1917 (after Childe Hassam)
by Hindman
Est: $600- $800
$95011 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Genre Paintings


Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Broward Auction Gallery LLC

Roseberys

Roseberys

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Veilinghuis Van Spengen

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales