The innkeeper, standing in front of his tavern next to empty wine barrels, seems like a typical stock figure from Teniers’ genre scenes. But contradicting his everyday appearance is the grapevine wreath around his head that recalls the Roman god Bacchus.
The painting probably represents an allegory of autumn as the composition is based on several series of the Four Seasons that Teniers painted on copper. It is similar to the Autumn from the series in the National Gallery, London and much closer to one sold at Christies’ in Amsterdam (20. November 2012, Lot 26).The golden landscape in the background with a peasant bringing in the harvest supports the identification with this season.
Noel Desenfans, one of the Gallery’s founders, once owned a series of Teniers’ Four Seasons on copper that was sold in 1802 and possibly identically with the series sold at Christie’s in 2012. Interestingly Desenfans bought this painting as by Teniers under the title The Jolly Landlord and the whereabouts of the other three seasons is not known. Once thought to have been painted by Teniers’ father, the picture was subsequently attributed to the studio of Teniers in the 1990s.