That said, smoking was once a common activity, shared and enjoyed by a large part of the population (though some paid dearly for having done so). Some have viewed smoking as a kind of consumption, analog to eating. In several recent museum experiences, especially last summer in Amsterdam and in the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia a few days ago, I was fascinated by the large number of paintings that portray smokers enjoying pipes or cigarettes. Here are a few of them.
First, during the Dutch Golden Age many painters of homey scenes included smokers. Around 150 years after America -- source of tobacco -- began supplying novel products for the European market, smoking seems to have been very well-established:
|Gerrit Dou: Self-Portrait, c. 1640.
|Man Smoking a Pipe: Gerard Dou, c. 1650.
|Adriaen Van Ostade: The Smoker, c. 1647.
|Adriaen Van Ostade: Smoker at a Window,
c. 1667. Detroit Institute of Arts
|Dirck Hals: Gentlemen Smoking and Playing Backgammon, c. 1687
An early Picasso in the Barnes collection surprised me with the cigarette in her hand:
|Picasso: Woman with Cigarette, 1903
Finally, also at the Barnes, this wonderful picture -- I believe the man in the lower left is smoking as he waits for his child to finish his music lesson. I couldn't stop looking at this painting.
|Henri Matisse, The Music Lesson