From whom acquired by the father of the present owners.
A. Scarpa Sonino, Cabinet D'Amateur, Milan 1992, p. 37;
M. Diaz-Pedròn and M. Royo-Villanova, David Teniers, Jan Brueghel y los gabinetes de pinturas, Madrid 1992, p. 199;
S. Speth-Holterhoff, Les peintres flamands de cabinets d'amateurs aux XVIIe siècle, 1957, p. 69.
The attribution to Stalbemt for this group of cabinet interiors seems difficult to sustain, for no comparable works by his hand seem to have survived, and his figure style is quite different. Ursula Härting has more plausibly suggested an attribution for this group to Hieronymous Francken II, the elder brother of Frans Francken the Younger. This attribution is based upon Francken's Interior of the Gallery of Jan Snellinck, now in the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, which is inscribed and dated 1621.4 As the Archduke Albert himself died that same year, the Baltimore picture may precede that date, unless the figures were added for commemorative purposes shortly thereafter. The two tall elegant figures that are shown discussing a painting in the foreground of the present work recur in two other closely related cabinet interiors in this group, which Härting also attributed to Hieronymous, respectively in Brussels and Helsinki, Sinebrychoff Museum.5 As the former displays Rubens' Bacchanal of 1623 in the foreground, she accordingly suggests a possible dating for the group around 1621–24. The staffage in all of these interiors is most probably the work of as yet unidentified figure painters.
1. Inv. no. 1.405, panel, 93 by 114 cm. See Díaz Pedron, Literature,1975, vol. II, reproduced plate 251. The Prado also possesses a reduced replica of the lower right hand corner of the composition (inv. 1437).
2. Panel, 91 by 122 cm. See Diaz-Pedròn and Royo-Villanova under Literature, 1992, p. 199. The size of the latter is not known. According to Diaz-Pedròn it was exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1951.
3. Inv. no. 37.2010, panel, 94 by 123.3 cm. See, for example, K. Ertz and C. Nitze-Ertz, Jan Brueghel der Ältere, Lingen 2008–10, Vol. III, p. 1371, cat. no. 602, reproduced.
4. U. Härting, Frans Francken der Jüngere (1581–1642), Freren 1989, p. 177–78, reproduced fig. 154.
5. Härting, op. cit., 1989, reproduced figs 155 and 156.
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