PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE COLLECTION
Possibly anonymous sale (according to De Gelder), London, 20 November 1869, lot 41, for £11 to Hollender;
His sale, Brussels, 10 April 1888, lot 41 (as by Bartholomeus van der Helst);
Mrs. H. Behrens, Spa, by 1962;
Anonymous sale, Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Artes, 13 May 1969, lot 87 (as by Jurgen Ovens and of the Van der Burgh family), for 170.000 francs;
Anonymous sale, New York, Christie's, 15 January 1986, lot 117 (as by Jurgen Ovens);
With Alan Jacobs Gallery, London, 1986;
Private collection, Zurich.
J.J. de Gelder, Bartholomeus van der Helst. Een studie van zijn werk, zijn levensgeschiedenis, een beschrijvende catalogus van zijn oeuvre.., Rotterdam 1921, p. 247, cat. no. 932, and possibly cat. no. 924.
Although best known for his allegorical and mythological scenes and portraits of reclining nudes, with this grand family portrait Jacob van Loo reveals himself as a master of a new genre. He was born in Sluis in Flanders and received his first training from his father Johannes van Loo (c.1585-?). In 1635 he is recorded being involved with a delivery of paintings to the Amsterdam art dealer Marten Cretzer. In 1642 he married Anna Lengele, who was the sister of the The Hague portraitist Martinus Lengele (?-1668). His career was already flourishing and in 1649, through intermediation of Constantijn Huygens, he was considered worthy of recommendation for the decorations of the Oranjezaal at Huis ten Bosch. Although he was not selected, he received several important commissions during the 1650s, including an allegorical painting for the Oudezijds Huiszittenhuis in Amsterdam and two group portraits of the directors of the Alms, Poor and Workhouse in Haarlem.1 On the 24th of January 1652 Jacob became a citizen of Amsterdam, and soon a well-known and beloved artist, as a poem by Jan Vos from 1654 clearly states.2
In the autumn of 1660 Van Loo became involved with a murder and had to depart Amsterdam with his family for Paris, where he founded a lengthy dynasty of French painters. As his brother-in-law Lengele lived there, this seemed a logical place to go. In 1663 he entered the Académie Royale de Peinture and died seven years later on the 26th of November.
All members of this family are dressed in elegant rich clothes of different coloured silks and satins with gold embroidered elements. The young man is dressed in his hunting outfit, clearly showing his catch of game, with his gun present. The young child to the left is in fact a boy, as indicated by a red diagonal ribbon and his hair dress. The infant on the mother's lap wears flowers on her hat, indicating she is a girl. Several parts of the composition relate to other works by Van Loo, such as the two dogs which relate to a work now in the Statens Museum in Copenhagen, and the pose of the young man which recalls the pose of a young man in a work at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection in Madrid.3
This painting was just recently identified as by Jacob van Loo by Fred G. Meijer, and will be published by Prof. Dr. Rudi Ekkart of the R.K.D., The Hague, in a forthcoming article on the artist. We are also grateful to Dr. Marieke de Winkel, who dates this picture after 1650 on grounds of the costumes, for her help in cataloguing this painting.
1. Now in the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, inv.no. OS I-245 and OS I-246.
2. In 'Strydt tuschen de doodt en natuur of Zeege der schilderkunst', J. Vos, Amsterdam, 1654.
3. The first: Diana and her nymphs, 1654, oil on canvas. 99,5 by 135,5 cm., inv. no. KMS1876; the second: Musical party on a terrace, c. 1650, oil on canvas, 73 by 65.5 cm., inv. no. cat. no.168.
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