SOLD BY THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM TO BENEFIT FUTURE PAINTING ACQUISITIONS
B.B. Fredericksen, 'Recent Gifts of Paintings', in The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. 3, 1976, pp. 119 and 121, reproduced p. 118, fig. 15 (as possibly Blind Tobit and Anna);
P.C. Sutton, A Guide to Dutch Art in America, Washington 1986, p. 138;
D. Jaffé, Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles 1997, p. 6, reproduced.
This is one of Bartsius' earliest works, painted in 1631 when he was only nineteen or twenty years old, and was not yet a member of the Guild in Alkmaar, which he joined in 1634.
The subject of this painting has been much debated and is still not fully resolved. It was long considered to be The Expulsion of Hagar, while Blind Tobit and Anna has been more recently suggested; neither, however, are satisfactory. The present subject Abraham Pleading with Sarah on Behalf of Hagar is only inferred in the Bible (Gen. 21: v. 9-11): an aged Abraham is depicted pleading with Sarah who has told him to "cast out this bondwoman (Hagar) and her son".
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