André Devèche, Neuilly sur Seine, by 1975;
Thence by descent to the present owner.
Although unsigned, this portrait of Wembrich van Berchem can be attributed with confidence to Thomas de Keyser on the basis of an existing pendant, the portrait of his wife Anna Hunthum (1595-1639), which is fully monogrammed, dated 1637 and of the exact same size as the present work. It currently hangs in the Stedelijk Museum het Catharinagasthuis, Gouda, where it is on loan from the Instituut Collectie Nederland, The Hague (inv. no. NK 2083 ).1
The present portrait was formerly attributed to Pieter Claesz. Soutman by the staff at the R.K.D. in The Hague. Notes kept there do however record F.G.L.O. van Kretschmer's suggestion that it is the pendant to the portrait in Gouda, a view confirmed by Dr. R.E.O. Ekkart, who in a letter of 1989 also confirmed De Keyser's authorship.
Van Berchem married Anna Hunthum in 1623. They had three children, a son, Jan and two daughters, Wendel and Catharijn. He was appointed to the office of rear-admiral of Holland and West-Friesland in 1627. In 1637, the year of this portrait, as recorded by Adams in 1975 (see Literature), Van Berchem became ill, forcing him to return early from one of his naval expeditions. His ill health caused him to give up his high position of rear-admiral a few years later.
Ann Jensen Adams notes that the two pictures do not form a pair in the strict sense that they were conceived as a singly visual unit, and indeed, they can hardly be marriage portraits, since the couple had been married for fourteen years. It is perhaps more likely that each one sat to De Keyser in the same year. The present portrait may have been occasioned by Van Berchem's illness, and painted during this period of enforced inactivity.
Bears an old label identifying the sitter and a similar painted coat-of-arms on the reverse.
We are grateful to Professor Dr. R.E.O. Ekkart for recently endorsing the attribution of this painting on the basis of a photograph.
1. See Literature, pp. 129-130, no. 73.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale