As mentioned in the 1994 catalogue entry (see Provenance) the verso of this drawing, like many others by De Wit, bears an inscription noting for which commission it was made. The patron, mentioned in this inscription, appears to have been the wealthy art collector Bernardus Hagelis (1680-1761), whose extensive art collection was sold in Amsterdam in the year after his death.1 Robert-Jan te Rijdt has kindly informed us that Hagelis is recorded as having bought his house at Keizersgracht 223 in Amsterdam in December 1731, and the present drawing must surely therefore be the design for a painting, commissioned by Hagelis from De Wit to decorate his new house.
A comparable red chalk drawing by de Wit, similarly depicting Putti decorating a Herm with Garlands,2 is today in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, however in spite of the highly comparable subject matter, Guus van den Hout dates this drawing to significantly earlier in de Wit’s career, circa 1715.
1. See Hagelis sale, Amsterdam, 8 March 1762
2. New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, inv. no. 1971.513.36
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