With Bernheimer, Paris;
Henry Bernstein (1876–1953), Paris;
Thence by descent to his daughter, Georges Bernstein Gruber (b. 1916), Paris;
With Dr O. Wertheimer, Paris, 1957;
With Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Amsterdam, 1957;
Henrik Nordmark (1895–1975), Djursholm, Sweden, 1957 (his collector's wax seal on the reverse; fig. 2);
With Kunsthandel P. de Boer, Amsterdam, January 1976, from whom acquired by Baron van Dedem.
Atlanta, High Museum of Art, Masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, 24 September – 10 November 1985, no. 9;
Washington, National Gallery of Art and Detroit, The Detroit Institute of Art, Gerard ter Borch, 7 November 2004 – 30 January 2005 and 27 February – 22 May 2005, no. 22.
F.J. Duparc, Masterpieces of the Dutch Golden Age, exh. cat., Atlanta 1985, p. 33, cat. no. 4, reproduced in colour p. 32;
P.C. Sutton, Dutch & Flemish Paintings. The Collection of Willem Baron von Dedem, London 2002, pp. 38–41, cat. no. 5, reproduced in colour p. 39;
A.K. Wheelock in Gerard ter Borch, A.K. Wheelock (ed.), exh. cat., Washington 2004, pp. 100 and 202, cat. no. 22, reproduced in colour p. 101.
Ter Borch’s earlier portraits, executed on his return to Holland in around 1640, are largely painted in a restrained palette, depicting the sitter in black, set against a neutral background, and were probably influenced by local Haarlem and Amsterdam painters, such as Hendrick Pot or Cornelius Verspronck, and possibly even the example of Velázquez, whose portraits (on a very different scale) he may have seen during his travels in Europe. While the present work perpetuates this tonality, the pose here is undoubtedly inspired by Frans Hals who, at the beginning of the 1650s when Ter Borch was also in Haarlem, made several portraits of men in a similar stance, such as the Portrait of a Man, today in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.1 A portrait by Govaert Flinck, dated 1641, and most likely painted in Amsterdam, also employs this pose.2
The present portrait is most comparable to Ter Borch’s Portrait of Jan van Goyen, also datable to circa 1652–53, which is on a slightly smaller scale, but similarly depicts the subject in a pyramidal composition (fig. 1).3 The slightly broader execution of these paintings is much the same, and is likewise found in Ter Borch’s Portrait of the Tax Collector Willem Everwijn, dated 1653.4
The identity of the sitter here, who engages the viewer with a direct, dignified stare, is unknown. Considering Ter Borch’s connections with wealthy Amsterdam patrons though, it is highly likely that the gentleman hailed from there, and his clothing and appearance certainly give the impression of a man from the upper echelons of society. There is no evidence, however, to suggest that this portrait was ever paired with a pendant.
1 Inv. no. 91.26.9; see W. Liedtke, Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York 2007, vol. I, pp. ix and 292–95, cat. no. 67, reproduced in colour, plate 67.
2 Sold Amsterdam, Sotheby’s, 8 May 2007, lot 67.
3 See Wheelock 2004, pp. 97–99, cat. no. 21, reproduced in colour p. 98.
4 Huis Zypendaal, Arnhem; see Gudlaugsson 1959–60, vol. II, p. 113, cat. no. 103; reproduced vol. I, p. 262, fig. 103.
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