Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Dutch, Zwolle 1617–1681 Deventer)
Oil on wood
18 3/4 x 13 5/8 in. (47.6 x 34.6 cm)
Gift of J. Pierpont Morgan, 1917
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 632
This small panel is the earliest known picture by Ter Borch to set full-length figures in a domestic interior. His sister Gesina served as a model for the young lady of the house, whose self-absorption contrasts with the alertness of the maid.
This panel of about 1650–51 introduces the most admired qualities of Ter Borch's mature style (as found, for example, in Curiosity of about 1660–62, MMA 49.7.38), namely his extraordinary ability to describe surface textures. The painting is the earliest known example by the artist that presents full-length figures in a well-appointed domestic interior, anticipating many compositions by him and by artists such as Frans van Mieris, Gabriël Metsu, and Johannes Vermeer in which the same or a similar theme is addressed.
Ter Borch's half sister Gesina (1631–1690) was the model for the central figure. She appears in other works by the artist, including Curiosity.
[2010; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Blondel de Gagny, Paris (until 1776; his sale, Paris, December 10–24, 1776, no. 73, together with a painting by Dominicus van Tol for Fr 3,000); [Le Brun, Paris (until 1778; his sale, Paris, January 19, 1778, for Fr 1,900)]; the architect Villers (until 1812; his sale, Le Brun, Paris, March 30, 1812, no. 44, for Fr 2,400 to Bernardeau); Monsieur L. Lapeyrière (by 1817–25; his sale, Paris, April 14ff., 1817, no. 60, for Fr 2,490 to Vas [bought in?]; his sale, Paris, April 19ff., 1825, no. 164, for Fr 4,000); Théodore Patureau, Antwerp (until 1857; his sale, Paris, April 20–21, 1857, no. 40, for Fr 7,800 to the auctioneer E. Leroy); vicomte Bernard du Bus de Gisignies, Brussels (until d. 1874; his estate, 1874–82; his estate sale, Brussels, May 9–10, 1882, no. 78, for Bfr 26,000 to Thibaudeau); Léopold Goldschmidt, Paris (in 1898); Rodolphe Kann, Paris (by 1900–d. 1905; his estate, 1905–7; cat., 1907, vol. 1, no. 86; sold to Duveen); [Duveen, Paris and New York, 1907; sold for £12,500 to Morgan]; J. Pierpont Morgan, New York (1907–d. 1913; his estate, 1913–17)
Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado. "Vermeer y el interior holandés," February 19–May 18, 2003, no. 1.
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Gerard ter Borch," November 7, 2004–January 30, 2005, no. 17.
Detroit Institute of Arts. "Gerard ter Borch," February 27–May 22, 2005, no. 17.
Amsterdam. Rijksmuseum. "Schitterend Satijn: Het Beste van Gerard ter Borch," June 10–September 4, 2005, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 18, 2007–January 6, 2008, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Vermeer's Masterpiece 'The Milkmaid'," September 9–November 29, 2009, no. 1.
Cambridge. Fitzwilliam Museum. "Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence," October 5, 2011–January 15, 2012, no. 2.
John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 4, London, 1833, p. 124, no. 19, erroneously includes the Dulac sale of 1778 in the provenance.
Charles Blanc. Le trésor de la curiosité. Vol. 1, Paris, 1857, p. 404, lists sales.
Charles Blanc. Le trésor de la curiosité. Vol. 2, Paris, 1858, pp. 289, 531, lists sales.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. III, pl. 17.
Gustav Glück. "Die Gemäldesammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris." Die Graphischen Künste 23 (1900), p. 91.
Wilhelm [von] Bode. Gemälde-Sammlung des Herrn Rudolf Kann in Paris. Vienna, 1900, p. XI, ill. p. XIII (gallery photograph).
Catalogue of the Rodolphe Kann Collection: Pictures. Paris, 1907, vol. 1, pp. VII, 87, no. 86, ill. between pp. 86 and 87.
Marcel Nicolle. "La Collection Rodolphe Kann." Revue de l'art ancien et moderne 23 (January–June 1908), p. 197.
Franz Hellens. Gérard Terborch. Brussels, 1911, pp. 66–68, 125, ill. opp. p. 72.
C[ornelis]. Hofstede de Groot. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. Ed. Edward G. Hawke. Vol. 5, London, 1913, p. 23, no. 50, gives a full description and repeats Smith's incorrect provenance [see Ref. Smith 1833]; lists a copy sold in Amsterdam in 1822.
Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 353.
Eduard Plietzsch. Gerard ter Borch. Vienna, 1944, p. 51, under no. 73, mentions it in connection with the painting of a similar subject in Dresden.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 2, p. 625, no. 1660, ill. (cropped).
S[turla]. J. Gudlaugsson. Gerard ter Borch. The Hague, 1959–60, vol. 1, p. 240, pl. 80; vol. 2, p. 23 n. 7, pp. 98–99, no. 80, dates it about 1650 or shortly thereafter; observes the repetition of a few motifs in other pictures by Ter Borch; briefly discusses the theme; notes the influence of the main figure in a painting by Jan Steen (Dienst Verspreide Rijkskollekties, The Hague) and considers it possible that the latter's father-in-law, Jan van Goyen, owned the MMA work or sold it on Ter Borch's behalf.
A. Westers. "Een lampetkan van Delfts aardewerk." Bulletin Museum Boymans-van Beuningen 12, no. 3 (1961), pp. 94–95, fig. 13.
Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann. "Terborch's Lady at Her Toilet." Art News 64 (December 1965), p. 39, fig. 6.
Otto Naumann. Frans van Mieris (1635–1681) the Elder. Doornspijk, The Netherlands, 1981, vol. 1, p. 68, fig. 89.
Peter C. Sutton in "Jan Steen: Comedy and Admonition." Philadelphia Museum of Art Bulletin 78 (Winter 1982/Spring 1983), pp. 12, 14 n. 5.
Otto Naumann inMasters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1984, p. 239.
Peter C. Sutton inMasters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1984, p. 151 n. 1.
Peter C. Sutton. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Grand Rapids, Mich., 1986, p. 187, fig. 266.
Alison McNeil Kettering. "Ter Borch's Ladies in Satin." Art History 16 (March 1993), p. 117 n. 14, p. 121 n. 62.
Alison McNeil Kettering inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 4, New York, 1996, p. 382.
Mariët Westermann. The Amusements of Jan Steen: Comic Painting in the Seventeenth Century. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1997, pp. 214, 216, fig. 120, discusses the picture as the kind of composition by Ter Borch from which Jan Steen adopted figures.
Jean Strouse. Morgan: American Financier. New York, 1999, p. 568, states that Morgan acquired it from Duveen in the summer of 1907.
Jean Strouse. "J. Pierpont Morgan, Financier and Collector." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 57 (Winter 2000), p. 31, ill. in color pp. 3 (detail) and 31.
Walter Liedtke. A View of Delft: Vermeer and his Contemporaries. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2000, pp. 104, 237–38, fig. 292, compares it with works by Vermeer and Erasmus Quellinus the Younger.
Walter Liedtke et al. Vermeer and the Delft School. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2001, p. 17, fig. 17.
Wayne E. Franits inThe Cambridge Companion to Vermeer. Ed. Wayne E. Franits. Cambridge, 2001, p. 2, fig. 1.
Alejandro Vergara. Vermeer y el interior holandés. Exh. cat., Museo Nacional del Prado. Madrid, 2003, pp. 96–97, 235, no. 1, ill. (color), notes the influence of Ter Borch's compositions of this type on the work of Mieris and Vermeer.
Peter C. Sutton inLove Letters: Dutch Genre Paintings in the Age of Vermeer. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin. Greenwich, Conn., 2003, p. 164, fig. 1, under no. 31.
Wayne Franits. Dutch Seventeenth-Century Genre Painting: Its Stylistic and Thematic Evolution. New Haven, 2004, pp. 99, 275 n. 7, fig. 88.
Alison McNeil Kettering inGerard ter Borch. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2004, pp. 27, 81, 138, 141.
Arie Wallert. "The Miracle of Gerard ter Borch's Satin." Gerard ter Borch. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2004, pp. 33–34.
Marjorie E. Wieseman inGerard ter Borch. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, 2004, pp. 84–86, 200, no. 17, ill. (color).
Yonna Yapou. "Gerard ter Borch." Apollo, n.s., 161 (May 2005), p. 81.
Peter van der Ploeg inFrans van Mieris 1635–1681. Exh. cat., Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 2005, pp. 157, 221 n. 248, fig. 31b (color).
Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 35, 37, 48, 70, fig. 41 (color).
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 63–66, 366, 464, 518, 522, no. 13, colorpl. 13; vol. 2, pp. 664, 878.
Walter Liedtke. Vermeer: The Complete Paintings. Antwerp, 2008, pp. 71, 100, 107, 116–17, 124, fig. 18b.
Walter Liedtke. "The Milkmaid" by Johannes Vermeer. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2009, pp. 20, 25–26, 30–31, no. 1, colorpl. 1.
Marjorie E. Wieseman. Vermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence. Exh. cat., Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. New Haven, 2011, pp. 21, 63 n. 71, pp. 156–57, 164, no. 2, ill. (color, overall and detail).
H. Perry Chapman inVermeer's Women: Secrets and Silence. Exh. cat., Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. New Haven, 2011, pp. 76, 82.
Jennifer Tonkovich. "Discovering the Renaissance: Pierpont Morgan's Shift to Collecting Italian Old Masters." A Market for Merchant Princes: Collecting Italian Renaissance Paintings in America. Ed. Inge Reist. University Park, Pa., 2015, p. 120 n. 19.