Copy after Gabriël Metsu (Dutch, late 17th century)
Oil on wood
14 3/8 x 12 5/8 in. (36.5 x 32.1 cm)
Bequest of William H. Herriman, 1920
Not on view
This picture appears to be a good copy after a lost painting by Metsu. The panel support and the execution suggest a late-seventeenth-century date.
Another version of the composition, on a panel of about the same size, is known from a color reproduction (Apollo 1947). The two works differ slightly in details, and the drawing of the architecture and the furniture in the other version is somewhat more rectilinear overall. It seems likely that both are old copies of an otherwise untraced painting.
The suggestion that Metsu and his wife served as the models for the man and woman goes back at least to Smith (1833) and is unconvincing, although there is a slight resemblance to the unidealized self-portrait and its pendant in the Speed Art Museum, Louisville.
[2010; adapted from Liedtke 2007]
Inscription: Signed (on table leg): GMetsu. [initials in monogram]
Johan Aegidiusz. van der Marck, Leiden (until d. 1772; his estate sale, Winter and Yver, Amsterdam, August 25ff., 1773, no. 176, for fl. 800 to Fouquet); [Pierre Fouquet, Amsterdam, from 1773]; J. M. Oppenheim, London (by 1833–64; his sale, ?Christie's, London, June 4, 1864, for £78.15.0 to Smith); [Smith, London, from 1864]; Étienne Martin, baron de Beurnonville, Paris (until 1881; his sale, Pillet, Paris, May 9–16, 1881, no. 368, as "L'Artiste," for Fr 16,200); [Sedelmeyer, Paris]; Rodolphe Kann, Paris; Édouard P. R. Kums, Antwerp (until d. 1891; cat., 1891, no. 116; his estate, 1891–98; his estate sale, Hôtel Kums, Antwerp, May 17–18, 1898, no. 115, as "L'Artiste et sa femme," for Bfr 31,500); William H. Herriman, Rome (until d. 1920)
San Francisco. Palace of Fine Arts. "Golden Gate International Exposition," May 25–September 29, 1940, no. 192 (as "The Artist and His Wife").
Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," October 4–November 23, 1947, unnumbered cat. (as "The Artist and His Wife").
Iowa City. State University of Iowa, School of Fine Arts. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," January 9–March 31, 1948, unnumbered cat.
Bloomington. Indiana University. "30 Masterpieces: An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art," April 18–May 16, 1948, no catalogue.
Dayton Art Institute. "The Artist and His Family," March 3–April 30, 1950, 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.
John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 4, London, 1833, p. 102, no. 93, as in the collection of Mr. Oppenheim; describes it as representing the artist and his wife.
[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 2, p. 329, as in the collection of Mr. Oppenheim.
Charles Blanc. Le trésor de la curiosité. Vol. 1, Paris, 1857, p. 226, lists it as having been sold for fl. 800 to Fouquet at the van der Marck sale of 1773.
Mlle A. Kums. Catalogue de la collection de tableaux anciens et modernes et des objets d'arts et antiquités. Antwerp, 1891, p. 18, no. 116, as "L'Artiste et sa femme".
Illustrated Catalogue of 300 Paintings by Old Masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English Schools. Paris, 1898, p. 108, no. 91, ill. p. 109, as "The Artist," in the collection of M. Kums, Antwerp; as engraved by Lefort.
E. W. Moes. Iconographia Batava: Beredeneerde Lijst van Geschilderde en Gebeeldhouwde Portretten van Noord-Nederlanders in Vorige Eeuwen. Vol. 2, Amsterdam, 1905, pp. 94–95, lists it as nos. 2 and 8 under no. 5005.
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. 1, London, 1907, pp. 308–9, 320, no. 178, as "A Young Man and a Young Woman"; includes provenance information; relates it to no. 203d, another version of the same subject.
H[arry]. B. W[ehle]. "Bequests of Paintings." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 16 (December 1921), p. 263.
H[orst]. Gerson inAllgemeines Lexikon der bildenden Künstler. Ed. Hans Vollmer. Vol. 24, Leipzig, 1930, p. 440, as "Junger Mann u. junge Frau".
Bryson Burroughs. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Catalogue of Paintings. 9th ed. New York, 1931, p. 243, as "The Artist and His Wife".
"Gabriel Metsu." Apollo 45 (1947), p. 138, considers both this version and Hofstede de Groot no. 203d (illustrated in color), then in a private collection in England, to be autograph works.
Millia Davenport. The Book of Costume. New York, 1948, vol. 2, p. 624, no. 1656, ill. (cropped).
S[turla]. J. Gudlaugsson. "Kanttekeningen bij de ontwikkeling van Metsu." Oud-Holland 83, no. 1 (1968), p. 26.
Uwe M. Schneede. "Gabriel Metsu und der holländische Realismus." Oud-Holland 83, no. 1 (1968), p. 47.
Franklin W. Robinson. "Gabriel Metsu, 1629–1667." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1970, pp. 169–70, 177 n. 15, fig. 203, first calls it possibly "a work of inferior quality by the master himself" and later "at best a copy of an original composition by Metsu".
Götz Eckardt. Selbstbildnisse niederländischer Maler des 17. Jahrhunderts. Berlin, 1971, pl. 24, as depicting Metsu and his wife.
Franklin W. Robinson. Gabriel Metsu (1629–1667): A Study of His Place in Dutch Genre Painting of the Golden Age. New York, 1974, pp. 69–70, 73 n. 15, fig. 173.
Marijke van der Meij-Tolsma inThe Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 21, New York, 1996, p. 352, as by Metsu.
Walter Liedtke. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, vol. 1, pp. 470–72, no. 119, colorpl. 119.