Flemish painters had a long tradition of relegating religious narratives to the background of scenes drawn from contemporary life. Here, the viewer can just glimpse Saint Peter’s liberation from captivity by an angel, while in the foreground, soldiers play dice and a heap of armor and earthenware conveys Teniers’s skillful illusionism. In this way, the painting enacts the wordly distractions that can cause believers to lose sight of higher things.
This painting was seized by the Nazis from Baron Karl Neuman (Charles Neuman de Végvár) in Paris and restituted to him by 1947.
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Title:Guardroom with the Deliverance of Saint Peter
Artist:David Teniers the Younger (Flemish, Antwerp 1610–1690 Brussels)
Medium:Oil on wood
Dimensions:21 3/4 x 29 7/8 in. (55.2 x 75.9 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Edith Neuman de Végvár, in honor of her husband, Charles Neuman de Végvár, 1964
Inscription: Signed (lower right): D·TENIERS·f
?Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family, Vienna; [Galerie Sanct Lucas, Vienna, until 1938; exchanged with Neuman]; Baron Karl Neuman (Charles Neuman de Végvár), Vienna, later Greenwich, Conn. (1938–d. 1959; seized in Paris by the Nazis, held at Alt Aussee [1080/1] and at Munich collecting point , returned to France October 30, 1946; restituted); his widow, Mrs. Charles (Edith) Neuman de Végvár, Greenwich (1959–64; life interest, 1964–d. 1984)
Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. "David Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern," November 5, 2005–February 19, 2006, no. 39.
[Claus Virch]. Paintings in the Collection of Charles and Edith Neuman de Végvár. [New York], , pp. 26–27, identifies it with a picture formerly in the Vrancken collection [but see Ref. Liedtke 1984].
Margret Klinge. Letter to Walter Liedtke. October 10, 1980, dates it between 1645 and 1647.
Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 262–64; vol. 2, pl. 101, accepts Klinge's dating [see Ref. 1980]; notes that "Teniers, in a manner quite consistent with that of Aertsen and his followers, intended a pointed comparison, here, between everyday life in his own time and in that of Herod"; disagrees with Virch's identification [see Ref. 1970] of the MMA panel with a work formerly in the Vrancken collection.
Richard Rand inThe Ahmanson Gifts: European Masterpieces in the Collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Los Angeles, 1991, p. 21, under no. 2.
Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke inFlemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 280–83, no. 90, ill. (color, overall and details).
John Ingamells. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of Pictures. Vol. 4, Dutch and Flemish. London, 1992, p. 370, under no. P210.
Hans Buijs inCatalogue sommaire illustré des peintures du Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Vol. 1, Écoles étrangères XIIIe–XIXe siècles. Lyons, 1993, p. 101.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 290, ill.
Nancy H. Yeide et al. The AAM Guide to Provenance Research. Washington, 2001, pp. 52, 54, ill. p. 53.
Margret Klinge inDavid Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Heidelberg, 2005, p. 232, under no. 67.
Dietmar Lüdke inDavid Teniers der Jüngere, 1610–1690: Alltag und Vergnügen in Flandern. Exh. cat., Staatliche Kunsthalle Karlsruhe. Heidelberg, 2005, pp. 74, 170–71, no. 39, ill. (color).
The subject, from Acts 12:5–11, was painted by Teniers a number of times: in a smaller version on copper (Wallace Collection, London), a large painting on copper (57x77 cm, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen, Dresden), a painting on copper of the same size as the Dresden picture (Musée de Lyon), and an octagonal painting on copper, comparable in size to our picture (Gemäldegalerie, Berlin). The history of the Museum's picture is difficult to trace because of the number of closely related versions. The old man in the Museum's picture reappears in the identical pose and context in a panel now in a private collection in London.
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