Jacob Frans van der Merck ('s Gravendeel circa 1610-1664 Leiden)
Portrait of a lady and a gentleman as Venus and Adonis signed and dated 'J. V. Merck. Fc / 1647' (lower left) oil on canvas 192 x 224cm (75 9/16 x 88 3/16in).
PROVENANCE: Collection Simonius-Burckhardt, Baseln Collection Oeri-Simonius, Baseln Dr. H. Schneider, 1953 Sale, Sotheby's, London, 28 March 1979, lot 29 (bought by H. Van de Steen Gallery) Purchased by Marcel Jooris in 1979 and thence by descent to the present owner
LITERATURE: W. Bernt, Die Niederländischen Maler des 17. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1962), vol. 4, pp. 197199, ill. 199 W. Bernt, Die Niederländischen Maler und Zeichner des 17. Jahrhunderts (Munich, 1980), vol. 2, no. 801
It has been questioned whether the smaller scale brown-toned interior genre scenes - showing conversations and soldiers in guardrooms in the manner of Anthonie Palmedesz. and Pieter Codde - are by the same hand as such impressive and colourful life-size portraits as the present work. It may be better compared to the artist's portraits at Lakenhal, Leiden, which have been admired for their dignity and perspective. There is another comparably fine portrait by him of the Stadtholder, Frederick Henry of Orange. Interestingly, Jan van Goyen, who stayed with van der Merck at The Hague circa 1650, painted a landscape background to a family group of his.