Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Lucas van Uffel (died 1637)

Anthony van Dyck (Flemish, Antwerp 1599–1641 London)
ca. 1622
Oil on canvas
49 x 39 5/8 in. (124.5 x 100.6 cm)
Credit Line:
Bequest of Benjamin Altman, 1913
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 628
Van Uffel was a wealthy Flemish merchant who lived in Venice, where Van Dyck probably painted this portrait early in his Italian period (1621–27). In another portrait (Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Brauschweig), Van Dyck shows the same sitter authoritatively posed before a view of ships sailing off a Mediterranean coast. Ours, by contrast, shows Van Uffel as a learned gentleman, with signs of his varied interests: dividers, a recorder, the bow of a viola da gamba, an antique head, a drawing, and a celestial globe.

Lucas van Uffel was a wealthy Flemish merchant and shipowner who lived in Venice and formed a major collection of Italian and Northern European paintings. The year and place of Van Uffel’s birth are not known; his father settled in Amsterdam by 1591 and Lucas was in Venice by 1616. Working with other members of his family in the Mediterranean trade, Van Uffel became prosperous enough to attract the envy and extortion of the Venetian authorities. In the mid-1630s he moved to Amsterdam, taking with him paintings by Raphael, Titian, Rubens, Van Dyck, Ribera, Reni, Guercino, Poussin, Claude, and others. After his death in 1637 his collection was auctioned in that year and in 1639. The later sale included Raphael’s Portrait of Baldassare Castiglione, of about 1514–15 (Musée du Louvre, Paris), which influenced Rembrandt in a number of portraits of himself and of acquaintances. Two examples in the Museum’s own collection are Herman Doomer (29.100.1), of 1640, and Man with a Magnifying Glass (14.40.621), of the early 1660s.

Van Dyck must have painted this portrait of Van Uffel and the one in the Herzog Anton Ulrich-Museum, Braunschweig, in Venice about 1622, when he was eagerly searching the city for pictures by Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese (as recorded in his "Italian Sketchbook" in the British Museum, London). The Braunschweig canvas shows Van Uffel posing authoritatively before a view of ships near an Italianate coast, in reference to his profession. In the Museum’s painting, by contrast, Van Uffel appears active and almost impatient, as the viewer briefly distracts him from his learning and pursuit of the arts. The antique head, the drawing of it (apparently), the flute, and the bow of a viola da gamba indicate the sitter’s interest in the fine arts and music, while the celestial globe suggests a knowledge of astronomy and navigation. The dividers may refer to geography as well as astronomy. In creating such dynamic evocations of individual character, in this portrait and others like it (for example, George Gage and Two Attendants of 1622–23, in the National Gallery, London), Van Dyck assumed a key role in a tradition extending from the Late Renaissance (with portraits by Titian, Lorenzo Lotto, and other North Italians) to artists of the next two centuries.

Landgrafen von Hesse-Kassel (possibly by 1730; definitely by 1738; cat., 1783, no. 69); seized by Napoleon's troops in 1806 and sent to Empress Josephine in Mainz and possibly then to Malmaison; [dealer, Paris, 1836]; George Granville Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland, Stafford House, London (1836–d. 1861); George Granville William Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 3rd Duke of Sutherland (1861–d. 1892); Cromertie Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, 4th Duke of Sutherland (from 1892; cat., 1910, vol. 2, no. 47); [Duveen, London and New York, by 1908–9; sold to Altman]; Benjamin Altman, New York (1909–d. 1913)
London. British Institution. June 1845, no. 13 (as "Portrait," lent by the Duke of Sutherland, possibly this picture).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1875, no. 141 (as "Portrait of an Artist," lent by the Duke of Sutherland).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Winter Exhibition," 1890, no. 146 (lent by the Duke of Sutherland).

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "Exhibition of Works by Van Dyck," January 1–March 10, 1900, no. 7 (lent by the Duke of Sutherland).


[Simon Causid]. Verzeichnis der Hochfürstlich-Hessischen Gemälde-Sammlung in Cassel. Kassel, 1783, p. 21, no. 69, as a portrait of a man holding a compass, by Van Dyck.

John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 3, London, 1831, p. 230, no. 825, as a portrait of a gentleman by Van Dyck, and engraved in mezzotint by Vaillant.

John Smith. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the Most Eminent Dutch, Flemish, and French Painters. Vol. 9, Supplement. London, 1842, p. 373, no. 21, as formerly in the Dresden Gemäldegalerie, then at a Paris dealer's in 1836, and purchased by the Duke of Sutherland in 1837 for £440.

William Hazlitt. Criticisms on Art. London, 1844, appendix II, no. 127, as at Stafford House.

[Gustav Friedrich] Waagen. Treasures of Art in Great Britain. London, 1854, vol. 2, p. 69, identifies it as a portrait of an astronomer or mathematician, at Stafford House.

C. Alhard von Drach. "Briefe des Kunstsammlers Antonie Rutgers an den Landgrafen Wilhelm VIII von Hessen." Oud-Holland 8 (1890), p. 201, publishes Rutgers's letter of 1738 referring to the picture in the landgrave's collection, notes that it is identical to no. 69 in Causid's catalogue of 1783, but does not mention the Sutherland collection.

Lionel Cust. Anthony van Dyck, An Historical Study of His Life and Works. London, 1900, pp. 37, 217, no. 7, p. 244, no. 132, as a portrait of Van Uffel engraved by Vaillant.

Alfred von Wurzbach. Niederländisches Künstler-Lexikon. Vol. 1, Vienna, 1906, p. 474, as a portrait of the sculptor Colyns de Nole.

Emil Schaeffer. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 1st ed. Stuttgart, 1909, p. 504 [2nd ed. by Gustav Glück, 1931, pp. XXXIV, 533, ill. p. 127], proposes that it definitely depicts Van Uffel, and is somewhat earlier than the portrait in Braunschweig.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner. "Frühwerke des Anton van Dyck in Amerika." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst, n.s., 21, no. 9 (1910), p. 229, as a portrait of a geographer, in the collection of Benjamin Altman, New York.

Ronald Sutherland Gower. Stafford House. Paris, 1910, vol. 1, p. 9; vol. 2, unpaginated, ill., as a portrait of Van Uffel.

Lionel Cust. Anthony van Dyck, A Further Study. London, 1911, p. 44, as painted in Genoa.

William Bode. "More Spurious Pictures Abroad Than in America." New York Times (December 31, 1911), p. SM4.

"The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 8 (November 1913), p. 237.

Wilhelm R. Valentiner. The Art of the Low Countries. English ed. Garden City, N.Y., 1914, pp. 205–7, ill. opp. p. 206, as a portrait of Van Uffel.

"The Altman Collection in the Metropolitan Museum, New York." Art and Progress 6 (January 1915), p. 87, ill. p. 82.

François Monod. "La Galerie Altman au Metropolitan Museum de New-York (2e article)." Gazette des beaux-arts, 5th ser., 8 (November 1923), p. 299, as a portrait of Van Uffel, painted in Genoa.

Maurice Vaes. "Le Séjour d'Antoine van Dyck en Italie." Bulletin de l'Institut historique belge de Rome no. 4 (1924), p. 181.

Handbook of the Benjamin Altman Collection. 2nd ed. New York, 1928, pp. 35–36, 38, no. 10, ill. opp. p. 14.

Heinrich Rosenbaum. "Der junge Van Dyck." PhD diss., location unknown, Munich, 1928, pp. 35ff. [see Ref. Liedtke 1984], considers both portraits of Van Uffel to be among the first works Van Dyck painted in Italy.

Walter Heil. "Sketches by Rubens and Van Dyck." Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts 11 (March 1930), p. 81.

"Rubens and Van Dyck for Detroit." Art News 28 (March 1, 1930), p. 24, [text similar to Ref. Heil 1930].

Gustav Glück. Van Dyck, des Meisters Gemälde. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1909]. Stuttgart, 1931, pp. XXXIV, 533, ill. p. 127 [1st ed. by Emil Schaeffer, 1909, p. 504], as painted during the first Antwerp period; identifies the sitter as more probably Van Uffel than de Nijs.

Ludwig Burchard, ed. Rubens, Van Dyck und ihr Kreis. By Gustav Glück. Vienna, 1933, p. 412, as painted in Venice if a portrait of Van Uffel or de Nijs.

Frank Jewett Mather Jr. Western European Painting of the Renaissance. [New York], 1939, p. 418.

Gert Adriani. Anton van Dyck, Italienisches Skizzenbuch. Vienna, 1940, p. 9, as a portrait of Van Uffel.

Duveen Pictures in Public Collections of America. New York, 1941, unpaginated, no. 185, ill.

Frank van den Wijngaert. Antoon van Dyck. Antwerp, 1943, pp. 59–60.

F. W. H. Hollstein. Dutch and Flemish Etchings, Engravings, and Woodcuts, ca. 1450–1700. Vol. 6, Amsterdam, n.d., p. 127, under no. 739, as a portrait of the sculptor Colyns de Nole.

Leo van Puyvelde. Van Dyck. Brussels, 1950, p. 141, as painted in Italy.

Anneliese [Mayer] Meintschel. "Die Wandkarte und der Globus als Bildmotive in Niederländischen Barock." Master's thesis, Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg, 1952, p. 41.

Michael Jaffé in Encyclopedia of World Art. Vol. 4, New York, 1961, col. 535, as painted about 1627.

Horst Vey. Die Zeichnungen Anton van Dycks. Brussels, 1962, text vol., p. 226, under no. 156.

L[eo]. v. P[uyvelde]. Le siècle de Rubens. Exh. cat., Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. Brussels, 1965, p. 62, under no. 61.

Michael Jaffé. "Van Dyck's Sketches for his Portraits of Duquesnoy and of Van Uffel." Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique Bulletin 16 (1967), pp. 159–62, fig. 5, suggests that it follows the oil sketch in Detroit.

Georg Blass. Ein unbekanntes Bildnis des Lukas van Uffelen. Düsseldorf, 1967, unpaginated, ill.

David Piper. Van Dyck. New York, 1968, colorpl. 24, dates it about 1635.

Van Dyck. Exh. cat., Thomas Agnew & Sons, Ltd. London, 1968, p. 36, under no. 34, as painted in Venice in 1621–22.

Erich Herzog. Die Gemäldegalerie der Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Kassel. Hanau, 1969, pp. 14, 19, 43, 49, 54, no. 9, fig. 4, as in the inventory of 1730, and seized by the French in 1806.

Francis Haskell. "The Benjamin Altman Bequest." Metropolitan Museum Journal 3 (1970), p. 279, fig. 4.

Sylvia Hochfield. "Conservation: The Need is Urgent." Art News 75 (February 1976), p. 27.

Jacques Foucart in Le Siècle de Rubens dans les collections publiques françaises. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais. Paris, 1977, p. 74, under no. 36.

Ronald Cohen et al. Trafalgar Galleries at the Royal Academy II. Exh. cat., Trafalgar Galleries. London, 1979, pp. 11–12, 14–15, fig. 1.

Erik Larsen. L'opera completa di Van Dyck. Milan, 1980, vol. 1, pp. 8, 113, no. 389, ill. p. 113 and colorpl. 42, as representing Van Uffel, or possibly Daniel Nys; gives date as probably 1622.

Christopher Brown. Van Dyck. Ithaca, N.Y., 1982, p. 78, pl. 67.

Oliver Millar. Van Dyck in England. Exh. cat., National Portrait Gallery. London, 1982, p. 15, fig. 11, places it in the Italian period.

Julius S. Held. Flemish and German Paintings of the 17th Century. Detroit, 1982, pp. 29–30, doubts that the Detroit panel preceded the MMA picture.

Walter A. Liedtke. Flemish Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1984, vol. 1, pp. 56–64; vol. 2, pls. 26 and 27 (overall and detail) and colorpl. VI, as "Portrait of a Man, probably Lucas van Uffel"; suggests a possible date of 1622, during Van Dyck's visit to Venice.

Walter A. Liedtke. "Anthony van Dyck." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 42 (Winter 1984/85), pp. 24–27, 45, fig. 22, front cover, inside front cover, and back cover (color, overall and details).

Walter A. Liedtke. "Flemish Paintings in the Metropolitan Museum—II: Van Dyck, Jordaens, Brouwer, and Others." Tableau 6 (February 15, 1984), pp. 28–31, fig. 1 (color).

Justus Müller Hofstede. "Neue Beiträge Zum Oeuvre Anton van Dycks." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 48/49 (1988), p. 163.

Erik Larsen. The Paintings of Anthony van Dyck. Freren, Germany, 1988, vol. 1, pp. 208, 210, fig. 152; vol. 2, p. 170, no. 416, as painted in Venice in 1622; believes that the chances that the two portraits represent either Van Uffel or Nys are equal.

Charles Scribner III. Peter Paul Rubens. New York, 1989, p. 98.

Christopher Lloyd. The Queen's Pictures: Royal Collectors through the Centuries. Exh. cat., National Gallery. London, 1991, p. 52, fig. 31.

Anne-Marie Logan. "Kunstenaars, kooplieden en verzamelaars: Venetiaans-Amsterdamse kunsthandel in de zeventiende eeuw." Amsterdam: Venetië van het Noorden. Ed. Margriet de Roever. Exh. cat., Gemeentearchief Amsterdam. The Hague, 1991, p. 142, ill. p. 137.

Introduction by Walter A. Liedtke in Flemish Paintings in America: A Survey of Early Netherlandish and Flemish Paintings in the Public Collections of North America. Antwerp, 1992, pp. 24, 250–53 no. 79, ill. in color (overall and detail).

Walter Liedtke in Masterworks from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1992, p. 77, under no. 6.

Christopher Brown in Von Bruegel bis Rubens: Das goldene Jahrhundert der flämischen Malerei. Exh. cat., Wallraf-Richartz-Museum. Cologne, 1992, p. 398, under no. 61.4.

Michael Jaffé. "On Some Portraits Painted by Van Dyck in Italy, Mainly in Genoa." Van Dyck 350. Washington, 1994, p. 134.

David Freedberg. "Van Dyck and Virginio Cesarini: A Contribution to the Study of Van Dyck's Roman Sojourns." Van Dyck 350. Ed. Susan J. Barnes and Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. Washington, 1994, pp. 153, 158, fig. 6, as certainly done in 1622–23.

Alfred Moir. Anthony van Dyck. New York, 1994, pp. 21, 68, 72, fig. 31.

Ben Broos. "Rembrandts Schatkamer." Tableau 18 (November 1995), p. 69, fig. 4.

Katlijne van der Stighelen. Van Dyck. Tielt, Belgium, 1998, p. 18, ill.

Hans Vlieghe. Flemish Art and Architecture, 1585–1700. New Haven, 1998, p. 133, fig. 171 (color).

Robin Blake. Anthony van Dyck: A Life, 1599–1641. London, 1999, pp. 171–72, 178, 358, 365.

James Lawson. Van Dyck: Paintings and Drawings. Munich, 1999, pp. 71–73, ill. p. 70 (color).

Bob van den Boogert in Rembrandt's Treasures. Ed. Bob van den Boogert. Exh. cat., Rembrandt House Museum. Zwolle, The Netherlands, 1999, p. 38, fig. 17.

Nicholas H. J. Hall in "A Taste for Italian Art in Holland." MMI. Exh. cat., Hall & Knight. London, 2001, p. 16, fig. 9.

Clovis Whitfield in "Portraiture: From the 'Simple Portrait' to the 'Ressemblance Parlante'." The Genius of Rome, 1592–1623. Ed. Beverly Louise Brown. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts. London, 2001, p. 168.

Jeroen Giltaij et al. Rembrandt Rembrandt. Exh. cat., Kyoto National Museum. Kyoto, 2002, p. 70, fig. 2, under no. 17 [German ed., Frankfurt, 2003, p. 89, fig. 15b, under no. 15].

Rüdiger Klessmann. Die flämischen Gemälde des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts. Braunschweig, 2003, pp. 31–32, under no. 125.

Maria Grazia Bernardini in Anton van Dyck: Riflessi italiani. Ed. Maria Grazia Bernardini. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale. Milan, 2004, p. 58.

Katlijne van der Stighelen in Anton van Dyck: Riflessi italiani. Ed. Maria Grazia Bernardini. Exh. cat., Palazzo Reale. Milan, 2004, p. 105.

Stephanie S. Dickey. Rembrandt: Portraits in Print. Philadelphia, 2004, p. 97.

James Clifton. A Portrait of the Artist, 1525–1825: Prints from the Collection of the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Houston, 2005, pp. 25–26, fig. 31.

Julia Gierse in Rembrandt-Bilder: Die historische Sammlung der Kasseler Gemäldegalerie. Exh. cat., Staatliche Museen Kassel. Kassel, 2006, pp. 104–5, 107 n. 7, fig. 7.1.

Esmée Quodbach. "The Age of Rembrandt: Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 65 (Summer 2007), pp. 31–32, fig. 32 (Altman gallery photograph).

Maartje van Gelder in Il collezionismo d'arte a Venezia: il Seicento. Ed. Linda Borean and Stefania Mason. Venice, 2007, pp. 320–21, ill.

Walter Liedtke. Vermeer: The Complete Paintings. Antwerp, 2008, p. 123.

Alexis Merle du Bourg in Antoon van Dyck, Portraits. Exh. cat., Musée Jacquemart-André. Brussels, 2008, pp. 31, 66, 68, fig. 13 (color).

Walter B. Denny. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New York, 2014, pp. 133, 135, fig. 122 (color).

Paul Lang in Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun. Ed. Joseph Baillio and Xavier Salmon. Exh. cat., Grand Palais, Galeries nationales. Paris, 2015, p. 163, under no. 51, p. 174, under no. 58.

Stijn Alsteens in Stijn Alsteens and Adam Eaker. Van Dyck: The Anatomy of Portraiture. Exh. cat., Frick Collection. New York, 2016, pp. 15, 34 n. 60, p. 36 n. 90, fig. 16 (color).

Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 283, no. 213, ill. pp. 210, 283 (color).

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