Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Everhard Jabach (1618–1695) and His Family

Artist:
Charles Le Brun (French, Paris 1619–1690 Paris)
Date:
ca. 1660
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
110 1/4 × 129 1/8 in. (280 × 328 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Purchase, Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, in honor of Keith Christiansen, 2014
Accession Number:
2014.250
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 617
This painting combines the domestic intimacy and descriptive richness of Dutch and Flemish art, which Jabach collected and admired, with the measured formal organization and allegorical allusions characteristic of French portraiture. Everhard Jabach (1618–1695), dressed in black, is seated in the company of his wife, Anna Maria de Groote (died 1701), and their four children (from left to right): Everhard the Younger (1656–1721), Hélène (1654–1701), Heinrich (1658–1703), and Anna Maria (1649–1706). Although Le Brun presents an arresting portrayal of each sitter, much of the composition is given over to Jabach and the emblems of his cultural interests and, through the artist’s reflection in the mirror, his association with France’s leading painter. To judge from the ages of the children, Le Brun’s canvas must have been executed around 1660, which also coincides with the construction of his grand new Parisian house, for which this painting was commissioned.
This magnificent painting by the leading painter of King Louis XIV (1638–1715)—the artist who supervised the decoration of the Louvre and Versailles and headed the Gobelins manufactory for tapestries and furniture—is a landmark in the history of French portraiture. It depicts the family of a major figure in the world of finance who was also one of the most important collector-merchants in seventeenth-century Europe. Given the importance of the artist and sitter as well as the detailed description of the setting and the inclusion of the artist’s self-portrait, it constitutes a defining work of art and a key document in the cultural and political history of seventeenth-century France.

The Artist: Upon his return to Paris from Rome in 1646, Charles Le Brun asserted himself as the leading painter in Paris (for his career up to then, see the entry for The Sacrifice of Polyxena, 2013.183). His trip had been financed by Chancellor Séguier, who remained the key supporter of his career and whose portrait by Le Brun showing the chancellor on a horse accompanied by six pages (Musée du Louvre, Paris) is, together with the MMA painting, Le Brun's testament to his innovative capacity in the realm of portraiture—which he mostly reserved for his close circle of friends and supporters during the 1650s. In 1648 Le Brun was among the twelve founders of the Académie Royale and in 1656 he received the rare royal privilege forbidding the unauthorized reproduction of his works. With Eustache Le Sueur’s death in 1655 his position as the pre-eminent painter-decorator in France—the successor to Simon Vouet (1590–1649)—was contested only by Charles Errard, who in 1643 had been appointed Peintre Ordinaire du Roi and was favored for the decorative schemes in the Louvre by Antoine Ratabon, Surintendant des Batiments until 1664, when replaced by Colbert. (On the rise of Le Brun's position at court and the determining role of Seguier, see Gady 2010, pp. 175–232.) The immediate prelude to his uniquely powerful position at court was the unveiling of Le Brun's decorations for the finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet (1615–1680), at Vaux-le-Vicomte (1658–61). Le Brun undertook his work for Fouquet (subsequently imprisoned for his personal appropriation of state funds) together with Louis le Vau (1612–1670) and André le Nôtre (1613–1700)—the same team that was to design Versailles. Contemporaneously he worked on other commissions, including a painting for the king destined for Fontainebleau. Louis XIV granted Le Brun a patent of nobility in 1661 and in 1664 issued a brief giving juridical confirmation of his position as Premier Peintre du Roi. Le Brun was also put in charge of the royal collections. It is during this extraordinarily fertile period that Le Brun worked as well for Jabach, concerning which the artist’s biographer, Claude Nivelon (ca. 1699), has this to say: "[Le Brun] was united both by friendship and shared interests (d’amitié et d’inclination) with monsieur Jabach, one of the principal directors of the East India Company, at whose residence can be seen several of the paintings of the story of Meleager of which I have spoken and who wished to contract [Le Brun] for a salary of twenty pistoles per day to paint whatever he wished. . . . [Le Brun] painted the whole family of this friend—a work about sixteen pieds wide—which is something very beautiful and considerable. . . ."

The Patron: Nivelon’s notice is key to understanding both the character of the MMA family portrait, which by the inclusion of Le Brun’s self-portrait testifies to an unusually close painter-patron relationship, and to the nature of Jabach’s interest in the arts (on this, see Schnapper 1994). Banker, patron, and collector of German origin, Everhard Jabach was born in Cologne, becoming a naturalized French citizen who lived in Paris most of his life. He moved to Paris in 1638 but retained his ties to Cologne, where he married his wife, Anna Maria de Groote, in 1648. In 1659 he acquired and then enlarged the imposing Hôtel Jabach at the corner of rue Neuve-Saint-Merri and rue Saint-Martin. (The designs were by Pierre Bullet, ca. 1639–1716; the house does not survive but is known through engravings: see Additional Images, figs. 3, 4). The picture may be intended to suggest a salon in the house as the setting for the family portrait. Jabach’s father had an interest in art, forming a collection and notably acquiring a triptych by Dürer for the chapel in the family residence in Cologne (dispersed: panels in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, the Alte Pinakothek, Munich, and the Städel Museum, Frankfurt). A year after his father’s death, as a memorial, Jabach commissioned Rubens to paint a Crucifixion of Saint Peter for the family chapel in the church of Saint Peter, Cologne (in situ). Jabach both bought and sold works of art, assembling one of the most significant collections of paintings and drawings of the second half of the seventeenth century. He enjoyed the friendship and confidence of Cardinal Mazarin (1602–1661), becoming his banker; it was Mazarin who set in motion the purchase of one hundred paintings from Jabach’s collection for the crown—though not without considerable political intrigue involving the disgraced finance minister, Nicolas Fouquet. (As outlined by Antoine Schnapper, "Encore Jabach, Mazarin, Louis XIV, mais non Fouquet," Bulletin de la Société de l'Histoire de l'art français, 1989, pp. 75–76, and Schnapper 2005, pp. 273–75, Le Brun had arranged for the pictures in question to be removed from Jabach's to Mazarin's palace prior to their actual purchase. Mazarin had deeded them to Louis XIV but died before paying for them; this was to have been done by Fouquet, the funds being advanced through Nicolas Doublet, who, however, had not been reimbursed at the time of Fouquet's arrest. The future Controller-General of Finances, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, was then applied to for the funds by Doublet through Le Brun, whose action in removing the paintings from Jabach's premises put him in a difficult position. The pictures were eventually purchased for the crown from Jabach for 330,000 livres.)

Jabach’s tastes in collecting were much influenced by the examples of his father and of Thomas Howard (1585–1646), 2nd Earl of Arundel, from whom he made significant purchases. (Jabach was in London in 1636–37.) He was among the chief buyers at the sale of the royal collection in London in 1650–51, after the beheading of King Charles I (1600–1649), his acquisitions at times surpassing in quality and importance those of Queen Christina of Sweden, Philip IV of Spain (whose pictures came as gifts from Luis de Haro), and Archduke Leopold. Among his most celebrated possessions were Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint John the Baptist, Holbein’s Portrait of Erasmus, Titian’s Concert Champêtre, Entombment, and Supper at Emmaus, Correggio’s Allegory of Virtue painted for Isabella d’Este, Guido Reni’s Labors of Hercules, and Caravaggio’s Death of the Virgin (all now in the Louvre). His vast collection of drawings was especially prized and it was to Jabach’s residence on rue Neuve-Saint-Merri that Bernini was brought to view them during the sculptor’s sojourn in the city in 1665. According to the abbé Butti (cited by Gady 2010, pp. 230, 462 n. 778), Le Brun had not wanted Bernini to see Jabach’s drawings, since he feared the great sculptor would recognize how many ideas he had taken from them. In 1671, 5,542 drawings and 101 further paintings were acquired for the crown. Among the drawings were many pages from Vasari’s celebrated album, outstanding examples from the hand of Poussin, and works by northern masters such as Dürer, Cranach, and Rubens. These now form the core of the Cabinet des Dessins at the Louvre (see Py 2001 and Savatier Sjöholm 2013). Even this sale did not exhaust Jabach’s collecting ardor and at his death an inventory was drawn up listing 688 pictures—not, it should be said, equivalent in quality to those he sold to the crown, some being copies—and 4,515 drawings, whose quality may be judged by the fact that many entered the discriminating collections of Pierre Crozat (1665–1740), Carl Gustav Tessin (1695–1770), and Pierre-Jean Mariette (1694–1774); many further enriched the Louvre’s collection.

In 1664 Jabach was appointed director of the French East India Company (the Compagnie des Indes) and in 1671 he was appointed director of the Aubusson tapestry manufactory. He was unquestionably one of the great personalities of his age and was portrayed twice by Van Dyck (in 1636 and 1641) as well as by Peter Lely (see Additional Images, fig. 5), possibly by Sébastien Bourdon, and by Hyacinthe Rigaud (in 1688; see Additional Images, fig. 6).

The Picture: To judge from the ages of the children and their recorded dates of birth, Le Brun’s portrait of Jabach and his family must date to about 1660–61. Although not mentioned by Nivelon, there were two versions of the composition that in their finished state differed from each other in various details, noticeable especially in the different helmet on the bust of Minerva—the bust was placed higher in the picture field in the second version—and the different arrangement of books. The second version, formerly in Berlin, was destroyed in World War II and is now known only from black and white photographs (see Additional Images, fig. 7). From the outset, the second version must have been intended for another residence as it does not appear in the postmortem inventory of Jabach’s possessions in Paris. Following his death, both pictures were to be seen in Cologne, the MMA version in the Jabach house on Sternengasse, where it became a principal sight in the city, the other in a house on Glockengasse that belonged to Jabach's brother-in-law, Heinrich de Groote, where it is listed in 1694 (see Baumeister 1926–27, pp. 216–18). It is during a trip to Cologne in 1774 that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe saw in "Jabachs Wohnung" what must be the MMA picture, admiring the work's extraordinary immediacy—"fresh and alive, as though from yesterday or even today." (He returned to the city in 1815, at which time he saw the de Groote version of the picture, which had been moved to the house on Sternengasse following the sale of the de Groote mansion in 1808; it was subsequently purchased for the Berlin museums in 1836: see Trippen 1938, p. 64). Sir Joshua Reynolds stopped briefly in Cologne in 1781 and made a point of seeing the picture "at Mad. de Groote of the family of Jabac." "Mad. de Groote" would seem to indicate that the picture he saw was the version on Glockengasse, and in view of the differences between the two variants it is interesting that Reynolds identified the bust of Minerva as depicting Alexander the Great and Lebrun's self-image as a painting rather than a reflection in a framed mirror, and, moreover, that he commented on "a heaviness over the picture" (see References for the entire description). He also made a quick sketch of the figure of Helena (see Additional Images, fig. 8, for the page from his travel album). As noted above, the Berlin version was destroyed in World War II, but it is that picture that, because of its accessibility, appears most frequently in the literature, while the MMA version became largely forgotten, squirreled away in a British country house until being offered for sale in 2013. Baumeister (1926–27), however, provided ample evidence for the very different status of the two pictures, citing in particular a letter of 19 August 1798 from Franz Ferdinand Wallraf in which the Berlin version is described as "not entirely finished by Le Brun" and "perhaps in poor state": "Maison de Jabach.—Le portrait de Le Brun vendu par la familie odio commujnitatis aux banquier hopp [sic for Hope] present en Angleterre; mais on avait deux ici, l'autre, quoique peniblement, pas achevé partout de La Brun, existe encore peutêtre en mauvais état chez la familie de Groote, parente de Jabach." In fact, the MMA picture shows extensive compositional changes and pentimenti indicating that it is unquestionably the prime version. What remains to be established is the means of repeating the composition and the reasons for the various changes Le Brun introduced but did not repeat in the second version (for which, see comments below). As noted by Wallraf, the MMA painting was acquired in 1792 by the Boston-born Scot Henry Hope (1735–1811), who made his fortune in the Netherlands (he was a major financial backer of the Dutch East India Company). It is possible that the picture had been recommended to him by Reynolds, who painted Hope’s portrait in 1788 (lost, but known from a mezzotint). Hope’s collection, numbering over 350 paintings, was installed in his London house on Harley Street following his flight from Holland in 1794 to escape the upheavals of the French Revolution. In 1832 the Le Brun was acquired by John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax, who installed the picture in Olantigh Towers, Kent, where it remained until its sale to the Museum (see Additional Images, fig. 9; the house changed hands, but the picture was evidently considered part of its furnishings. A fire in 1903 severely damaged the house and it was perhaps at this date that the upper part of the canvas was folded over to accommodate the picture to its reduced setting; this area has been unfolded, and the picture now has its original dimensions).

Description: A large damask curtain is theatrically drawn back to reveal a richly appointed interior—presumably a room in the Hôtel Jabach in Paris. Everhard Jabach, dressed in black and seated somewhat apart, is accompanied by his family: his wife Anna Maria née de Groote (died 1701) and their four children (from left to right): Everhard the Younger (1656–1721), Hélène (1654–1701), Heinrich (1658–1703; see Baumeister 1926–27, pp. 212–13), and Anna Maria (1649–1706). A pet whippet seated on an Ushak carpet of unusual design (see correspondence with Walter Denny in departmental files) looks up adoringly to the marvelous and striking figure of Anna Maria, who is richly dressed in a flowered brocade and wears a string of blue beads; strands of hair on both sides of her face are tied with blue ribbons. She lovingly attends to her infant brother, who is posed proudly on a velvet cushion. Jabach, watched by his adoring son and heir, gestures with his right hand towards an assemblage of objects symbolizing his cultural interests: a Bible, an open copy of Sebastiano Serlio’s architectural treatise, a porte crayon with three colors of chalk (a preliminary study in the Louvre for Heinrich, for which see below, is, in fact, drawn in three colors), a rolled drawing of a head, an ancient marble bust of a philosopher (compare to the two busts owned by Richelieu and illustrated in M. Montembault and John Schloder, L’album Canini du Louvre et la collection d’antique de Richelieu, Paris, 1988, p. 297, figs. 97, 98), a compass and measuring stick, a book (for literature and poetry), and a celestial globe (for astronomy, conceivably by the famous Dutch maker Willem Jansz Blaeu [1571–1638]; see Additional Images, fig. 10). The volume of Serlio is open to the chapter on geometry and shows illustrations for a pyramidal plane angle (inscribed "Ango / lo piano"), a rhombus ("Rhombo"), an illustration for measuring an irregular shaped area by reducing it to triangles and rectangles ("Forma de diversi & ine / quali lati"), and a method for enlarging a square to whatever dimensions might be necessary. These illustrations occur on different pages of the treatise: 1r, 1v, 6v, 5v in the edition published in Paris in 1545 (see Additional Images, figs. 11, 12). Most prominent among these objects is the bust of Minerva, goddess of wisdom and the arts. She is identified by her distinctive helmet, which is decorated with a ram’s head, and by the Medusa on her breastplate. Whether Le Brun reproduced an actual bust or freely invented one cannot be said with certainty (see, for example, the bust of Minerva, also known as the "Mazarin Alexander," 2nd and 17th century A.D., porphyry on metal, in the Musée du Louvre, Paris; Ma 3385, MR 1633). Propped behind Jabach is a black-framed mirror in which is reflected Le Brun himself, at work on a canvas. The picture thus becomes a testament to the close relations of patron and artist as well as a sort of allegory of painting. There is an obvious analogy with Velázquez’s Las Meninas (1657; Museo del Prado, Madrid), painted only a few years earlier. The furnishings of the room are an important document of a particularly prestigious interior. The back wall is decorated with two superimposed landscapes in gilded frames—one circular, the other rectangular; the circular one depicts a storm while the rectangular one shows a calm, thus introducing the theme of the contrasting moods of Nature, perhaps inspired by Poussin's two canvases of 1651 for the Parisian collector Jean Pointel (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Rouen, and J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles). Atop a marble bracket is a gilded bronze group by the Florentine sculptor Antonio Susini (active 1572–1624; see Additional Images, fig. 13) of a lion attacking a horse, a version of the celebrated ancient marble group of the same subject on the Campidoglio in Rome. An unidentified Roman marble sculpture is visible behind the column on the right of the composition. The two landscapes decorating the wall are of a type often associated with Gaspard Dughet but also show affinities with the work of Francisque Millet, who would only have been eighteen at the time, but whose work Jabach admired, employing the artist both for independent compositions as well as for copies of the work of other artists (by 1695 Jabach owned fifty-seven paintings by Millet, thirty-six of which were copies after Titian, Domenichino, Guido Reni, Annibale Carracci, Poussin, and others). It ought also to be remembered that Le Brun had enlisted specialists for the landscape decoration in the Hôtel Lambert. On the opposite wall, reflected in the mirror, is a cast of a famous ancient relief, the Borghese dancers, one of the most admired works of ancient art, a cast of which was made for Louis XIII in 1641 on the advice of Poussin (see F. Haskell and N. Penny, Taste and the Antique, New Haven, 1981, p. 193); François Anguier (1604–1669) then made a bronze cast, also for the king and now in the Wallace Collection, London. It is worth pointing out that half the composition is given over to Jabach, the emblems of his cultural interests, and the mirror with Le Brun’s reflection, while the other half is occupied by his family. His gesture towards the books and objects around the bust of Minerva is counterbalanced by the turn of his head towards his wife. In this way, the portrait at once alludes to the importance of Jabach’s intellectual pursuits and his affection for his family. It is his young heir, leaning forward eagerly, who bridges these two worlds. The composition combines the domestic intimacy and descriptive richness of Dutch painting, which Jabach greatly admired, and the elegant formal organization and allegorical allusions characteristic of French art.

Compositional changes: Throughout the painting there are adjustments to contours and to details, indicative of Le Brun’s engagement with the picture. The major compositional change occurs in the placement and features of the bust of Minerva. Originally, the bust in the MMA picture was identical in placement and appearance to what is seen in the version formerly in Berlin. The books that, in the Berlin version, accompany the Bible were also present in the MMA version. The upper contour of the red presentation blanket on which Heinrich is posed was also identical in both versions but was subsequently altered in the MMA picture. It would therefore seem that the pictures were carried out simultaneously and were initially intended to be identical, and based on the same design or cartoon. However, as work proceeded on the MMA picture Le Brun continued to make changes that were not carried over in the Berlin version, which from the outset must have been destined for Jabach’s wife’s relatives in Cologne. This kind of relationship between an autograph painting and workshop replica, in which the master concerned himself chiefly with the prime version, was not an unusual practice and, as kindly pointed out by Javier Portus, can readily be seen in the autograph and workshop variant Velázquez produced of Philip IV as Hunter (Museo del Prado, Madrid, and Musée Goya, Castres). A simple comparison of the high resolution image of the Berlin version with that in the MMA fully substantiates the report of Wallraf in 1798 (cited above) as to the superiority of the MMA version.

There is a study for the figure of Heinrich in the Louvre (inv. 28871 recto; see Additional Images, fig. 14). A pencil drawing after the painting in the Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne (inv. 1923/69), may be the one mentioned by Mering and Reischert (1838) as made by the artist Egidius Mengelberg (1770–1849) in 1786 when the picture was in the collection of Canon Johann Matthias von Bors.

[Keith Christiansen 2015]
Within this blog series can be found a history of the treatment of the picture.
Everhard Jabach, Hôtel Jabach, rue Neuve-Saint-Merri, Paris (ca. 1660–d. 1695; inv., 1696, no. 647); his widow, Anna Maria de Groote, Hôtel Jabach (1695–d. 1701); their son, Everhard Jabach, Sternengasse 25, Cologne (1701–d. 1721); by descent to Canon Johann Matthias von Bors, Sternengasse 25, Cologne (1778–92; sold through Ferdinand Franz Wallraf to Mechel); Christian von Mechel, Basel (1792; sold for 10,000 thalers to Hope); Henry Hope, Welgelegen, Haarlem, later London (1792–d. 1811; his estate sale, Christie's, London, June 27, 1816, no. 90, as "The Family of Iabac, the Sculptor," for £48.6, to Taylor); George Watson Taylor, London and Erlestoke Park, near Devizes, Wiltshire (1816–32; his sale, Robins, Erlestoke Park, July 24, 1832, no. 93, for £23.2, to Erle-Drax); John Samuel Wanley Sawbridge Erle-Drax, Olantigh, near Wye, Kent (1832–d. 1887); his nephew, Wanley Ellis Sawbridge Erle-Drax, Olantigh (1887–d. 1927); Erle-Drax family, Olantigh (1927–35; house and contents sold to Loudon); Francis William Hope Loudon, Olantigh (1935–d. 1985); by descent to a private collection, Olantigh (until 2014)
Mémoire, Estats, Inventaire et Règlements de droits dans la famille de feu Sieur Évrard Jabach, et de dame Anne-Marie de Groot, sa veuve. July 17, 1696, no. 647 [Archives de la Bibliothèque du Louvre, Paris; Inventaire A.DD-1; published in Grouchy 1894], as "La famille de M. Le Brun," valued at 3,000 livres.

Claude Nivelon. Vie de Charles Le Brun et description détaillée de ses ouvrages. ca. 1699 [whereabouts unknown, copy in Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, Français 12987; published in Lorenzo Pericolo, ed., Geneva, 2004, p. 240], states that Le Brun, "uni d'amitié et d'inclination avec le sieur Jabach," painted a portrait of his friend's family, about sixteen feet long, very beautiful.

[Johann Heinrich Merck]. "Eine mahlerische Reise nach Coln, Bensberg und Düsseldorf." Der Teutsche Merkur no. 3 (1778), pp. 114–16, sees it in the Jabach house in Cologne, describing it admiringly.

Sir Joshua Reynolds. Notebook entry. 1781, p. 89r [Collection Frits Lugt, Fondation Custodia, Paris, MS 6169; see Mount 1996, pp. 139–40], in a traveling notebook associated with his manuscript "A Journey to Flanders and Holland" (British Library, London, Egerton MS 2165, p. 172r; published in Malone 1797, p. 113) writes of seeing "at Cologne at Mad. de Groote of the family of Jabac" (i.e., the version sold to the Berlin museum in 1836): "The Family of Jabac by Le Brun; it is in the possession of his heirs; his wife between four children, much superior to what I could conceive Le Brun capable of doing in the portrait style. She is sitting on his left hand, with four children about her, and a greyhound, equally correct and well painted with the rest. Jabac himself is much in shadow except the face. Le Brun himself is represented by his picture on a canvas I think on an easel. Before him lye prints, drawings, port-crayons, and a large gold bust of Alexander. The heads themselves are equal to the best of Vandick; but there is a heaviness over the picture, which Vandick never had, and this is its only defect".

Reize langs den Neder-Rhyn . . . en Oogstmaand des Jaars MDCCLXXXIV door een Gezelschap uit eene der Nederlandsche Steden gedaan. Kampen, 1785, p. 138, notes seeing it in the house of Baron Hupke in Cologne [probably leased to him by Von Bors, who according to Baumeister 1926–27 did not himself live in the house he inherited].

[Alexandre-Louis-Bertrand Robineau, called de Beaunoir]. Voyage sur le Rhin, depuis Mayence jusqu'à Düsseldorf. Neuwied, 1791, vol. 2, pp. 124–25, describes seeing it at the "Jabachischehaus," where Rubens is said to have been born (i.e., the house on Sternengasse), in Cologne, calling it a true masterpiece.

Friedrich Leopold Graf zu Stolberg. Reise in Deutschland, der Schweiz, Italien und Sicilien. Königsberg, 1794, vol. 1, p. 24, records seeing it in the Jabach house in Cologne in summer 1791, noting that it is installed in its own room and that the public is always welcome to view it.

Edmond Malone. The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt., Late President of the Royal Academy. London, 1797, vol. 2, p. 113 n., mistakenly identifies the picture seen by Reynolds in 1781 as the version "now (1794) in the collection of Mr. Hope of Amsterdam," whereas it has now been determined that Reynolds saw the version later sold to the Berlin museum.

Freye Bemerkungen auf einer Reise in den Rheingegenden. Leipzig, 1797, pp. 412–13 n., does not see the picture himself, but quotes from Stolberg 1794.

Nicolaus Vogt, [Nicolaus Vogt, and Alois Wilhelm Schreiber]. Mahlerische Ansichten des Rheins von Mainz bis Düsseldorf. Frankfurt, 1806, vol. 3, p. 63, mistakenly still locate the picture in "das Ibachische Haus" where Rubens was born, in Cologne.

[Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe. Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit. part 3, Tübingen, 1814, 14th book, pp. 437–38, records having seen Le Brun's portrait in the Jabach house ("Jabachs Wohnung") in Cologne in the summer of 1774 (apparently the MMA version).

[Johann Wolfgang von] Goethe. Ueber Kunst und Alterthum in den Rhein und Mayn Gegenden. Stuttgart, 1816, vol. 1, p. 3, having travelled through Cologne again in 1815, notes that the picture is still there and worthy of being the jewel of a public institution.

Joseph Gregor Lang. Reise auf dem Rhein von Mainz bis Düsseldorf. 3rd ed. Frankfurt, 1818, vol. 2, pp. 254–55 [1st ed., 1790], as in the Jabach house, where Rubens was born, in Cologne.

Köln und Bonn mit ihren Umgebungen. Cologne, 1828, p. 117, describes in detail the portrait then still in the de Groote house on Glockenstrasse [Glockengasse] in Cologne, mentioning that a repetition had been in the Jabach house on Sternengasse until the last decade of the previous century.

Fried. Ev. von Mering and Ludwig Reischert. Zur Geschichte der Stadt Köln am Rhein. Vol. 1, Cologne, 1838, pp. 279–80, state that the artist Egidius Mengelberg drew the painting in 1786 when it was in Cologne in the collection of von Bors, who had inherited it, and that Hope of Amsterdam bought the picture for 10,000 thalers.

[Georges] Guillet de Saint-Georges in L. Dussieux et al. Mémoires inédits sur la vie et les ouvrages des membres de l'Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture. Paris, 1854, p. 8.

J[ohann]. J[acob]. Merlo. Die Familie Jabach zu Köln und ihre Kunstliebe. Cologne, 1861, pp. 55–58, seemingly conflates the two versions and their respective provenances, discussing as a single picture the two versions seen by Goethe at the Jabach house on Sternengasse, one in 1774 and the other in 1815, adding (incorrectly) that the painting was later in the possession of relatives on Glockengasse, from where it was sold in 1836 to the Berlin museum; mentions that there is said to have been a copy belonging to Jabach’s descendants; states (again incorrectly) that both versions were in Jabach’s house on Sternengasse, one leaving at the end of the preceding century and the other remaining after the house became a magistrate’s court (“Friedensgericht”) in 1835; provides biographical details on the Jabach family; dates the picture about 1660–61 based on the ages of the children.

L[ouis]. Clément de Ris. Les amateurs d'autrefois. Paris, 1877, pp. 133–35, dates it about 1660 and locates it the Berlin museum; describes the composition with some inaccuracies, claiming that Henri (Heinrich) died in 1703 at the age of forty-eight.

vicomte de Grouchy. "Éverhard Jabach: collectionneur parisien (1695)." Mémoires de la Société de l'Histoire de Paris et de L'Ile-de-France 21 (1894), pp. 242–43 n. 5, p. 281, no. 647, mentions the composition and locates it in the Berlin museum; publishes the Jabach estate inventory of 1696.

Wilhelm Baumeister. "Zur Geschichte des Lebrunschen Jabachbildes." Wallraf-Richartz Jahrbuch 3–4 (1926–27), pp. 211–21, discusses in detail the provenance of the two versions, identifying the one sold to Henry Hope as the original, whereabouts unknown (now MMA), and the Berlin painting as a replica probably sent by Jabach to his relatives in Cologne, noting that the latter is recorded in the de Groote house in 1694; dates the composition late 1660 based on the ages of the children, giving Heinrich's birth year as 1658; discusses the Wallraf-Richartz pencil drawing, noting that the bust of Minerva differs from that in the Berlin composition; cites letters between Van Mechel and Wallraf indicating that a drawing and possibly an engraving after the picture were made at the time of its sale in 1791–92.

Wilhelm Baumeister. "An Inquiry." Apollo 3 (January–June 1926), p. 248, requests information on the whereabout of this version of the composition, which he calls probably a copy.

Otto H. Förster. Kölner Kunstsammler. Berlin, 1931, pp. 50, 53–55, 140 n. 114, p. 141 n. 124, notes that Baumeister (1926–27) has convincingly argued that the Berlin version is not the original.

Charles Sterling. Les peintres de la réalité en France au XVIIe siècle. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1934, pp. 84–85, under no. 57 [reprinted in P. Georgel, "Orangerie, 1934: Les 'Peintres de la réalité'," exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, 2006, pp. 194–95].

Wilhelm Baumeister. "Das Jabachsche Familienbild im Berliner Museum." Westdeutsches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte: Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 10 (1938), pp. 195, 199, 201, identifes the prime version then on the Sternengasse as the one seen by Goethe in 1774 and notes that it was considered a special attraction of Cologne for travelers to the city, a role that the de Groote version later took on, after the other was sold.

Peter Paul Trippen. Jabach: Die "Fugger-Familie" des Westens. Cologne, 1938, pp. 43–45, 50, 56–63, states that Jabach commissioned both versions at the end of 1660, keeping one at his hôtel in Paris and sending the other to his wife's family in Cologne; adds that the first version went to the Jabach house in Cologne after his death; notes that von Bors came into possession of this house in 1778, leased it out, and sold the family portrait in 1792 to Hope in Holland; notes that during the years the picture was in Cologne it was seen as a special ornament of the city and attracted many admirers; states that the 1792 sale went unnoticed by the outside world, but was much lamented within the city, although the other version, in the de Groote house since about 1662, was still in Cologne.

Anthony Blunt. "The Early Work of Charles Lebrun—II." Burlington Magazine 85 (August 1944), pp. 193–94, concurs with Baumeister (1926–27) on dating the composition 1600 and on identifying the Berlin version as a replica; remarks on the debt to Dutch group portraits.

F. Grossmann. "Holbein, Flemish Paintings and Everhard Jabach." Burlington Magazine 93 (January 1951), p. 19, notes that Baumeister has shown that the original version is the one sold to Henry Hope (now MMA).

Horst Vey. "Die Bildnisse Everhard Jabachs." Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 29 (1967), pp. 168–72, identifies the prime version as the one seen by Goethe in 1774, adding that after purchasing the painting in 1791, Von Mechel resold it immediately to Hope; states that the drawing in Cologne cannot be definitely attributed to Mengelberg; records Heinrich's birth date as December 1659 and his baptism as January 1660, leading him to date the picture late 1660–early 1661, with a terminus ante quem of April 1661, when the fifth child, Anna Katharina, was baptized; mentions that there is a study for Heinrich in the Louvre; notes that the second version is mentioned in 1697 as part of Jabach's brother-in-law's (Heinrich de Groote) children's inheritance and that it remained with the family until 1836, when it was auctioned off, going to the Berlin Museum in 1837.

Christopher Hussey. "Olantigh, Near Wye, Kent—III." Country Life 146 (August 7, 1969), p. 337, figs. 6, 7 (installation views).

Ursula Voss. Everhard IV. Jabach: Ein Kölner Sammlerfürst im Ancien Régime. Cologne, 1979, p. 27.

Antoine Schnapper. Collections et collectionneurs dans la France du XVIIe siècle. Vol. 2, Oeuvres d'art, curieux du grand siècle. Paris, 1994, p. 277.

Harry Mount, ed. A Journey to Flanders and Holland. By Sir Joshua Reynolds. Cambridge, 1996, pp. 139–40, 181 n. 749, identifies the picture seen by Reynolds as the Berlin version, given by Jabach to his brother-in-law Heinrich de Groote; calls the whereabouts of the MMA version, acquired after 1791 by Henry Hope, unknown.

Alexandra Skliar-Piguet in The Dictionary of Art. Ed. Jane Turner. Vol. 16, New York, 1996, p. 815, dates it 1660 and states that Jabach built his second collection around this work, mistakenly identifying it as the Berlin version.

Emmanuel Coquery in Visages du Grand Siècle: Le portrait français sous le règne de Louis XIV, 1660–1715. Exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes. Paris, 1997, p. 57, ill. p. 59, as private collection, Great Britain; dates it about 1657–59; calls it a highlight of Le Brun's oeuvre, a French "Las Meninas".

Horst Vey in Der Riss im Himmel: Clemens August und seine Epoche. Ed. Werner Schäfke. Vol. 1, Coellen eyn Croyn: Renaissance und Barock in Köln. Cologne, 1999, p. 155 n. 54.

Antoine Schnapper. "Everard Jabach: Von Deutschland nach Frankreich." Jenseits der Grenzen: Französische und deutsche Kunst vom Ancien Régime bis zur Gegenwart. Ed. Uwe Fleckner et al. Cologne, 2000, pp. 108–9, 111 n. 32, based on a supposed birthdate of 1660 for the baby, Heinrich, dates it to the end of 1661 or 1662.

Bernadette Py. Everhard Jabach collectionneur (1618–1695): les dessins de l'inventaire de 1695. Paris, 2001, p. 11.

Bénédicte Gady. L'ascension de Charles Le Brun: Liens sociaux et production artistique. Paris, 2010, pp. 230, 462 n. 776, presumes the version in an English private collection (now MMA) to be an autograph replica or copy with variations after the Berlin work, although noting that Baumeister has identified the Berlin painting as a replica.

Clare Baron. "A Pedagogical Model of Patronage: Education, Imitation, and the Role of Copies in the Collection of Everhard Jabach (1618–1695)." Master's thesis, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2012, pp. 1–2, 6–18, 20, 23, 37–38, fig. 1 (installation view from Hussey 1969).

Olivia Savatier Sjöholm in Un Allemand à la cour de Louis XIV: De Dürer à Van Dyck, la collection nordique d'Everhard Jabach. Ed. Blaise Ducos and Olivia Savatier Sjöholm. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre. Paris, 2013, p. 41.

Didier Rykner. "The Jabach Family by Charles Le Brun Joins the Met." The Art Tribune. May 16, 2014, pp. 1–2, fig. 1 (color) [http://www.thearttribune.com/The-Jabach-Family-by-Charles-Le.html].

R[ita]. Wagner. "Weltkunst in der Sternengasse." Museenkoeln: Bild der Woche. March 31–April 6, 2014, ill. (color) [http://www.museenkoeln.de/home/bild-der-woche.aspx?bdw=2014_13], states that the Berlin version was moved from the de Groote house on Glockengasse to the Jabach house on Sternengasse after the MMA version was sold, and that it is the Berlin version that Goethe saw there in 1815.

Rita Wagner. "Kölner Kunstsammler und Global Player: Von der Sternengasse nach Paris—Die Familie Jabach." Köln in unheiligen Zeiten: Die Stadt im Dreißigjährigen Krieg. Ed. Stefan Lewejohann. Cologne, 2014, p. 124, ill. (color), reviews the history of the family and Jabach’s collecting.

Keith Christiansen. "La création tardive d'une collection de peintures baroques au Metropolitan Museum of Art / Creating a Baroque Collection at the Metropolitan Late in the Game." Aux origines d'un goût: la peinture baroque aux États-Unis / Creating the Taste for Baroque Painting in America. Paris, 2015, pp. 63, 70.

Stephan Wolohojian. "Le Brun en Amérique: l'entrée de deux nouvelles toiles au Metropolitan Museum of Art / Le Brun in America: Two New Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art." Aux origines d'un goût: la peinture baroque aux États-Unis / Creating the Taste for Baroque Painting in America. Paris, 2015, pp. 75–76, 79–81, 82 nn. 25–26, pp. 83, 85–86, 87 nn. 25–26, fig. 2 (color).

Peter Noelke. "Kölner Antikensammlungen und -Studien vom Humanismus bis zur Aufklärung und ihr Kontext im deutschen Sprachraum." Kölner Jahrbuch 49 (2016 [forthcoming]), p. 68.

Bénédicte Gady and Nicolas Milovanovic in Charles Le Brun (1619–1690). Ed. Bénédicte Gady and Nicolas Milovanovic. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre-Lens. Lens, 2016, p. 17, fig. 1 (color).

Bénédicte Gady in Charles Le Brun (1619–1690). Ed. Bénédicte Gady and Nicolas Milovanovic. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre-Lens. Lens, 2016, pp. 77, 123, under no. 30, pp. 165, 188, under no. 68, p. 210, under no. 80.

Anne le Pas de Sécheval in Charles Le Brun (1619–1690). Ed. Bénédicte Gady and Nicolas Milovanovic. Exh. cat., Musée du Louvre-Lens. Lens, 2016, p. 19.

Mickaël Szanto. "L'affaire Jabach: Charles Le Brun et les tableaux de Louis XIV." Revue de l'art no. 192 (2016), p. 9, fig. 1 (color).

Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, pp. 279, 290, no. 241, ill. pp. 235, 290 (color).



See a series of blog posts about this picture.
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