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 Wolfgang von Goethe. Aus meinem Leben: Dichtung und Wahrheit. 1778 [reprinted in "Goethe's Werke: Nach den vorzüglichsten Quellen," Berlin: G. Hempel, (1879?), vol. 22, p. 166], records seeing it in the Jabach house in Cologne in the summer of 1774.
[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. September 1781, p. 89r [Collection Frits Lugt, Institut Néerlandais, Paris, MS 6169; see Mount 1996, p. 140], in a traveling notebook associated with his manuscript "A Journey to Flanders and Holland," writes "Memm I have desired Baro Harold of Dusseldorp to bid for the LeBrun so far as 250 Ducats and for the Albert Durer [possibly the portrait of the artist's father in the National Gallery, London; NG1938] thirty Ducats".
Sir Joshua Reynolds. A Journey to Flanders and Holland. 1781, p. 172r [British Library, London, Egerton MS 2165; published in Malone 1797, p. 113, and Mount 1996, pp. 139–40], states "At Cologne, in the possession of one of the family of Jabac, is the famous picture, by Le Brun, containing the portrait of Jabac, his wife, and four children. It is 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 is represented by his picture on a canvas which is placed on an easel: before him lie prints, drawings, port-crayons, and a large gold bust of Alexander. The portraits are equal to the best of Vandyck; but there is a heaviness in the effect of the picture, which Vandyck 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" 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.
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.
Edmond Malone. The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Knt., Late President of the Royal Academy. London, 1797, vol. 2, p. 113 n., notes that the picture seen by Reynolds in 1781 "is now (1794) in the collection of Mr. Hope of Amsterdam".
[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 the Jabach house in Cologne.
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 in Cologne.
Köln und Bonn mit ihren Umgebungen. Cologne, 1828, p. 117, describes in detail the portrait then still in the de Groote house in Cologne, mentioning that a repetition had been in the Jabach house until the last decade of the previous century.
Fried. Ev. von Mering and Ludwig Reischert. Zur Geschichte der Stadt Köln am Rhein. 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, provides biographical details on the Jabach family; states that the picture was sold at auction in Cologne in 1836 and acquired by the Berlin museum; dates it about 1660–61 based on the ages of the children; mentions a repetition belonging to Jabach's descendants.
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. "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.
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 MMA picture as the original, whereabouts unknown, and the Berlin painting as a replica probably sent by Jabach to his relatives in Cologne; dates it 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.
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.
Wilhelm Baumeister. "Das Jabachsche Familienbild im Berliner Museum." Westdeutsches Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte: Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch 10 (1938), pp. 195, 199, 201, identifes the MMA work as the version seen by Goethe in 1774 and notes that it was considered a special attraction of Cologne for travelers to the city.
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 MMA picture as the prime version and 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. "Oeuvres d'art, curieux du grand siècle." Collections et collectionneurs dans la France du XVIIe siècle. 2, Paris, 1994, p. 277.
Sir Joshua Reynolds. A Journey to Flanders and Holland. 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. 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 "Coellen eyn Croyn: Renaissance und Barock in Köln." Der Riss im Himmel: Clemens August und seine Epoche. 1, 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. 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 MMA picture to be an autograph replica or copy with variations after the Berlin work.
Olivia Savatier Sjöholm in Un Allemand à la cour de Louis XIV: De Dürer à Van Dyck, la collection nordique d'Everhard Jabach. 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. 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.