National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of The Annunciation Jan van Eyck (artist)
Netherlandish, c. 1390 - 1441
The Annunciation, c. 1434/1436
oil on canvas transferred from panel
painted surface: 90.2 x 34.1 cm (35 1/2 x 13 7/16 in.) support: 92.7 x 36.7 cm (36 1/2 x 14 7/16 in.) framed: 102.2 x 55.9 x 8.9 cm (40 1/4 x 22 x 3 1/2 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
Not on View
From the Tour: Netherlandish Painting in the 1400s
Object 3 of 9


Possibly the Chartreuse de Champmol, near Dijon.[1] Sale, Paris, 1819. (Charles J. Nieuwenhuys, Brussels). William II, King of the Netherlands [d. 1849], in Brussels until 1841, thereafter The Hague;[2] (sale, The Hague, 12 August 1850, no. 1); bought by Bruni for Czar Nicholas I of Russia [d. 1855], Saint Petersburg; Imperial Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg;[3] purchased June 1930 through (Matthiesen Gallery, Berlin; P. & D. Colnaghi & Co., London; and M. Knoedler & Co., New York) by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 5 June 1931 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh; gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] C.J. Nieuwenhuys, Description de la Galerie des Tableaux de S.M. le Roi des Pays-Bas, (Brussels, 1843), 2, on the history of the painting says: "D'après les meilleurs renseignements qu'on a pu obtenir, ce tableau faisait suite à deux autres peintures du même maitre; il a été peint pour Philippe le Bon, duc de Bourgogne, et destiné à orner un monument réligieux à Dijon." S. Reinach, "Three Early Panels from the Ducal Residence at Dijon," Burlington Magazine 50 (1927), 239, published a fragmentary description written in 1791 of three paintings kept in the Prior's room, but originally in the ducal chapel of the Chartreuse de Champmol. This reads in part: "Dans la chambre du Prieur on conserve deux tableaux sur bois dans le genre des premiers peintres flamands, qui proviennent des chapelles [sic] des Ducs: ils ont environ 4 pieds de haut. Le premier, d'à peu près un pied de large, est un Annonciation..." Although the dimensions do not match those of the Gallery's painting, the general shape is similar and the tall, narrow format is rather unusual for a Netherlandish Annunciation. Nieuwenhuys' statement that the painting came from Dijon, coupled with the 1791 description, raises the possibility that 1937.1.39 is identical with the painting mentioned as being in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The manuscript is in the Bibliothèque Publique, Dijon, Ms. 88, fol. 53.

[2] Nieuwenhuys 1843 (as per n. 1 above), 2; in 1841 the works of art were transported from Brussels to a gallery built for them in The Hague.

[3] The Getty Provenance Index lists The J. Paul Getty Museum's copy of the auction catalogue as its source for the name of the agent Bruni (who is not listed in the provenance as it is published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue).

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