National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Ill-Matched Lovers Quentin Massys (artist)
Netherlandish, 1466 - 1530
Ill-Matched Lovers, c. 1520/1525
oil on panel
overall: 43.2 x 63 cm (17 x 24 13/16 in.) framed: 61.6 x 81.3 x 7.6 cm (24 1/4 x 32 x 3 in.)
Ailsa Mellon Bruce Fund
1971.55.1
On View
From the Tour: Antwerp in the Early 1500s
Object 4 of 7

Provenance

Probably Steven Wils the younger [d. 1628], Antwerp.[1] Probably Herman Neyt [d. 1642], Antwerp.[2] James-Alexandre, comte de Pourtalès-Gorgier [1776-1855], Paris; his heirs; (Pourtalès-Gorgier sale, his hôtel, Paris, 27 March-4 April 1865, no. 176). Comtesse de Pourtalès;[3] Comte Edmond de Pourtalès [d. 1895], Paris, by 1888;[4] by descent to Comtesse de Pourtalès, Paris.[5] Count Bismarck, Paris and New York, by the late 1940's.[6] (Spencer A. Samuels, New York), by 1969; purchased 7 October 1971 by NGA.

[1] Inventory of 6 July 1628, no. 62. Jan Denucé, The Antwerp Art Galleries: Inventories of the Art-Collections in Antwerp in the 16th and 17th Centuries, (The Hague, 1932): 49, "Item. een stucxken van Meester Quinten, daer een honge brouwe den ouden man om de bourse vryt." Several authors, beginning with Henri Hymans, "Quentin Matsys," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 2e per., 38 (1888), 205, and including Walter Cohen, Studien zu Quentin Metsys (Munich, 1904), 71-72; S. Speth-Holterhoff, Les Peintres flamands de cabinets d'amateurs au XVIIe siècle (Brussels, 1957), 16 and Andrée de Bosque, Quentin Massys (Brussels, 1975), 194, have associated the Ill-Matched Lovers with the Card Players by Massys, which was in the collection of Peeter Stevens, Antwerp, in the first half of the seventeenth century and is described in Alexander van Fornenberg's 1658 biography of Massys, Den Antwerpschen Protheus, ofte Cyclopschen Apelles.... From Van Fornenberg's careful description, which reads in part, "Het Derde is een Stuck van vier Figuren twee Mans-persoonen, ende twee Vroukens, staende om een Tafel, sijn doende met een uytheyms spel meest in Polen en Duyts-landt bekent" (quoted from J. Briels, "Amator Pictoriae Artis. De Antwerpse kunstverzamelaar Peeter Stevens (1590-1688) en zijn Constkamer," Jaarboek van het Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen (1980): 192, n. 149), it is clear that another painting was in Stevens' collection.

[2] Inventory of 15-21 October 1642, no. 4. Jan Denucé, The Antwerp Art Galleries: Inventories of the Art-Collections in Antwerp in the 16th and 17th Centuries (The Hague, 1932), 94. "Een stuck van Quinten, wesende een out man met honge vrouwe ende eene sot, in ebbenhoute lyste, gen. no. 4."

[3] Unverified, but annotated in the copy of the sales catalogue in the NGA. The Getty Provenance Index cites Pillet, Escribe as the establishment where the 1865 Paris sale took place.

[4] Mentioned as owner in Henri Hymans, "Quentin Matsys," Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 2e per., 38 (1888), 205.

[5] Spencer A. Samuels, in conversation 11 July 1984, stated that the painting remained with the Pourtalès family until after World War II.

[6] Spencer A. Samuels, in conversation 11 July 1984 and 20 May 1985. It has not been possible to identify clearly Count Bismarck.

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