National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Marchesa Balbi Sir Anthony van Dyck (artist)
Flemish, 1599 - 1641
Marchesa Balbi, c. 1623
oil on canvas
overall: 196.5 x 133.8 cm (77 3/8 x 52 11/16 in.)
Andrew W. Mellon Collection
On View
From the Tour: Sir Anthony van Dyck
Object 4 of 15


Balbi family Genoa, until 1819. Possibly Auguste de Sivry, Venice.[1] Baron John Benjamin Heath [1790-1879, British consul at Genoa]; sold 1836, in London, to Robert Staynor Holford [1802-1892], Dorchester House, London; by inheritance to his son, Sir George Lindsay Holford, K.C.V.O. [1860-1926], Dorchester House; his estate; purchased February 1926 by (Duveen Brothers, Inc., London, New York, and Paris);[2] purchased February 1926 by Andrew W. Mellon, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.; deeded 28 December 1934 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[3] gift 1937 to NGA.

[1] Giorgio Balbi (letter of 14 August 1958, in NGA curatorial files) wrote that he knew the painting was in the Palazzo Balbi until 1819. It was not certain when the painting was sold by the family, or by which member of the family.

Michael Jaffé, in Bernhart Schwenk and Bettina-Martine Wolder, eds., Kunst in der Republik Genua 1528-1815, exh. cat., Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 1992: 65-66, discusses some of the possibilities. Additional provenance information is suggested by Pietro Boccardo ("Ritratti di Genovesi di Rubens e di van Dyck: contesto e identificazioni," in Susan J. Barnes and Arthur K. Wheelock, Jr., eds., Van Dyck 350, Hanover and London, 1994: 88, 97 note 41), who notes that Giorgio Balbi, in his article "Fatti e misfatti di un palazzo Balbi," Genova (1958): 29 note 7, indicates that he owned a lithograph by P. Vogt, published by Barozzi in Venice, that depicts Marchesa Balbi. This lithograph identifies the owner of the painting as Auguste de Sivry in Venice (" la marquise Balbi de Genes. L'original appartient à Monsieur Auguste de Sivry à Venise"). Although the date of the lithograph is not known, this information seems to indicate that the painting was sold by the Balbi family to Auguste de Sivry before it entered the collection of Baron Heath.

[2] Provenance prior to Mellon is according to Anthony van Dyck, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1990: 144.

[3] Mellon purchase date and date deeded to trust is according to Mellon records in NGA curatorial files and David Finley's notebook donated to the National Gallery of Art in 1977, now in the Gallery Archives.

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