Overview

In this tender image of a mother and daughter, Anthony van Dyck has conveyed the full extent of his artistic abilities. Even in a formal portrait like this one, he has ably captured the warmth, love, and reassurance of the parent-child relationship through gaze, gesture, and even bearing. The woman is almost certainly Susanna Fourment, identified by a drawing of Van Dyck's one-time mentor and frequent collaborator Peter Paul Rubens, and her only daughter, Clara. Rubens was married to Susanna's sister-in-law Isabella Brant, and it was probably through Rubens that Van Dyck received the commission for this portrait.

With its combination of informality and grandeur, as well as the extraordinary naturalism of the figures' expressions and gestures, the painting bears close stylistic associations with Van Dyck's other work of around 1621. He had returned to his hometown of Antwerp from England in March of that year, but left again the following October to go to Italy. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the 17th-century provenance of Susanna Fourment and Her Daughter. Although it can be assumed that the large-scale portrait was painted for Susanna's home, most likely intended for the voorkamer (front room), there are no references to the painting until 1762. When Andrew Mellon purchased the work in 1930, the painting had been attributed to Rubens, owing to its close stylistic relationship with the master's work. However, by 1941 it had been given to Van Dyck, and it has never been questioned since.

Provenance

Probably Anna Theresia van Halen; (her sale, Antwerp, 19 August 1749, no. 1); Gaillard de Gagny (receiver of finances), Grenoble;[1] (his estate sale, Pierre Remy, Paris, 29 March 1762, no. 9); purchased by Jean-Henri Eberts for Markgräfin Karoline Luise von Baden [1723-1783]; (her sale, Amsterdam, 6 March 1769, no. 3); Etienne-François, duc de Choiseul [1719-1785], Paris and Château de Canteloup, Touraine; (his sale, at his residence, Paris, 6-10 April 1772, no. 1); purchased through (Augustin Ménageot, Paris) by Prince Alexander M. Golitzyn for Catherine II, empress of Russia [1729-1796], for the Imperial Hermitage Gallery, Saint Petersburg;[2] purchased March 1930, as a painting by Peter Paul Rubens, 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 30 March 1932 to The A.W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust, Pittsburgh;[3] gift 1937 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1990
Anthony van Dyck, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1990-1991, no. 21, color repro.
Bibliography
1762
Rémy, Pierre. Catalogue raisonné des tableaux, porcelaines, bijoux et autre effects du Cabinet de Feu M. Gaillard de Gagny. Paris, 1762: 6-7, no. 9.
1771
Basan, Pierre François. Recueil d'Estampes Gravés d'après les tableaux du cabinet Monseigneur le Duc de Choisel. Paris, 1771:8, repro. pl. 83.
1772
Boileau, J.F. Catalogue des tableaux qui composent le cabinet de Monseignor le Duc de Choiseul. Paris, 1772:3, no. 1.
1773
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.] "Catalogue raisonné des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Galeries, Sallons et Cabinets du Palais Impérial de S. Pétersbourg, commencé en 1773 et continué jusqu’en 1785.” 3 vols. Manuscript, Fund 1, Opis’ VI-A, delo 85, Hermitage Archives, Saint Petersburg,1773-1783 (vols. 1-2), 1785 (vol. 3).
1774
Imperial Hermitage Museum [probably Ernst von Münnich, ed.]. Catalogue des tableaux qui se trouvent dans les Cabinets du Palais Impérial à Saint-Pétersbourg. Based on the 1773 manuscript catalogue. Saint Petersburg, 1774: no. 904, as Portrait d'une Dame et de son fils.
1863
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial, Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. Saint Petersburg, 1863: 139, no. 635.
1864
Viardot, Louis. Le Musée de l'Ermitage à Saint-Pétersbourg et son nouveau catalogue. Paris, 1864:318
1864
Waagen, Gustav Friedrich. Die Gemäldesammlung in der kaiserlichen Ermitage zu St. Petersburg nebst Bemerkungen über andere dortige Kunstsammlungen. Munich, 1864: 149, no. 635.
1870
Köhne, Baron Bernhard de. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 3 vols. 2nd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1870: 2:79-80, no. 635.
1879
Ris, Comte Louis Clément de. "Musée Impérial de l'Ermitage à Saint-Pétersbourg (third of 4 articles)." Gazette des Beaux-Arts 19 (June1879): 580-581, as Dame et sa fille.
1882
Guiffrey, Jules. Antoine van Dyck - sa vie et son oeuvre. Paris, 1882: 287, no. 1095.
1890
Rooses, Max. L'Oeuvre de P.P. Rubens: histoire et description de ses tabelaux et dessins. 5 vols. Antwerp, 1886-1892:4:181-182, no. 952, as Rubens.
1895
Somov, Andrei Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial: Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 3rd ed. Saint Petersburg, 1895: 74-75, no. 635.
1898
Stevenson, R.A.M. Peter Paul Rubens. London, 1898:57
1898
Tourneux, Maurice. "Diderot et le musée de l'Ermitage." Gazette des Beaux-arts19 (1898): 342.
1899
Phillips, Claude. "The Van Dyck Exhibition at Antwerp." The Nineteenth Century 46 (November 1899): 743
1900
Cust, Lionel. Anthony van Dyck - An Historical Study of His Life and Works. London, 1900:17, 234, no. 22.
1900
Phillips, Claude. "The Imperial Gallery of the Hermitage--III." The North American Review 170 (January 1900):136-137.
1900
Rooses, Max. Fifty Masterpieces of Anthony van Dyck. London, 1900: 6, as Rubens.
1901
Somov, Andre Ivanovich. Ermitage Impérial. Catalogue de la Galérie des Tableaux. 2 vols. 4th ed. Saint Petersburg, 1901: 2:366-367, no. 635.
1902
Rooses, Max. "Die vlämischen und niederländischen Meister in der Ermitage zu St. Petersburg [1]." Zeitschrift für bildende Kunst 13 (1902):46, as Rubens
1903
Cust, Lionel. Van Dyck. 2 vols. New York, 1903: 1:13-14
1903
Rooses, Max. Rubens'leven en werken. Amsterdam and Antwerp, 1903:547, as Rubens.
1904
Rooses, Max. Rubens. 2 vols. Philadelphia, 1904:I:303, as Rubens.
1937
Jewell, Edward Alden. "Mellon's Gift." Magazine of Art 30, no. 2 (February 1937): 82 (as by Rubens).
1941
Preliminary Catalogue of Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1941: 203-204, no. 48.
1942
Book of Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1942: 240, repro. 40.
1949
Paintings and Sculpture from the Mellon Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1949 (reprinted 1953 and 1958): 69, repro.
1963
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1963 (reprinted 1964 in French, German, and Spanish): 310, repro.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 46.
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 39, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 118, repro.
1976
Hoet, Gerard. Catalogus of naamlyst van schilderyen. 3 vols. Reprint of 1752 ed. with supplement by Pieter Terwesten, 1770. Soest, 1976: 2:256, no. 1.
1978
King, Marian. Adventures in Art: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. New York, 1978: 46-47, pl. 25.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 259, no. 328, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 143, repro.
1986
Rooses, Max. "Oeuvre de Rubens. Addenda et Corrigenda." Rubens-Bulletijn 4 (1896):284, 286, as Rubens.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 91, 97, color repro.
2004
Barnes, Susan J. Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings. New Haven, 2004: I.103
2005
Fahy, Everett, ed. The Wrightsman Pictures. New Haven, 2005: 116, under cat. 33, fig. 3.
2005
Wheelock, Arthur K., Jr. Flemish Paintings of the Seventeenth Century. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 2005: 30-35, color repro.
2009
Odom, Anne, and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Washington, D.C., 2009:
2011
Fiedler, Susanne, and Torsten Knuth. "Vexierbilder einer Biographie: Dr. Heinz Mansfeld (1899-1959)." Mecklenburgische Jahrbücher 126 (2011):307.
2016
Jaques, Susan. The Empress of Art: Catherine the Great and the Transformation of Russia. New York, 2016: 398.