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Probably in El Greco's studio at the time of his death;[1] probably his son, Jorge Manuel Theotocópuli, Toledo.[2] Carlos Beistegui, Paris and Venice.[3] Michael Dreicer [1868-1921], New York;[4] bequeathed by him in 1921 to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, where it was displayed 1922-1933;[5] returned 1933 to Dreicer's heirs, who had challenged his will;[6] Michael Dreicer's widow, Maisie Dreicer Whyte de Kerchove [1889-1976, née Shainwald], by 1937;[7] consigned in the 1940s to (Paul Drey Gallery, New York);[8] sold or consigned 24 February 1948 to (French & Co., New York);[9] sold 7 December 1949 to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;[10] gift 1959 to NGA.

Exhibition History

Spanish Painting, The Toledo [Ohio] Museum of Art, 1941, no. 43.
The Samuel H. Kress Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1950, no. 17.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1956, no. 35.
El Greco of Toledo, The Toledo [Ohio] Museum of Art; Prado, Madrid; National Gallery of Art, Washington; Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, 1982-1983, 116, 234, 239, no. 26, pl. 45.
El Greco of Crete: Exhibition on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of his birth, Iraklion, Crete, Greece, 1990, no. 16, 234, color repro. 235, 370-371.
Obras Maestras de la National Gallery of Art de Washington, Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City, 1996-1997, unnumbered catalogue, 38-39, color repro.
Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art; Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, 1999, no. 80, repro.
El Greco in the National Gallery of Art and Washington-Area Collections: A 400th Anniversary Celebration, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 2014-2015, no catalogue.
Out of the Kress Vaults: Women in Sacred Renaissance Painting, Fairfield University Art Museum, Fairfield, CT, 2022, no. 12, repro.

Technical Summary

The support is a plain-weave fabric, lined to a slightly coarser fabric of the same type. The tacking edges have been cropped, but the original format has presumably been retained. The reddish-brown imprimatura applied above the thin ground was left exposed in several places, notably in the sky and in the unfinished area at the bottom. Oil colors were applied thinly in a wet-on-wet technique and with a semitransparent layering of colors. In areas of moderate relief, oil colors with a more pastelike consistency were applied over already dried layers. X-radiographs reveal no significant pentimenti. There is a four-inch-wide tear to the left of the center of the fabric.

Another large loss is located on Saint John's stomach. Overall, the surface shows solvent abrasion and many glazes have broken through. Much of the retouching has discolored. Weave interference from the lining fabric is visible on the surface.


Wehle, Harry B. "The Michael Dreicer Collection." Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art 17 (1922): 103-106.
Mayer, August L. Dominico Theotocopuli, El Greco. Munich, 1926: 8, no. 31, pl. 32.
Burroughs, Bryson. Catalogue of Paintings: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1931: 145, no. G791-2.
Mayer, August L. El Greco. Berlin, 1931: 83.
Legendre, Maurice, and Alfred Hartmann. Domenikos Theotokopoulos Called El Greco. Paris, 1937: 144, repro.
Gudiol y Ricart, José. "Span of Spanish Painting: 1150-1828." Art News 40 (1 April, 1941): 17.
Camón Aznar, José. Dominico Greco. 2 vols. Madrid, 1950: 1:581; 2:1370, no. 242 (also 1970 rev. ed., 1:588, fig. 477; 2:1352, no. 254).
Walker, John. "The Nation's Newest Old Masters." The National Geographic Magazine 110, no. 5 (November 1956): 634.
Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1959: 270, repro., as The Holy Family.
Richardson, E. P., ed. "Accessions of American and Canadian Museums, April-June 1959." The Art Quarterly 22, no. 3 (Autumn 1959): 277.
Wethey, Harold E. El Greco and His School. 2 vols. Princeton, 1962: 1:46, fig. 102; 2:59-60, no. 88 (also Spanish ed. Madrid, 1967: 1:62-63, pl. 87; 2:74-75, no. 88).
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 63, as The Holy Family.
National Gallery of Art. European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. Washington, 1968: 54, repro., as The Holy Family.
Manzini, Gianna, and Tiziana Frati. L'opera completa del Greco. Milan, 1969: no. 99b.
Cossío, Manuel B. El Greco. Edited by Natalia Cossío de Jiménez. Barcelona, 1972: 358, no. 30.
Gudiol y Ricart, José. Domenikos Theotokopoulos, El Greco. Translated by Kenneth Lyons. New York, 1973: 197, 349, no. 147, color fig. 175 (also 1983 ed.: 197, 349, no. 147, color fig. 175).
Harris Frankfort, Enriqueta. "El Greco's Holy Family with the Child ...: An Image of Silence ...." In Hortus Imaginum, Essays in Western Art. Edited by R. Enggass and M. Stockard. Lawrence, Kansas, 1974: 103-111, fig. 69.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 164, repro., as The Holy Family.
Lafuente Ferrari, Enrique, and José Manuel Pita Andrade. El Greco: The Expressionism of His Final Years. Translated by Robert E. Wolf. New York, 1975: 156, no. 26.
Eisler, Colin. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, 1977: 201-220, fig. 196, attributed to the studio of El Greco.
Garrido, María del Carmen, and José María Cabrera. "Estudio técnico comparativo de dos Sagradas Familias del Greco." Boletín del Museo del Prado 3 (1982): 98.
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 237, no. 305, color repro., as The Holy Family.
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 189, repro.
McKim-Smith, Gridley, María del Carmen Garrido, and Sarah L. Fisher. "A Note on Reading El Greco's Revisions: A Group of Paintings of the Holy Family." Studies in the History of Art 18 (1986): 67-77, figs. 1, 5.
Brown, Jonathan, and Richard G. Mann. Spanish Paintings of the Fifteenth through Nineteenth Centuries. The Collections of the National Gallery of Art Systematic Catalogue. Washington, D.C., 1990: 72-77, color repro. 75.
El Greco of Crete: Exhibition on the Occasion of the 450th Anniversary of his Birth. Exh. cat. Iraklion, 1990: 234, 370-371, color repro. 235.
Kirsh, Andrea, and Rustin S. Levenson. Seeing Through Paintings: Physical Examination in Art Historical Studies. Materials and Meaning in the Fine Arts 1. New Haven, 2000: 197-199, fig. 211-216.

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