Dutch, 1617 - 1681
Terborch II, Gerard; Borch, Gerard ter II
The most accomplished member of a gifted and well-to-do artistic family, Gerard ter Borch was born in Zwolle in 1617. Probably not long after the death of his mother, Anna Bufken, in 1621, Ter Borch began his training with his father, the draftsman Gerard ter Borch the Elder (1584–1662). He was clearly a precocious pupil: an accomplished drawing he made of a figure seen from behind (Rijksprentenkabinet, Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam) is dated September 25, 1625, when he was only eight years old. An inscription on another drawing suggests that he was in Amsterdam by 1632, but in 1633 he was back in Zwolle. The following year he went to Haarlem to study with
By 1646 Ter Borch was in Münster, Westphalia, where he painted a number of small works and also his famous group portrait The Swearing of the Oath of Ratification of the Treaty of Münster (1648, National Gallery, London, inv. no. 896). Arnold Houbraken suggests that Ter Borch subsequently traveled with the Conde de Peñaranda to Brussels, where he appears to have been knighted and to have received a gold chain and medal from the king of Spain. Documents place the artist in Amsterdam in November 1648, The Hague in 1649, Kampen in 1650, and Delft on April 22, 1653, when he and
In his earliest works, Ter Borch depicted barrack-room scenes similar to those of Willem Duyster (1598/1599–1635) and Pieter Codde (1599–1678). Most of his later genre scenes, however, focused on the more refined elements of Dutch society. These works are generally small and upright in format and typically depict two or three elegantly clad, full-length figures engaged in an activity such as letter writing or music making. They are executed with great sensitivity of touch and show an interest in the psychology of the sitters. Ter Borch also painted many small-scale, full-length portraits. His most important student was
Arthur K. Wheelock Jr.
April 24, 2014