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Vermeer's Clients and Patrons

Author(s): John Michael Montias
Source: The Art Bulletin, Vol. 69, No. 1 (Mar., 1987), pp. 68-76
Published by: College Art Association
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van Ruijven was Vermeer's patron throughout most of his career. as discussed below.was more important than their distant kinship. was a brewer in "The Ox" brewery and a master of Delft's Camer van Charitate (in 1623 and 1624). 42. Simon de Vlieger.'s sister Sara on 27 April 1631. 1530). who preceded Vermeer in the art of "fine painting. 1885. He lent Vermeer200 guilders in 1657.2 Pieter Claesz. 1985. van Ruijven. she was Roman Catholic with Jesuit sympathies . Graswinckel and Sara Mennincx. named Dirck Duyst. like other members of his family.4 Dou's patron was thus the son of Pieter Claesz. who was the great- granddaughter of Hendrick Duyst (d. Abraham. 25-27. named Pieter Spierincx Silvercroon. who has been able to establish that Vermeer'swife.3 Jan Hermansz. ii. Catharina Bolnes. 5 Delft Gemeente Archief . was a witness at the baptism of Pieter Claesz. the daughter of Cornelis Jansz. 4Naumann. Dornspijk. was eighteen years old. "Ietsover Johannes Vermeer. There were actually twenty paintings by Vermeer in the Dissius Collection. van Ruijven It has long been known that Gerard Dou and his pupil Frans van Mieris. 101-04. I will show that Vermeer also had a patron. the sister of the painter Jacob Delff and the granddaughter of Michiel van Miereveld. he witnessed the testament of Vermeer'ssister Gertruy in 1670. Baptism files. 3The genealogy of Pieter Claesz.'s grandfather. Maria Graswinckel. The division of the estate in 1685 shows that paintings by Emanuel de Witte. his wife left the artist a conditional bequest of 500 guilders in her testament of 1665. To be precise. and Jan van Gelder and Ingrid Jost. The only female witness. were married in succession to Franchois Spierinx. The backgrounds and collections of other contemporary clients of Vermeer. Classical Antiquities and Italian Drawings for Artistic Instruction in Seventeenth Century Holland. I owe this reference to Mr. In this case."Oud-Holland. Van Ruijven lent Vermeer money and his wife left him a bequest in her testament. . 1970. The dates of Vermeer'spaintings cited in the text are from this source and from Wheelock. There were twenty paintings by Vermeerin the estate of Van Ruijven's only daughter and heir. I would guess that the religious gap separating the families of Pieter van Ruijven and Catharina Bolnes . 2 Abraham Bredius.'s grandmother Sara Mennincx. After Abraham's death these paintings reverted to his son Jacob. . Two of Sara Mennincx's sisters. The brother of Hendrick Duyst. which had probably been acquired by Pieter van Ruijven. van Ruijven's great-aunt. Living as he did in his parents' household. was barred by Stadhouder Maurits from appointment to any higher state or municipal functions. LXXXVII. van Ruijven were distantly related.henceforth Delft G. van Ruijven is traced in Nederlandsche leeuw.he was Calvinist. Jan de Bischop and His Icones and Paradigmata. and Vermeer. van Ruijven. His mother. who was the son of Catharina Bolnes's great-grandaunt Maria Geenen.A. she was most probably Sara's godmother. he could not have failed to meet his mother's first 1 All documents about Vermeer published before 1977 that are referred to in this article are summarized in Blankert. Oncommera Mennincx. His father. III." sold the bulk of their paintings to a few preferred collectors who may be considered their patrons. and Pieter Claesz.1 From circumstantial evidence. Pieter Joostensz. had married Erckenraad Duyst van Voorhoudt. Maria and Oncommera. are briefly discussed. van Ruijven was a first cousin of Jan Hermansz.A. which I think the reader will find compelling. In revising this article. became Sweden's envoy to Holland. Niclaes Pietersz. 222. I benefited from the comments of Professor Egbert Haverkamp-Begemann. belonged to one of the most distinguished of Delft's old patrician families. Adriaen Cool. including the baker Hendrick van Buyten. Magdalena. it is conjectured that Vermeer had access to Leyden collectors and artists via his patron Van Ruijven. He was also the godfather of Pieter Claesz. having sided with the Remonstrants during the Oldenbarnevelt episode of 1618. himself. during the greater part of his career. Pieter Claesz. W. The son of Franchois Spierinx and Oncommera Mennincx. was the great-grandfather of Pieter Claesz.Vermeer'sClients and Patrons John Michael Montias On the basis of newly discovered documents. the famous tapestry-maker of Flemish origin who settled in Delft some time before 1600. It is probable that Pieter Claesz.Old Church. was a Remonstrant. It was this same Pieter Spierincx who paid Gerard Dou an annual fee of 500 guilders in the late 1630'sto secure the right of first refusal on one painting per year. named Pieter Claesz. which she owned jointly with her husband. Van Ruijven was the father-in-law of Jacob Dissius in whose collection Abraham Bredius found nineteen paintings by Vermeer a century ago. Finally. Wijburg. van Ruijven who married Christina Delff. this article establishes with a high degree of probability that Pieter Claesz. Jacob Dissius.'s sister Pieternella who was baptized in the New Church in Delft on 9 May 16425when Pieter Claesz. van Ruijven. were allotted to Jacob Dissius' father. Pieter Spierincx's mother.

Pieter Claesz. 10This loan may have been an advance toward the purchase of one or more paintings. which would be found in the house of the deceased.A. The witnesses were Jan van Ruijven (the notary).. Maria Simonsdr.8 presumably inherited most of their wealth. from which their probable sequencing is inferred.000 guilders in one sum to this child or children. including the Notary Johan van Ruijven. 8Delft G. and a separate testament of Maria de Knuijt.. no. 153-54. The testator recalled that his maternal grandmother Sara Mennincx. (Delft G..VERMEER'S PATRONS 69 cousin at least on this occasion. 202. On Vermeer's financial circumstances in the period 1653-57. which they later augmented by judicious investments. the Notary Johan or Jan van Ruijven. The family's brewery business seems to have failed some time after Niclaes Pietersz. notary in Delft. daughter of Pieter van Ruijven and Maria van Ruijven (who often used her husband's name instead of her own). all four of which turned up in the auction of Dissius' paintings in 1696 and had almost certainly once belonged to Pieter van Ruijven.A. in view of the Van Ruijven family's Remonstrant proclivities. Baertge Adams. living on the east side of the Oude Delft canal in Delft. 676. Pieter Claesz. Pieter Claesz. records of Notary W. The dates I have assigned to Vermeer's paintings are those given in Blankert and Wheelock." Oud-Holland. widow of Cornelis Jansz. .A. in defiance of her testament. van Ruijven."They wished this book to be considered an integral part of the testament. The choice of a Leyden notary may have been dictated by the need for discretion: the testators stipulated that they did not wish certain members of the family. 97. see J. Maria van Ruijven (the sister of Pieter Claesz. whom he married in August 1653.. of The Officer and the Laughing Girl of 1658-59. It is probably significant. Montias. (This clause probably referred to Magdalena van Ruijven. records of Notary W. act no. Nevertheless. The witnesses were Hermanus van der Ceel (the notary of Vermeer's father's family from 1620 to 1626). 146. Conclusion of an Archival Study. 4647.6 was eight years older than Vermeer. 98.11 On 19 October 1665. col. de Baar to the author). no. 11Blankert. was baptized in the Old Church on 12 October 1655. "Vermeerand His Milieu. xxIx. The first certain contact between Pieter van Ruijven and Vermeer occurred in 1657 when Pieter lent Johannes and Catharina 200 guilders. After the death of the survivor of the two testators. In case of his death or absence. which would only become valid if she survived her 6 Pieter Claesz. the appointment of the guardians to any child or children left after their death. Graswinckel. records of Notary N. 10 of 5 April 1653. 3316. It was perhaps through Pieter van Ruijven's brother. 1980. son of Niclaes Pietersz. May 1663. of The Little Street of 1658-60. and of the Women Reading a Letter in Dresden of 1659-60. his only municipal function was to be a master of the Camer van Charitate (from 1668 to 1674). 146..A. and 99. fol. with the authority to name a substitute to replace him. van Ruijven had appropriated these assets to himself and sold them. he was involved locally in a suit over the purchase of shares in the United East India Company that had belonged to the wealthy estate of Johannes Spiljeurs (Delft G. no. Oncommera. cited in a letter from P. acts nos. named each other universal legatees. They specifically excluded Jan Claesz. they named Gerrit van der Wel.M. (Delft G. 7 Nederlandsche leeuw. 1867. de Knuijt. had left her property to him and to his descendants in fidei commissary (in perpetual trust) but that. born in December 1624.) Adriana Munnincx was probably a sister of Pieter Spierincx's mother. The testators further stipulated that the Masters of the Orphan Chamber and the guardians should dispose of the paintings ("de schilder konst"). About the time he drew up his testament.'s death (ca. 1911. 19 October 1665.J. Baptism files. approved. In the second document. xciv. van Ruijven. as guardian of their surviving child or children. He is not known to have had any trade or profession... The survivor must bring up any child or children left after the decease of one or the other of the testators. was baptized in the Old Church on 10 December 1624. Pieter Spierincx died in 1652. silver. Baptism files. to learn the disposition of their estate. that Notary Paets was one of the most eminent members of the Remonstrant community in Leyden.A.7 He and his wife. notary in Delft.A. van Ruijven and Maria Graswinckel. before whom Vermeer and Catharina Bolnes appeared on the day of their betrothal. The husband. The assumption implicit in these dates is that the evolution of Vermeer's style from 1656 to 1668 and from 1668 to 1675 (the only dates for which we have evidence) was steady through time. according to the dispositions specified in a certain book marked with the letter A. 14Magdalena van Ruijven.A. Paets no.M. and Machtelt de Knuijt (almost certainly the sister of Maria de Knuijt). one year before Vermeerentered the Guild of St. 9 Blankert. 10Ibid. doc. the testament read. the secretary of the Orphan Chamber in Delft was to be appointed in his place. he did not wish to bring suit over this alienation to reappropriate the goods to which he and his descendants were entitled. may have helped to repay the loan of 1657. Old Church. Luke in Delft.12 Three separate documents were drafted. and Adriana Munnincx. The sale of the Girl Asleep at a Table generally dated 1657-58. Assendelft no. doc. Like his father before him.).)14 This same survivor must also give 6. 12 Pieter van Ruijven was no stranger to Leyden. or any of the testator's nephews or cousins from the guardianship and from any knowledge regarding the succession. the guardians of the children should put away and preserve the linen. gold.) dates in these and other sources are based on the artist's stylistic evolution. and other similar wares in the estate to turn it over to them after they had reached legal age or gotten married. Delft G. and Maria. doc. van Ruijven. Rechterlijk Archief 92. 13 Leyden G.9 that the artist met his future patron.13 In the joint testament. 12 August 1658. van Assendelft. Old Church. 15 of 30 November 1657. the only child of the couple left alive after their death. van Ruijven and Maria de Knuijt passed their last will and testament before Notary Nicholaes Paets in Leyden. who was exactly ten years old at this time. on which would be written "Disposition of my 'Schilderkonst'and other matters. 198. 62 of 16 May 1696. 1650). and signed before Notary Paets: a joint testament of the couple. Betrothal and Marriage files. his father Claes Pietersz. and Leyden G.

van Ruijven and Maria de Knuijt. 21 Delft G.. including The Milkmaid of about 1660. fol. and. then her property should be divided into three equal parts: one third she bequeathed to the Orphan Chamber of Delft to aid the poor.16Johannes Vermeer was then the only individual who did not belong to Pieter van Ruijven's or to Maria de Knuijt's family who was singled out for a special bequest. no. and the very large View of Delft generally dated 1663.. fol. after his death. records of Notary W. 2128. While I do not know the precise family relationship between the testatrix and the surgeon De Geus. sisters of her husband. 16Beresteyn.70 THE ART BULLETIN MARCH 1987 VOLUME LXIX NUMBER 1 In the testament of Maria de Knuijt." They were replaced by the marginal addition: "However."Finally. he proudly called himself Lord of Spalant. he noted that.000 guilders.19 He may have been there simply to buy frames. The property was bought by Pieter Claesz. would be permitted to enjoy the usufruct of all her property their life long and to chose among her household goods any that they might wish to have. which also turned up in the Dissius inventory. van Assendelft of 11 April 1669. which would only acquire validity in case of her husband's predecease. The reason for this discrimination was perhaps that Maria de Knuijt. 923. 18Delft G. fol. neither to his children nor to his descendants."'5Sara and Maria van Ruijven. she made various bequests "in the aforesaid case. If this interpretation is correct. III. 148. subject to his wife's 15These were Rpformed preachers who had been expelled from Habsburg Bohemia. with the exception of the best "schilderkonst. Pieter van Ruijven. 17 See the discussion below. 767. the one to Vermeer was then the only one that was clearly reserved for him and him alone. painter. did not wish any of her money to benefit Jesuits or Jesuit sympathizers.A. and 500 guilders to Johannes Vermeer. Huizen protocol. the testatrix approved the two previous acts and named as her universal heir her child or children and their descendants. The different wording had the effect of excluding Catharina Bolnes from the succession.000 guilders to Floris Visscher. van Assendelft no. records of Notary A. Following the bequest to Vermeer. perhaps unique. I have already speculated that several paintings in the Dissius sale of 1696 probably entered the Van Ruijven collection shortly after they were painted in the late 1650's. If she left no child or children after her husband's death. passionate collectors though they may have been. . instance of a seventeenth-century Dutch patron's testamentary bequest to an artist. records of Notary G. and the last third to the "Preachers of the True Reformed Religion in Delft" who were to distribute them in turn to "expelled preachers having studied the Holy Theology. is recorded in pt." who probably consisted exclusively of Vermeer. to his descendants. This token of affection together with the repeated mentions of the "schilderkonst" they owned suggest that Pieter van Ruijven and Maria de Knuijt had bought a number of paintings by Vermeer by 1665 when this testament was made. situated on the Oude Delft. He now bequeathed the Seigneury to his daughter after his death. in case she predeceased her husband .. legaet te niet zijn"). another third to the Camer van Charitate also for the support of the poor. after his death. From 1660 to 1665 other pictures that eventually descended to Jacob Dissius may have been acquired by the Van Ruijvens.000 guilders to the surgeon Johannes Dircxz. van de Velde of 30 June 1674.) The only known testamentary provisions made by Pieter van Ruijven and his wife after the will they had passed before Notary Paets in Leyden was a codicil dated June 1674. 1.18 When he witnessed the last will and testament of the framemaker Anthony van der Wiel and of his wife Gertruy Vermeer (the artist's sister. to his descendants. the bequests that follow were to be made before the rest of the estate was divided into three equal parts. for 16. consisting of twenty-and-a-half morgen of land situated near the village of Ketel. This is a rare." which I interpret to mean in case she were to die childless. Baron of Renesse (or Renaisse). I infer that such a relationship existed from the burial of two of his children in the family plot of Pieter Claesz. whose sympathies with the Reformed Church were clearly expressed in the disposition of the bulk of her estate if she died childless.17 belonged to the best "schilderkonst" consigned in the little book marked A (which has unfortunately disappeared). 377. put up for sale at auction the domain of Spalant.. The other house. With the domain that occupied more than half the Seigneury of Spalant came the title of Lord of Spalant. he had bought the domain of Spalant and registered the feud in his name. fol. It is also probable that three paintings by Emanuel de Witte and four paintings by Simon de Vlieger. her husband's nephew or cousin. merchant in Amsterdam.A. and. Van Ruijven and his wife. 11 February 1670. the following words were crossed out: "In case of his [Vermeer's] predecease. but he is more likely to have attended the act to promote or protect Vermeer's interests. 31415v. Maria de Knuijt left 6.20 By this time Van Ruijven was said to reside in The Hague but to be lodged on the Voorstraet in Delft (where he is known to have owned a house). 20Delft G. III. Willem. 6.as she actually did. 4128/1180A. On 11 April 1669.A. 3439/491A. act no. no. Pt. The Concert in the Isabella Gardner Museum (about 1664-65). in case of his predecease the above aforesaid bequest will be annulled" ("sall 't voors. 3663. were wealthy enough to buy paintings without denting their fortune. Of all these conditional bequests. (In her testament Gertruy left 400 guilders to her "heirs ab intestato.A. France. since that time. de Geus. and other Catholic territories. 19Delft G.000 guilders to the children of her late brother Vincent de Knuijt and after their death to their descendants. not far from Schiedam.21 After confirming the validity of the Leyden will of 1665. 1620-70) in their home ten months later.

She was only twenty-seven years old when she died on 16 June 1682. which I owe to S. Baptism files). is that Jacob's father. willed that after her death the domain should be assigned to her "beloved husband Jacob Abrahamsz. Three months later. he had registered in the Guild of St. Beresteyn.O. Dissius. subject to her mother's usufruct. for the greater part of his career..). including the domain of Spalant. pastor in Het Wout. on 26 February1681. Obreen.28 On December 3 of the same year. 26The registrations in the guild of Jacob Dissius. she wished that. the niece of Willem Reyersz. who was twentyseven years old at the time of his marriage. 9 August 1660 (Delft G. de Langue.C. 2325. van Hasselt no. Baptism files). 1680. be divided into two equal parts.23 seventeen months before the artist whom he had protected.A. Jacob. 26. 25 Jacob Dissius was baptized in the New Church on 23 November 1653. 2359 of 20 June 1682. The conjecture. who dealt in gloves and other apparel. cites the exact date of Magdalena's death. Archief voor Nederlandsche kunstgeschiedenis. had been inherited by Magdalena from her father. The only asset that was explicitly said to belong to Jacob Dissius in his own right was a life annuity yielding 100 guilders per year." To give effect to this provision.on the house in the Voorstraet. 1877. records of Notary D. all this of course devolved from Magdalena.. 27 above. if they both died without children and without having remarried while their parents on either side were still alive. Jacob Dissius was the apparent heir of the entire Van Ruijven estate.. are cited in F. 2151. The daughter in question was almost certainly Magdalena.27 Jacob's main asset was his distinguished Protestant background: he was the grandson of Minister Jacobus Dissius. then referring explicitly to the twentyand-a-half morgen in Spalant with which she had been vested in December 1680 and of which she was therefore entitled to dispose. van Ruijven and Maria de Knuijt named Maria was baptized on 22 July 1657 in the Old Church. accruing to Jacob Dissius both in his own right and as inherited through the death of his wife. in November 1680. This act contains the testament of 3 December 1680. Betrothal and Marriage files. 31. and most probably befriended. If the testator remarried after his wife's death. A son named Simon was baptized in the same church on 27 January 1662 (Delft G. The principal liability of the estate was the 400 guilders that April 1683. Magdalena van Ruijven. These and other kinship relations in the Dissius family can be traced from a document relating to the sale of a house belonging to the De Langue family in the records of Notary T.A. partly published in Bredius (as in n.'s daughter Magdalena married Jacob Abrahamsz. 52. may have given him the press as a sort of dowry in order to redress the inequality of wealth between his son and his bride-tobe. in which twenty works by Vermeer were recorded (one more than Bredius reported). This is too bad because it may have been the key to the settlement of Magdalena's estate after her death. 24Delft G. at the first opportunity. and of Maria von Starrenberg. 500 guilders.until six months after his marriage. including the paintings.30 Her daughter Magdalena did not survive her long.A. collector. I. Among the principal assets were the domain of Spalant.22 Jacob Dissius Pieter van Ruijven was buried on 7 August 1674.VERMEER'S PATRONS enjoyment of the usufruct during her life. Dudok van Heel. he had to borrow from his father to pay her ordinary death debts (costs of burial. de Bries no. the young couple passed their testament before a notary in Delft. and so forth). Pieter Claesz.A. He did not register in the guild as a bookseller . The Dissius inventory of April 1683 (see n. who owned the printing press "The Golden ABC" on the Market Square. 86. subject to her mother's right of usufruct. records of Notary P. subject to the usual provision that the survivor must bring up their child or children in an appropriate manner. 23 Beresteyn. an inventory was prepared of the property left to her husband. and if she was already dead. act no. On the other hand. when his wife died two years later. her relatives and collateral descendants 200 guilders. Old Church. Abraham Dissius. near Delft. 27 above). his name should be inscribed in the register of feuds in place of her name so that he should enjoy the fruits and rents of the domain immediately after her mother's death.25had no means of his own. however. including the domain of Spalant. and his uncle Jacob Jacobsz. Pieter Claesz.thus presumably as the owner of a bookselling establishment . from her father.26 Even then he had so little money that. numerous interest-bearing obligations in the name of Maria de Knuijt bought between 1663 and 1674. cited in n. 58. he obligated himself to pay her mother (Maria de Knuijt). van der Hoeve no. 30 31 ..29 They named each other universal heirs.A. and the rental money 175 guilders per year . Luke as a bookbinder in 1676. the notary. 32 Doc. Rotterdam. the parents on each side receiving half. Both these children must have died early since no other heir beside Magdalena was ever mentioned.32 I presume that the bulk of the estate. act no. including the household goods and paintings. the division was not to be effected until the death of Maria de Knuijt (who was entitled to the domain's usufruct). Maria de Knuijt was buried next to her husband in the family plot in the Old Church. In the case of the domain of Spalant. which was opened and read on 20 June 1682. early 71 their estate.A. Magdalena had already inherited considerable assets. mourning clothes. 418. his father Abraham. 148. 27 Delft G.A. Jacob Dissius.. Dissius on 14 April 1680.24 The marriage contract has not been preserved. was married to Machtelt de Langue. if she was still alive. movable and unmovable. Nine months after the death of Magdalena Pieters van Ruijven. 29 Delft G.D. which will be discussed below. His grandfather Jacobus Dissius and his aunt Jannetje Dissius were witnesses (Delft G. and friend of the Vermeer family. 83. No special provision was made for the paintings or for any other of the couple's household goods. 2).. New Church. then they willed that 22 A daughter of Pieter Claesz. The inventory drawn up almost a year after the death of Magdalena van Ruijven listed all the goods.31She seems to have left no surviving child. 28 Jacob's uncle Karel Dissius.

with eighteen pallbearers. in his testament of 7 February 1684. The widower on the Market Square in "The Golden ABC" was transported by coach. After the unmovable assets. which was apparently also a bedroom.two night scenes. The household goods in the estate. lot A fell to Jacob and lot B to his father Abraham. All the movable goods in the estate. the succession had not proceeded without controversy. 15). Dissius in conformity with her testament of December 3 and the act of superscription of 10 December 1680. between 14 and 20 April 1685. chose among the lots by chance. the estate was divided between Jacob and his father. three by Simon de Vlieger had similarly been shifted to lot B. records of Notary P. Maria de Knuijt had indeed died. Of the four paintings of churches in the inventory of 1683. At least one of the three.36 Jacob Dissius himself died in October 1695. father and son. How did the Dissius collection expand from twenty to twenty-one Vermeers between 1685 and 1695? Perhaps the twenty-first was there all along. Dudok van Heel's suggestion that the marriage contract may have contained a clause that allowed Abraham to share in his daughter-in-law's estate. and "one [painting] with houses. with the exception of fourteen paintings that would be transferred to lot B. two paintings of churches. who seems to have been his universal heir. made his father his universal heir (Delft G. from his father the six paintings by Vermeer that had fallen to Abraham's lot. 36Jacob seems to have been the only one of six children fathered by Abraham Dissius who survived infancy. the testament. her father's sisters Sara and Maria. and probably two. neither having remarried. It is worth noting that Jacob Dissius. together with three more paintings by Vermeer in boxes. Actually."38This number was one more than that listed in the inventory of 1683. In the front hall. A.33The introduction to this notarial document setting forth the terms of the division stated that Jacob Abrahamsz. It is possible that the "painting with houses" in the inventory of 1683 was identical with The Little Street. or inherited. no. Two years later. and music books. Dissius and Magdalena Pieters van Ruijven had owned the goods in the estate in common and that Magdalena had left as her heir her father-in-law Abraham Jacobsz. the 1685 disposition of the estate assigned three by Emanuel de Witte to lot B. Abraham Dissius. When the two principal heirs. The front hall also contained a seascape by Porcellis and a landscape."In the basement room there were two paintings by Vermeer plus a landscape and a church..A." and six paintings by Johannes Vermeer to be chosen from lot A by the individual who would receive lot B. in April 1683. . 154. a hand-held viol. Magdalena's father-in-law Abraham Dissius was only to inherit the bulk of the estate in case both testators died without children. The list closed with two paintings by Vermeer and two small landscapes whose precise location in the house was not specified. who must have included her husband. but. three temples or churches by Emanuel de Witte. two landscapes. and Magdalena had left no children. adorned the back room with the four paintings by Vermeer that were said to hang there. doc. 2326. two "tronien"(or "faces"). In the back room there were four paintings by Vermeer. two "tronien. Abraham Dissius was buried in the New Church. records of Notary P. and Magdalena's mother was also deceased. Nine years later. Lot B consisted chiefly of the printing establishment and the equipment going with it. 3s Delft G. act no. there was a painting by Vermeer(the one missed by Bredius). were presumably inherited by his son Jacob. he noted eight paintings by Vermeer. confirmed by the act of superscription. de Vlieger. Clearly. two portraits or "tronien. the notary's clerk listed the movable goods in each room of the Dissius house.35His property. The top prices for the twenty-one paintings by Vermeer sold in Amsterdam on 16 May 1696 were 155 guilders for the "Young Lady Weighing Gold" (The Woman with the Balance).A. were divided into two lots.A. C. In any event. a "littlechurch"and a "painter. This is likely to have been the "Grave of the Old Prince in Delft" by De Witte in the Dissius sale of 1696 (doc. all of unspecified subjects. had named the survivor of the two testators as universal heir. 38 Ibid. de Bries no. The paintings that were to be transferred from lot A to lot B were: three landscapes by S.72 THE ART BULLETIN MARCH 1987 VOLUME LXIX NUMBER 1 Dissius had borrowed from his father to pay various expenses connected with Magdalena's death. New Church. no. In the kitchen. to his family's resting place in Het Wout. and her mother's brother Vincent de Knuijt. two flutes. 175 guilders for the "Maid Pouring Out Milk" 33Delft G.37Six months later an advertisement appeared in Amsterdam announcing an auction containing twenty-one paintings by Vermeer "extraordinarily vigorously and delightfully painted." would accrue to lot A. now in the Rijksmuseum. 39 below). on 12 March 1694. including the printing press.34Of the seven landscapes in the inventory. 2327. Burial files.." a night scene.. had appeared with Abraham Dissius before the commissioners of the High Court of Holland on 18 July 1684 and again on 16 February 1685 that the decision was handed down that prescribed the division of the estate half and half between Abraham Dissius and his son Jacob. 62 of 14 October 1695. it is not immediately obvious why he had to give up half of the estate to his father. 37Blankert. I have already cited S. in which case it would have been omitted by error from the list of paintings attributed to Vermeer. starting in the inventory of 1683 with "a lot of firewood" and ending with "two black hats. de Bries. Jacob must have bought back. It was probably also the com- missioners who had stipulated precisely how the division would have to be made. including the fourteen paintings that had been transferred from lot A to lot B. 34The clerk had initially specified that one of the church paintings in the backroom portrayed a burial. one landscape. since Jacob was very much alive." This room also contained a chest with a viola da gamba. cited in n. It was only after Magdalena's heirs ab intestato.

" "The Tomb of the Old Prince. including the Young Lady Writing a Letter in the National Gallery of Art. 40 Blankert. Some of the paintings by Vermeer sold in 1696 may have entered the collection of Van Ruijven between the latter's testament of 1665 and his death. Whichever it was. and either the Lady Standing at the Virginals or the Lady Sitting at the Virginals." which sold for 95 and 81 guilders respectively. only the last of whom is known to have been in direct contact with Vermeer. The twenty-one Vermeers in the sale brought a total of 1. Van Ruijven may also have acquired one or more of the Vermeer "tronien" in the sale of 1696 during the four or five years preceding the artist's death. The lowest prices were for "tronien. None of the next fifteen pictures listed by various Dutch and Italian painters would seem to be identical with paintings described in the inventory of 1683.41 The catalogue of the sale of 16 May 1696 opened with twelve paintings by Vermeer." and "A gentleman and a young lady making music. the three by Emanuel de Witte. and Hendrick van Buyten." estimated at 150 guilders in July 1682. no. the sculptor Johannes Larson. doc. Washington. 34-36. met der selven pryzen.VERMEER'S PATRONS (The Milkmaid) and 200 guilders for "The City of Delft in Perspective" (The View of Delft). it follows that. 1752. London." including two for 17 guilders each. starting with "The city of Delft in perspective.39All three survive to this day. classical mode that was in vogue at the time. These are all likely to have belonged to Dissius. and the four landscapes by De Vlieger." more properly called Woman with a Balance. There was nothing in the catalogue resembling the Porcellis seascape. no. It must have been one of the three paintings by Vermeer in boxes in the front hall of the Dissius house. and the innkeeper Cornelis de Helt.43This painting was probably identical with The Allegory of Faith in the Metropolitan Museum.796 guilders. 43 Ibid. Washington. ten stuivers (including the Rembrandt "tronie"). The grand total came to 1. and the "painter. there were only three of the four churches in the inventory. The very high price the painting brought shows that Vermeer.) Perhaps only the best "schilderkonst"noted in the book marked A in the Van Ruijven testament of 1665 plus the Vermeers acquired after that time were thought good enough to appear in the Amsterdam auction. . and at most one of the four "tronien. it did not call for the immediate transfer of all newly completed works.42 This may have been either The Lady Standing or The Lady Sitting at the Virginals. I. could produce 41 Ibid. Hoet. 125 guilders. They were followed by three paintings by Emanuel de Witte: "The Old Church in Amsterdam. a very respectable sum." and "another church.'"40 was probably bought from his widow after the artist's death either by Magdalena van Ruijven or by Jacob Dissius. The Hague.503 guilders.. Herman van Swoll. in the National Gallery of Art. doc. who had each bought an inexpensive picture by Vermeer early in the artist's career.. Catharina Bolnes may have been exaggerating when she claimed that her husband had sold "very little or hardly anything at all" since 1672. 154. Clearly. 160 guilders. whatever arrangement Pieter van Ruijven had made with Vermeer. None of the paintings listed after the Rembrandt "tronie" appears to have belonged to Dissius in 1683. 151. when he painted in the flat. 153. 60 of 12 July 1682. 150-51. which is very likely to have been listed in Vermeer's death inventory of 1676 as a "Woman with a necklace. doc. I suspect that the Van Swoll picture had been originally painted for a private patron rather than for the Jesuits themselves. The 39The complete list of paintings sold on 16 May 1696 referred to in the text is given in G. both in the National Gallery. the three night scenes. Catalogus of Naamlyst van schilderyen. with sculptures. The Woman with a Pearl Necklace of Berlin-Dahlem. This was the "YoungLady 'Weighing Gold. Since this picture is generally dated 1664-65. "A seated woman with several [symbolical or allegorical] meanings representing the New Testament" by Vermeer of Delft fetched 400 guilders. Not all paintings by Vermeer owned by Dissius had been acquired by Pieter van Ruijven. no. Only two relatively expensive paintings have disappeared: one "In which a gentleman is washing his hands in a see-through room.. Then came nine lots by Vermeer. doc. fifteen stuivers. even by Amsterdam standards." (It is possible but unlikely that some of the landscapes appeared elsewhere in the list of paintings sold. though. 40 of 29 February 1676." These were almost certainly among the fourteen paintings transferred from lot A to lot B in the Dissius inventory. five stuivers. four of the seven landscapes. The rich Antwerp jeweler and banker Diego Duarte owned "a little piece with a lady playing the clavecin with accessories by Vermeer. 73 next painting listed after the four De Vliegers was a "tronie" by Rembrandt. 63 of 22 April 1699. Other Collectors Beside the dealer Johannes Renialme. It may have been one of the two "tronien" transferred from lot A to lot B in 1685. In 1699 when Herman van Swoll's collection was sold in Amsterdam. no. which only sold for seven guilders. ten stuivers. The rest may have gone directly to the collateral heirs of Jacob Dissius (his first cousins on his father's side). in any case before The Astronomer of 1668. all of which are generally dated in the 1670's. 42 Ibid. Since there is no evident reason why the Jesuit Station of the Cross in Delft should have sold a painting at this time." These were followed by "a large landscape" by Simon de Vlieger and three other landscapes by the same artist. The Lace Maker in the Louvre. not all the paintings recorded in the Dissius inventory of 1683 were sold in 1696. we know the names of three of his clients during his mature period: Diego Duarte. The small but accomplished Lace Maker only brought 28 guilders. the other was in the Van Ruijven-Dissius collection. It may be noted in passing that only one of the paintings by Vermeer in the Amsterdam sale (the first listed in the catalogue) was in a case or box. 42 of 30 April 1676."Moreover.

LVII. She was the daughter of the printer Jan Pieters Waelpot and of Catharina Karelts. There were seventeen other unattributed paintings in this hall.74 THE ART BULLETIN MARCH 1987 VOLUME LXIX NUMBER 1 a painting that was nearly as valuable as any sold by the most fashionable painters of the period. painted decorations with mythological and allegorical figures in the house. From the presence of the Institution by Jean Calvin in Van Buyten's inventory.49Some of the papers date as recently as 1849 when printed notices were sent out to a long list of heirs notifying them of the small amounts of interest on restricted capital funds that they still had coming to them from their "greatuncle's" inheritance. see Willem van de Watering.A. Estate papers (boedel) no. The inventory of 1701 listed the movable possessions of Hendrick van Buyten and his wife Adriana Waelpot. I am indebted to JenniferKilian for this reference. was a shoemaker.48 that was probably the principal source of his new wealth. 276).46 Van Buyten. leaving a widow but no children. van Swoll. a society piece by (Anthony) Palamedes. (The inventories of Cornelis van Helt in 166151and of Jacob Dissius in 1683.A. Orphan Chamber of Delft. and probably Gerard de Lairesse. 147. The names and ages of the heirs (Hendrick. The first work of art listed in the inventory of Van Buyten's household goods was "a large painting by Vermeer" ("een groot stuck schilderie van Vermeer")in the front hall. 265 Ix. Herman Stoffelsz. Baptism files. After Adriaen Hendricksz. 1981." "The Allegory of the New Testament"was singled out as "an artful piece by Vermeer of Delft" (ibid." Oud-Holland. Thus both Jacob Dissius and Van Buyten were Calvinists and either owned or were connected with important printing establishments. he had married Adriana in November 1683. however. 2144 of 1 April 1669. It is significant that. 21 September 1631. "New Documents on Vermeer and His Family. that Adriaen Hendricksz. Dudok van Heel. were not necessarily all originals.1980. was acquainted with Vermeer's father (J. Orphan Chamber... died in 1650. who presumably had at least a half dozen of them by this time: the baker. too.829 guilders. Estate papers (boedel) no.A.had been paid. It is known that he employed Nicolaes Verkolje (born in Delft in 1673. from whose estate the Allegory was sold. 45 S. and was born the same year as Vermeer's wife. began with paintings by Vermeer in the "voorhuijs. His collection contained many Italian paintings along with the most distinguished representatives of "modern" Dutch art. The marriage contract between Hendrick and Adriana of 6 December 1683 had specified that the properties brought to the marriage by husband and wife were to remain separate ("geen gemeenschap"). He had apparently acquired no paintings between 1683 and 1701. it was said the collection had been formed "with great trouble over a period of many years. 160).) After Hendrick van Buyten died in July 1701. who is most probably identical with the "boulanger"met by the French traveler Balthazar de Monconys in August 1663. Orphan Chamber. incidentally. 51 Delft G. After Hendrick had lost his first wife.") Also in the front hall was a painting by Bramer. on which occasion the baker showed him a one-figure painting by Vermeer for which he claimed that 600 livres . in contrast to Pieter van Ruijven. and one by (Nicholas?) Bronckhorst who painted seascapes. and Betrothal and Marriage files." in Exhibition of Old Master Paintings. 1977..C. Estate papers (boedel) no. Note. . we may safely conclude that he belonged to the established Reformed religion.000 guilders and a house in the Oosteynde. Nicolaes Berchem. The son of a Protestant baker. 46 Blankert. van Buijten. no. Montias. from which he obtained nearly 4. and Adriaen) leave no doubt that this "Van Houten" was Hendrick van Buyten's father. one of the largest I have seen in my study of Delft inventories. shoemaker. (The exorbitant price he claimed he had paid for his one-figure Vermeer may have been inflated for the sake of bargaining. The paintings listed below were all part of Van Buyten's possessions at the time of his second marriage. died in Amsterdam in 1746) to make copies after originals.. He had a house built on the Amsterdam Herengracht in 1668 where he lived until his death. another little painting by Palamedes.." Jaarboek Amstelodamum.A.44These. he made a fortune as a controller ("suppoost") of the Amsterdam Wisselbank and as postmaster of the Hamburger Comptoir in Amsterdam. We can be virtually certain that he owned no paintings that had belonged to Jacob Dissius in April 1683 and which were still in the Dissius household two years later when the estate was divided. van Houten. representing land- 47Delft G. "Hondervijftig advertenties van kunstverkopingen uit veertig jaargangen van de Amsterdamsche Courant. for which he paid twelve guilders per copy. van Rossem in 1669. The contents of his "boedel" in the Delft Orphan Chamber archives are distributed among ten bundles enclosed in five large boxes. 49 Delft G. 50 Delft G. who apparently had only one picture by him. Orphan Chamber. was of fairly humble origin. 150.50 Adriana's father owned an important printing press in Delft comparable to that of Abraham Dissius. when Monconys inquired about Vermeer's paintings. records of Notary D. rather than to Pieter van Ruijven. In the advertisement for the sale of 1699 in the Amsterdamsche Courant. Van Buyten was born the same year as Vermeer (1632). 264 of Adriaen Hendricksz.47Hendrick himself must have done well as a baker. Emerentia. but it was the inheritance he received from his relative Aryen Maertensz. was born in Amsterdam in 1632 and died there in 1698. xcI. 48Delft G. named Machtelt van Asson (a baker's daughter). his widow sold his household effects for only 796 guilders. Adriaen Hendricksz. 673 I and ii. his estate was administered by the 44On Herman van Swoll. Leger Galleries.. he was steered to Van Buyten. which he later built up by lending money at interest.A. Catharina Bolnes (1631). being a tradesman.A.M.45 Our last collector of Vermeer's works is the baker Hendrick van Buyten. His father. London. "The Later Allegorical Paintings of Niclaas Berchem. was more likely to sell than the patrician. Rees. The betrothal took place on 27 November 1683. The total Van Buyten estate was valued at 24.presumably equivalent to Dutch guilders .

adds to the likelihood of this hypothesis.) s3 Blankert. Nevertheless. especially in the main figure. testify55. 149-50.Ladywith Her Maidservant. and genre paintings. van Ruijven no.as the undifferentiated. 168). Willem L. van de Watering. Regarding the possibility that the "person playing on a cittern" may have been confused with a lute player (e. 169).3cm) and the Woman in Blue Reading a Letter(46. but two of them - Simon de Vlieger and Emanuel de Witte - left for Amsterdam and continued to be productive there. 1). posterior version of the same inventory (Delft G. considering that the picture was still in the artist's studio at the time of his death. less probably. ss Blankert. one would have expected the contemporaries of Vermeer to know the difference between a cittern and a lute. On the size of the Lady With Her Maidservant. Van Buyten's appears to have been somewhat provincial and oldfashioned. Compared to the Van Ruijven-Dissius collection. which most art historians have deemed to be a copy after the Kenwood original. is certainly large enough for the clerk who drafted the inventory to have perceived it as a "groot stuck schilderie. The diminutive "stukxken. The latter.7cm. The late hairstyle of the guitar player in the Johnson picture (let alone the weak execution) would seem to rule it out as a candidate for the painting that was once in the Van Buyten Collection. The Guitar Player in Kenwood (53 x 46." incidentally. which is substantially bigger than the Beit Vermeer (71 x 59cm)."It is not obvious whether the clerk decided the paintings were not as small as he had previously made them out to be or whether he was inattentive in copying the original inventory. would be the picture in the Dissius Collection sold in 1696 called "Eenjuffrouw die door een meyd een brief gebracht wordt" (A lady who is brought a letter by a maid). was applied to "The Lady playing the clavecin" in the Duarte inventory.5 x 39cm) were approximately of the same dimensions and might have been perceived as "stuckjes. In my view.. and one of the young Prince Willem adorned with flowers. Another version of the Kenwood picture also exists (now in the Johnson Collection in Philadelphia).g. The Frick picture. Anthony Palamedes.A. which are likely to have been those in which paintings by Vermeer had once been preserved.VERMEER'S PATRONS scapes. if this reasoning is correct. (No other artist on the list of attributed paintings was "fine" enough to have so encased his paintings. large and small.2cm (Lady Standing at the Virginals) or 51. excessively uniform passages. the painting by Vermeer in the Metropolitan Museum). then the picture is that the lady in the Beit picture is actually writing.5 x 45.FrickCollection (photo: collection) The second is probably the Lady with Her Maidservant in the Frick Collection (Fig. 52In another. act no. 164. see Blankert.(The distinction was sometimes made between "schilderien" painted on canvas and "borts"or "borretjes"on panel. 169. 167.) It is remarkable that all five of the painters cited in Van Buyten's inventory ." (The dimensions are cited from Blankert. and died in Delft. 114). All had registered in the guild before 1653."'3 The first of these may be The Guitar Player in Kenwood or. the only difference in the description of the paintings that I could find was that the two paintings by Vermeer in the room next to the front hall were called "stucken" rather than "stuckjes. (Three out of four of the painters in the Dissius collection at one time registered in the Delft guild." The Love Letter in the Rijksmuseum. records of W. The argument supporting this claim 54 75 1 Vermeer. one history painting (Moses)."54The fact that the painting was apparently left unfinished . whereas the lady in the Frick Collection has been interrupted by her maid and has dropped her pen. which either measured 51. I owe the suggestion that the large painting in Van Buyten's front hall was the Frick picture to Otto Naumann. and Pieter van Asch were born in Delft. Porcellis was initially a Haarlem artist but also worked in Amsterdam and Soetermeer.New York. with the likely exception of the two paintings he had acquired from Vermeer'swidow shortly after the artist's death as collateral for a large debt incurred for bread delivered: the "person playing on a cittern" and the painting "representing two persons one of whom is sitting writing a letter. . (Nicholas) Bronckhorst. A side room next to the front hall contained three landscapes by (Pieter) Van Asch (next to the bedstead) and "two little pieces by Vermeer" ("stuckjes van Vermeer")52 plus eleven other paintings.7 x 45. stated that the Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid in the Beit Collection had been pledged to Hendrick van Buyten by Vermeer'swidow (p. the Woman Playing a Lute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.) The Van Buyten collection probably had not changed very much from the 1650's or 1660's until the baker's marriage in 1683. it should be observed that the Kenwood picture can be traced back to a public sale in 1794 when it was described as "a woman playing on a lute" (Blankert.5cm (Lady Seated at the Virginals). in his catalogue contribution to Blankert.Vermeer. which measures 92 x 78. 160. became masters of the local guild. 55. Bramer. still-lifes.. 170. is much more likely to have been seen as a "large painting. this is only a small inaccuracy on the part of the notary's clerk. 2295. In a back hall the notary found seven little paintings ("stuckjes schilderie") and three little paintings on panel ("borretjes"). If this was the large painting in the front hall.) The only other items of interest were a few Protestant books and "two boxes for paintings" in the attic.

New York. as well perhaps as Van Swoll in Amsterdam. 99. she consented to have these goods sold at auction and to collect half the proceeds. there is no way to figure out precisely how much the three paintings by Vermeer represented of this total. The excessive concentration of Vermeer'spaintings in a single collection. Frans van Mieris the Elder. I am particularly intrigued by the possibility that Vermeermight have penetrated the Leyden artistic circle thanks to Pieter Claesz. This point is significant because he was most probably influenced early in his career by artists of the Leyden school.A. Van Ruijven's extraordinary patronage also had a negative side. E. Jan Vermeer. 1981. sales. by an agreement made with the other heirs before Notary Willem van Ruijven (which has not been preserved). 2 vols. He is author of Artists and Artisans in Delft: A Socio-Economic Study of the 17th Century (1982) and now is completing a book entitled Vermeer and His Milieu: A Web of Social History. I. in turn. in addition to his studies in various economic journals. s7 In my book Vermeerand His Milieu. forthcoming). Blankert. 1938. O. may help to account for Vermeer's influences in the 1660's on Gabriel Metsu and Van Mieris himself. Assen. that Vermeer painted between forty-five and sixty paintings from of his generation such as Frans van Mieris.58 Professor of Economics at Yale.O. Naumann. brought only 674 guilders. He probably enjoyed some reputation beyond Delft as well. A Web of Social History (Princeton University Press. Grafmonumenten en grafzerken in de Oude Kerk te Delft.-7 restricted the possible scope of his contacts. Because the schedule ("contracedulle") of the sale has been lost. on the basis of alternative assumptions about the rate of disappearance of paintings cited in the 17th century. the contents of which seem to have been acquired at a fairly steady rate over the years 1657 to 1673 or 1674.76 THE ART BULLETIN MARCH 1987 VOLUME LXIX NUMBER 1 of the "person playing on a cittern" was in the room next to the front hall. Van Ruijven and Van Buyten. with contributions by R.. he may have borrowed the motif of the artist's self-portrait from Frans van Mieris' Charlatan. 62-65. van Ruijven. Adriana Waelpot. 1981. New Haven. He argues that the appreciation for Vermeer's quality among connoisseurs persisted. patrician relatives of his wife. Beyond reputation. Doornspijk. see Blankert. Complete Edition of the Paintings.. An artist with a reputation like Vermeer could visit painters and collectors in other cities who were friends of his local protectors. Finally. he did have the wellheeled. A patron or even an occasional client provides a link to the social world not normally accessible to an artist of modest background. but those Roman Catholics apparently did not collect art or at least did not buy from him. Oxford. Naumann. 1978. I calculate.. Vermeer of Delft. gave the artist entree into a wider circle of collectors. his name might not have sunk into near-oblivion in the eighteenth century. Ruurs and W. CT 06520] Bibliography Beresteyn. preferably in Amsterdam or in Leyden. Monconys may have had good reason to question the exorbitant price of 600 livres that Van Buyten said had been paid for it. there is another side to patronage that we have not explored at all so far. The sale. Box 16A Yale Station. Wheelock.. Its companion was perhaps the one-figure painting that had been shown to Monconys in 1663. all the household items in the inventory of the goods that he had contributed to the marriage for her lifelong use. If he had had other protectors during his lifetime. [Institution for Social and Policy Studies. John Michael Montias has published articles in Simiolus and Oud-Holland. as the high prices he obtained in the Amsterdam sales of the Dissius and Swoll collections testify. and the artist's financial success. This conjecture is in general accord with what we know of Van Ruijven's collection. The pictures that Vermeer exhibited in their homes were seen by other collectors and by the artist-friends of these clients. for example. . A. However.56The Leyden connection. Yale University. even though his paintings were frequently attributed to other artists with a greater contemporary reputation. ss For a balanced view of Vermeer's reputation in the 18th century. For his Procuress of 1656. six stuivers. Jr. we are entitled to ask whether Pieter Spierincx might have suggested to Van Ruijven the idea of acquiring the right to first refusal on one of Vermeer's paintings per year. In case this painting was really a "stuckje" as the clerk noted in 1701. In his testament of 18 May 1701 Van Buyten had left his wife. Arthur K. the patron of Gerard Dou. Conclusions It may be confidently concluded from the evidence about Vermeer's clientele gathered in this study that he enjoyed a strong local reputation during most of his career. He also knew the Remonstrant notary Nicolaes Paets in Leyden.. In Vermeer's case. van de Watering. van. We have seen that Van Ruijven was closely related to Pieter Spierincx Silvercroon. which took place on 26 April 1702. P. with a somewhat greater probability of the lower estimate. 1656 to the end of his career. It was perhaps through Spierincx or Paets that Vermeergained access to Leyden artists 56 Cf. which probably absorbed about half of his total output after 1656.

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