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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

A Shepherdess Adorned with Flowers

Photo: Paul Macapia

A Shepherdess Adorned with Flowers


Gerrit van Honthorst

Dutch, 1590-1656

The age-old idea of the countryside as an escape from worldly cares was revived among 17th-century Dutch aristocrats. Shepherds were idealized as closer to nature, and the traditional rituals of courtship and marriage could be replaced in the country by the simple act of garlanding a girl with flowers. Pastoral painting often has a knowing air of artificial innocence, expressed by Honthorst in the contrast between the girl’s naïve submission and the shepherd’s sly amusement as he looks on.
Oil on canvas
43 9/16 x 39 13/16 in. (110.6 x 101.1 cm)
Samuel H. Kress Collection
Provenance: House of Orange, with the possible inventory from 1627 [1]; [Mr. C. Groeninx van Zoelen van Riddenkerk and Others sale, Rotterdam, 25 June 1800, no. 32]; (probably purchased at sale by Van der Poll); Colonel Petrie Waugh, Brownsea Castle, Dorset, England, until sold in 1857 [2]; Robert Kerley, Esq. (d. 1872), Bournemouth, Dorset, England, until sold 24 April 1885, no. 166; [Lady Phyllis Benton and Others sale, Sotheby’s, 26 April 1950, no. 124]; Alfred Scharf, London [3]; [Grete Ring (1887-1952), Paul Cassirer Gallery, London, from 1950; [Arcade Gallery, London, by 1954]; [purchased on joint account of M. Knoedler and Co. (stock no. 5627) and Pinakos, Inc., 1954]; purchased from Knoedler by Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York, May 20, 1954 (exhibited The Young Rembrandt and His Times, The John Herron Art Museum, Indianapolis Feb-Mar 1958 / San Diego Art Gallery, Apr-May 1958, cat. no. 83; Exhibition of Art Treasures for America from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, The National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Dec. 10, 1961-February 4, 1962, cat. no. 44); Seattle Art Museum, since 1954, accessioned 1961 [1] Information per Getty Provenance Index. Formerly understood to be in collection of the Stadhouder Frederick Hendrick, Governor of Netherlands, The Hague 1627 (see Eisler), however this is thought to be an error on the part of Eisler. [2] Colonel Waugh was a director of the London and Eastern Banking Company, whose property was offered at public auction in 1958, perh The Bankers Magazine, vol XVIII, 1858, p. 766. Waugh himself had become bankrupt on 15 April 1857; it is possible that the painting was sold at that time as part of bankruptcy proceedings. [3] Benton collection comprised only lots 127 131 in the 1950 sale; Sharf given as buyer for no. 124 in priced sales catalogue.
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryUtrecht, Belgium, Centraal Museum, Caravaggio and the Netherlands, June 15-Aug. 3, 1952 (Antwerp, Belgium, Musee Royale des Beaux-Arts, Aug. 10-Sept. 28, 1952).

Indianapolis, In., John Herron Art Institute, The Young Rembrandt and His Times, Feb. 14-Mar. 23, 1958 (San Diego, Fine Arts Gallery, Apr. 11-May 18, 1958).

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Art Treasures for America from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Dec. 10, 1961–Feb. 4, 1962. Cat. no. 44.

Denver, Colo., Denver Art Museum, Baroque Art: An Era of Elegance, Oct. 3-Nov. 15, 1971. P. 88

Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina Museum of Art, A Gift to America: Masterpieces of European Painting from the Samuel H. Kress Collection, Feb. 5-Apr. 24, 1994 (Houston, Tex., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, May 22-Aug. 14, 1994; Seattle, Wash., Seattle Art Museum, Sept. 15-Nov. 20, 1994; San Francisco, Calif., The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Dec. 17, 1994-Mar. 4, 1995). Text by David Steel et al. Cat. no. 22, pp. 155-159.

Published ReferencesNicolson, Benedict. "Caravaggio and the Netherlands." Burlington Magazine 94, no. 594 (Sept. 1952): pp. 246-252, fig. 1, reproduced p. 246.

Suida, William and Richard Fuller. European Paintings and Sculpture from the Samuel H. Kress Collection. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1954; p. 58, reproduced. p. 59.

SAM Engagement Book. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1956; reproduced across from June 3-9.

Hudson, J.R. Gerrit Van Honthorst: A Discussion of his Position in Dutch Art. The Hague, Netherlands: Martinus Nijhoff 1959; pp. 101, 218, Cat. Rais. 142.

Lehmann, Thelma. “Shows Urge Arts for Gifts.” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 3, 1961: p. 4, reproduced.

“The Grande Finale of a Fabulous Handout: Kress Foundation Gives $30 Million Worth of Art to American Museums.” Life (February 16, 1962): p. 52, reproduced.

Braun, Hermann. Gerrit und Willem van Honthorst. Gӧttingen, Germany: 1966; pp. 105-6.

Eisler, Colin T. Paintings from the Samuel H. Kress Collection: European Schools Excluding Italian. Oxford, England: Phaidon Press, 1977; p. 130, reproduced fig. 127.

Kettering, Alison McNeil. The Dutch Arcadi: Pastoral Art and its Audience in the Golden Age. Totowa, N.J.: Allanheld, Osmun & Co. Publishers, Inc., 1983; p. 90, 94, reproduced fig. 126.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America. Washington, D.C.: The Netherlands-American Amity Trust, Inc., 1986; p. 284, reproduced fig. 428.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. Selected Works. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1991; p. 94, reproduced p. 94.

Brink, Peter Van den. Het Gedroomde Land: Pastorale Schilderkunst in de Gouden Eeuw. Zwolle, Netherlands: Waanders and Utrecht, Netherlands: Centraal Museum, 1993; pp. 180- 182, reproduced fig. 29.1.

Ishikawa, Chiyo. The Samuel H. Kress Collection at the Seattle Art Museum. Seattle, Wash.: Seattle Art Museum, 1997; pp. 64-65, reproduced on frontispiece, fig. 41.

Weller, Dennis P. “Checklist.” In Sinners and Saints, Darkness and Light: Caravaggio and his Dutch and Flemish Followers. Exh. Cat. Raleigh, N.C.: North Carolina Museum of Art, 1998; p. 221, reproduced.

Spolsky, Ellen. Satisfying Skepticism. Burlington, Vt. and Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2001; pp. vi, 104, 107, reproduced fig. 6.5.

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