The National Museum of Western Art

update 11 December 2019

on display Permanent collection

Gerard Dou [Leyden, 1613 - Leyden, 1675]

Still Life with a Boy Blowing Soap-bubbles

Datec. 1635-36
Materials/Techniquesoil on panel
Size (cm)48 x 39.7
InscriptionsSigned (G and D in monogram) lower right on edge of table: G DOV
Credit LinePurchased
CategoryPaintings
Collection NumberP.1981-0001
Still Life with a Boy Blowing Soap-bubbles
${artpics.get(0).picturecopyrighteng}

The soap-bubbles, skull, hourglass, feathered cap and gourd and other still-life elements shown in this work indicate that its subject is vanitas, the emptiness and ephemeral quality of man's existence. This work differs slightly from standard vanitas images as the boy blowing soap-bubbles has been fitted with the wings of angel. This motif indicates the layering of a religious theme over the standard vanitas imagery. Thought to have been painted relatively early in Dou's painting career, during the years 1635-36, the work clearly exhibits the compositional forms of his earlier interior scenes. The realistic depiction of still-life elements floating against the dark reaches of an interior setting is typical of Dou's work. (Source: Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 2009, cat. no. 33)

Provenance

Countess A. Sparre, Stockholm (probably acquired in France in the 18th centry); On loan to Mauritshuis, The Hague, before 1935; G. A. Hagemann, Bjersjöholm, Sweden; His daughter, Fru Anne-Lise Lembke; David Carritt Ltd., London; Purchased by the NMWA, 1981.

Exhibition History

1884
Stockholm, 1884 - 1884
1980
Ten Paintings by Gerard Dou, David Camitt Ltd., London, 1980 - 1980, cat. no.3, repr.
1990
The Silent Dialogue: Still Life in the West and Japan, Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Shizuoka, 1990 - 1990, cat. no. 1-2, repr.
1996
The Crossing Visions: European and Modern Japanese Art from the Collections of The National Museum of Western Art & The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, 20 July 1996 - 8 September 1996, cat. no. 60
2000
Tanka at the National Museum of Western Art: An Encounter between Poet and Art, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 25 July 2000 - 29 October 2000, cat. no. 21
2003
Rembrandt and the Rembrandt School: The Bible, Mythology and Ancient History, National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, 13 September 2003 - 14 December 2003, cat. no. 56

Bibliography

1901
Martin, Wilhelm. Het leven en de werken van Gerrit Dou beschouwd in verband met het Schildersleven van zijn tija. Leiden, 1901, no. 267.
1902
Martin, Wilhelm. Gerard Dou. London, 1902, no. 194.
1907
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten holländischen Maler des 17. Jahrhunderts. vol. 1, Esslingen, 1907, pp. 386-387, no. 136.
1908
Hofstede de Groot, Cornelis. A Catalogue Raisonné of the Most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century. vol. 1, London, 1908, p. 391, no. 136.
1911
Granberg, Olof. Inventaire Général des Trésors d'Art en Suède. Stockholm, 1911, vol. 1, no. 94, vol. 2, pl. 56.
1913
Martin, Wilhelm. Gerard Dou (Klassiker der Kunst 24). Stuttgart; Berlin, 1913, pp. 88, 183, repr.
1914
Bangel, R. Cicerone. 1914, p. 323.
1980
Kiston, Michael. Ten Paintings by Gerard Dou at David Carritt. The Burlington Magazine. vol. CXXII, no. 933, Dec. 1980, pp. 848-849, repr.
1981
1983
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1983 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 23, repr.
1983
Gazette des Beaux-Arts. ser. 6, tome 101, March 1983, "Chronique des Arts", p. 59, no. 332, repr.
1983
Annual Bulletin of the National Museum of Western Art. No. 16 (1981), 1983, Arikawa, Haruo. On the New Acquisitions 1981. pp. 6-7, Catalogue of the New Acquisitions. p. 16, col. repr.
1989
Kobayashi-Sato, Yoriko. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Paintings in Japan I. Annual Report Bridgestone Museum of Art & Ishibashi Museum of Art. no. 37 (1988), 1989, p. 41, no. 9, repr.
1989
Masterpieces of the National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1989 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 25, repr.
1990
Catalogue of painting acquisitions: 1979-1989. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art, 1990, pp. 30-32, repr.
2006
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2006 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 33, col. repr.
2009
Masterpieces of The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2009, no. 33, col. repr.
2013
Masterpieces: The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. Tokyo, The Western Art Foundation, 2013 (Japanese, preface in Japanese and English), no. 47, col. repr.
2018
Kofuku, Akira. Catalogue of Dutch and Flemish Paintings, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo. [Tokyo], The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo; The Western Art Foundation, 2018, pp. 112-115, no. 32, col. repr.

Page top