G. Denis, 'Boy de-fleaing a dog'

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The Netherlands
Second half 17th century
Oil on panel
18 cm
13.5 cm

S.J. Gudlaugsson, Katalog der Gemälde Gerard ter Borchs; Sowie biographisches material, The Hague 1960, cat. no. 116.
D. Sander, Katalog der Gemälde; Museum der bildenden Künste Leipzig, Stuttgart 1995, p. 37, cat. no. 1492.


Auction House Frederik Muller, Amsterdam
Collection J. Goudstikker, Amsterdam, inv. no. 1624, probably before March 1926, as Domenicus van Tol
Looted by Nazi authorities, July 1940
Collection Alfred Kummerlé, Brandenburg, 1942
Collection Museum der Bildenden Künste, Leipzig, March 1954, as G. Denis
Transferred to the Dutch State, 2012
Restituted to heirs Goudstikker, 2013

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This refined painting by G. Denis depicts a bent over boy carefully de-fleaing the dog on his lap. The work was in 1940 in the trading stock of art dealer J. Goudstikker as a painting by Dominecus van Tol (1635 - 1676) and was probably purchased before 1926 at the Frederik Muller auction house in Amsterdam. The painting was looted during the Second World War and was part of the Göring transaction, after which it came into the possession of the collector Alfred Kummerlé in Leipzig. After his death, his collection was confiscated by the GDR and this work was included in the collection of the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig as G. Denis. In 2012, it was transferred to the Dutch state and in 2013, it was returned to Goudstikker's heirs. On the reverse side of the work, there are labels of the Goudstikker collection, Alfred Kummerlé, the Museum der Bildendenden Künste in Leipzig, and of the restitution by the Dutch state.

The artist behind the signature G. Denis is as yet unknown. In the monograph on Gerard ter Borch by S.J. Gudlaugsson, the painting is discussed and Denis, who is undoubtedly Dutch, is described as follows: 'The completely unknown Denis appears to belong to the Leiden school. His manner of painting is reminiscent of Brekelenkam and Jan Steen'. The painting is comparable to a work by Gerard ter Borch on the same theme in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich (inv. 589).  

See for the inventory of Goudstikker, with this painting as Domenicus van Tol: Amsterdam City Archives, 1341, archive of Jacques Goudstikker and Desi Goudstikker-Halban, 3.


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