The Banquet of Ahasuerus

Object Details

Title:

The Banquet of Ahasuerus

Artist/Maker(s):

Aert de Gelder (Dutch, 1645 - 1727)

Culture:

Dutch

Date:

1680s

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

114.3 x 142.2 cm (45 x 56 in.)

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Somewhat disheveled, his eyes bleary from drink, King Ahasuerus leans heavily on his left forearm, spilling wine onto his lap from the goblet he holds. This painting shows a scene from the biblical Book of Esther, when, after seven days of feasting and drinking, King Ahasuerus drunkenly asks one of his eunuchs to summon the beautiful Queen Vashti. She refuses to appear, angering Ahasuerus and prompting him to dismiss her and choose Esther as his wife.

Aert de Gelder places the characters against a neutral background and minimizes the action so that the focus is on the interaction between the two figures. Light falls from the left, highlighting the King's flushed face, extravagant clothing, and large frame. The dimly lit figure of the eunuch, modestly dressed, small in stature, and desexed, contrasts with the king's excessive appetites.

Provenance
- 1816

Jacob van Strij, Dutch, 1756 - 1815 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) [sold, Santheuvel and Strij sale, A. M. de Hart, Dordrecht, April 24, 1816, lot 21, to Lambert Jan Nieuwenhuys.]

- 1816

or Pieter van den Santheuvel, 1732 - 1799 (Dordrecht, The Netherlands) [sold, Santheuvel and Strij sale, A. H. de Hart, Dordrecht, April 24, 1816, lot 21, to Lambert Jan Nieuwenhuys.]

1816 -

Lambert Jan van Nieuwenhuys (Brussels, Belgium)

- by 1930

Private Collection (France), sold to Jacques Goudstikker, by 1930.

by 1930 -

Jacques Goudstikker, 1897 - 1940 (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

A.J.M. Lips (Dordrecht, The Netherlands)

by 1952 -

Dr. Hans Wetzlar (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

by 1956 -

David M. Koetser Gallery (New York, NY)

by 1968 -

Hallsborough Gallery (London, England)

by 1969

Julius H. Weitzner, 1896 - 1986 (London, U.K.)

- 1973

Private Collection [sold, Sotheby's, London, July 11, 1973, lot 72.]

by 1974 - 1979

Gebroeders Douwes (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), sold share to Robert Noortman Gallery, 1979.

1979

and Robert Noortman Gallery (London, England), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1979.

Exhibitions
Meesterwerken uit vier eeuwen 1400 - 1800 (June 25 to October 15, 1938)
  • Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, (Rotterdam), June 25 to October 15, 1938, (Cat. 73)
Prisma der Bijbelse kunst (May 17, 1952 - August 12, 1952)
  • Stedelijk Museum Het Prinsenhof, (Delft), May 17 to August 12, 1952, (Cat. 91)
Rembrandt and His Pupils (November 16 to December 30, 1956)
  • North Carolina Museum of Art, (Raleigh), November 16 to December 30, 1956, (Cat. 44)
The Grand Gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 19, 1974 to January 5, 1975, (Cat. 15)
A Selection of Important Paintings by Old and Modern Masters from our 1980 Collection (1980)
  • Robert Noortman Gallery, (London), 1980, (Cat. 14)
Gods, Saints, and Heroes: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt (November 2, 1980 to July 19, 1981)
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), November 2, 1980 to January 4, 1981, (Cat. 43)
Bibliography

Fredericksen, Burton B., et al. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), pp. 55-56, ill.

Sutton, Peter C. A Guide to Dutch Art in America (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1986), p. 141, fig. 205.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 49, ill.