Abraham de Vries was a Dutch portrait painter who travelled a lot in the Netherlands and France, where painters from the Dutch Republic were very popular at the beginning of the 17th century, before joining the Painters Guild of Anvers in 1634 and then finishing his career in the country of his birth, between Rotterdam and The Hague. He painted this portrait during a stay in Paris in 1629. It is proudly dated and signed: "Fecit Lutetia A/de Vris Hollandus/Ao 1629".

The model for this portrait is not identified. Smiling, and with a lively gaze, he is holding a ring in his fingers. It was for this reason that Jacques Foucart, who published the painting in 1980, suggested that he was a goldsmith. However, the setting of the stone is more evocative of 15th century models than of a contemporary item of jewellery. It might be an engagement or wedding ring.

In older illustrations the anonymous man in the portrait is wearing a light white muslin collar over his black garment with bear wrists, instead of the splendid ruffs we see him wearing today. The painting was restored by the gallery that had acquired it from a private British collector, before its acquisition by the Petit Palais.

The removal of repaints allowed the painting to be restored to its original condition. It is most likely that the subject wanted his portrait to be updated to the tastes of the day, the ruff having gone completely out of fashion by 1630-1631. It is tempting to imagine, without any certainty, that Abraham de Vries might have carried out the retouches himself during a second stay in Paris in 1634.

City of Paris municipal collection's website

City of Paris municipal collection's website

The collections portal can be used to search the collections of Paris’s 14 municipal museums (approximately 336,000 works, including 43,000 belonging to the Petit Palais).

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Discover a selection of databases online presenting works from the Petit Palais or documents concerning the history of the museum.