Koetser Gallery

An Interior with a young Woman reading a Letter


Oil on Panel, 91 x 78.5 cm


Sale, Amsterdam (van der Schley, Yver), 10 June, 1789, no. 6;
Price Sale, Christie’s, London, 6 May 1893, no. 106;
Mrs Young, England (according to Kuretsky, inscribed on a no longer extant label on the verso);
Baron Königswarter (1837-1893), Vienna;
His Sale, Berlin (Schwarz and Schulte et. al), 20 November 1906, lot. 66;
Dr. Paul von Schwabach, Berlin, 1915;
With Nathan and Benjamin Katz, Dieren, 1940;
Munich Central Art Collecting Point (Mü. No. 2447);
Acquired for Adolf Hitler’s museum in Linz, inv. no. 1317;
Restituted to the Katz family, The Netherlands, after 1945;
Private collection ten Bos, Almelo, The Netherlands;
Private Collection, Cologne, 1954-2021.


Katalog der Sammlung Baron Königswarter in Wien, II, Gemälde Alter Meister (for Königswarter Sale), Berlin, 1906, p. 49, no. 66;
A. von Wurzbach, Niederländisches Künstler-lexikon, Vienna & Leipzig, 1910, vol. 2, p. 249;
E. Plietzsch, “Ausstellung von Werken alter Kunst aus Berliner Privatbesitz”, Cicerone, vol. 7, 1915: 202-4, pl. 2;
Zeitbilder, no. 41, 23 May, 1915, p. 3;
W. R. Valentiner, “Jacob Ochtervelt”, Art in America, vol. 12, 1924, p. 274
Cicerone 17, 1925: 863, nr. 288;
Gerson, Thieme-Becker, vol. 25, 1931, p. 556
E. Plietzsch, “Jacob Ochtervelt”, Pantheon, vol. 20, 1937, pp. 364, 372, fn. 1
E. Plietzsch, Holländisches und flämische Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts, Leipzig, 1960, p. 66;
S. D. Kuretsky, The Paintings of Jacob Ochtervelt (1634-1682), Oxford, 1979, pp. 85-6, no. 77, reproduced Fig. 89;
P. Sutton, et. al, Love Letters: Dutch Genre Paintings in the Age of Vermeer, exh. cat., Bruce Museum of Arts and Science, where, and National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, 2003, illus. p. 194.
Birgit Schwarz, Hitlers Museum, 2004, p. 108, no. III/27, illustrated p. 227.

Detail Description

The subject of the letter reader is recurrent in Ochtervelt’s body of work and is similar to the woman playing in the Music Lesson in the City Museum and Art Gallery of Birmingham (see S. Kuretzky, Op. Cit. Supra, no. 65, reproduced fig. 78).

Susan Kuretzky also mentions in her catlaogue Raisonné that the motif of silver pitcher and basin can be considered as symbol of both physical and spiritual purity reminding the woman of her moral duty (see S. Kuretzky, Op. Cit. Supra, p. 86). This would be confirmed by the love letter she is reading as indicated by the painting depicting Venus in the background. She dates it c. 1671-1673.


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An Interior with a young Woman reading a Letter