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Woman Plucking a Duck

c. 1655-1656
Nicolaes Maes, Dutch (active Amsterdam and Dordrecht), 1634 - 1693
This intimate interior scene conveys a veiled erotic symbolism, suggested by the lurking cat (a symbol of lust) and the rifle, gamebag, and glass of wine (on a table in the room beyond), objects that hint at a nearby male presence. The picture is also notable for depicting a range of ceramics used in the homes of well-off Dutch citizens in this period, including a Westerwald stoneware jug ornamented with repeated floral reliefs resting on the windowsill and Westerwald drinking jugs hanging from a rack in the upper right, ready for use. The frequent appearance of German stoneware vessels in genre paintings of the Dutch Golden Age reflects the extent of the export trade and the practical qualities of these wares, while also offering a sense of their valued status in households....

Object Details
Comte de Turenne, about 1818 [1]; sale, comte de Turenne, Paris, May 17, 1852, no. 44, to dealer Nieuwenhuys; Adrian John Hope (1811-1863); his son Adrian Elias Hope (d. 1919); sale, Adrian Hope, Christie's, London, June 30, 1894, no. 39; purchased by Charles Sedelmeyer (dealer), Paris; Jules Porgès, Paris, 1898 [2]; F. Kleinberger, Paris and New York; August de Ridder (d.1911), Schönberg near Frankfurt, 1910; his wife, 1911-1924 [3]; sale, August de Ridder collection, Paris, June 2, 1924, no. 38; with D. A. Hoogendijk, Amsterdam, by 1928; with Joseph Duveen, New York; Roland Leslie Taylor (1869-1943), Philadelphia, probably by 1929 [4]; by inheritance to his daughters Marjorie T. Hardwick (Mrs Gordon A. Hardwick) and Elisabeth T. Ely (Mrs W. Newbold Ely); gift to PMA, 1944.1. The introduction to the Turenne sale catalogue states that he purchased all his paintings in the Low Countries between 1816-1818 [Getty Provenance Index].2. Paris, Charles Sedelmeyer, "Illustrated Catalogue of 300 Paintings," 1898, no. 81, "now in the collection of M. Jules Porgès, Paris."3. The Getty Provenance Index indicates that between 1913-24, the Ridder paintings were considered "sequestered German property."4. Lent to the Baltimore Museum of Art, 1929.

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