Veronese and Workshop
Rebecca at the Well
oil on canvas
145.5 x 282.7 cm (57 5/16 x 111 5/16 in)
Charles de Croy, 4th duc d'Arschot [1560-1612], Château de Beaufort, Hainaut;  his estate; purchased 1619 from his widow, Dorothée, by George Villiers, 1st duke of Buckingham [1592-1628], York House, London;  by inheritance to his son, George Villiers, 2nd duke of Buckingham [1628-1687], York House;  purchased 1650 in Antwerp by Leopold Wilhelm, archduke of Austria [1614-1662], on behalf of his brother, Ferdinand III, Holy Roman Emperor [1608-1657], and brought to Prague;  Hapsburg Imperial Collection, Prague Castle, until 1876, and then Vienna;  Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna; sold February 1952 through (M. Knoedler & Co., London, New York, and Paris) to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York;  gift 1952 to NGA.  The picture is listed, together with its companion-pieces by Veronese, in the posthumous inventory of 1613 of the duke’s collection in his castle of Beaufort in Hainaut, no. 52: “Une pièce encoire sur thoille du susdit maistre, longue et large, et ces molures commes les précédentes, contenant la représentation d’une femme aiant les bras demy nud avecq ung viellard, ung nein, ung moriaume et pluisieurs chamaux” (A picture on canvas by the aforementioned master [Veronese], of the same dimensions and framing as the others, showing a woman with half-bare arms, an old man, a dwarf, a moor, and several camels). See Alexandre Pinchart, “La collection de Charles de Croy, duc d’Arschot, dans son château de Beaumont,” Archives des Arts, Sciences, et Lettres 1 (1860): 164. Before the series was bought by the Duke of Buckingham in 1619, other English collectors, including the Earls of Somerset and Arundel, were alerted by their agents that they were available for purchase. See Philip McEvansoneya, “Some Documents Concerning the Patronage and Collections of the Duke of Buckingham,” Rutgers Art Review 8 (1987): 29 n. 18; Beverly Louise Brown, “The So-Called Duke of Buckingham Series,” in Nuovi studi su Paolo Veronese, edited by Massimo Gemin, Venice, 1990: 231-232; Philip McEvansoneya, “Italian Paintings in the Buckingham Collection,” in The Evolution of English Collecting:. The Reception of Italian Art in the Tudor and Stuart Periods, edited by Edward Chaney, New Haven and London, 2003: 320. Charles de Croy's widow was his second wife and his first cousin once removed; they were married in 1605 and she died in 1661.  The painting was acquired by Balthasar Gerbier in Antwerp in July 1619 on behalf of the Duke of Buckingham. See Philip McEvansoneya, “Some Documents Concerning the Patronage and Collections of the Duke of Buckingham,” Rutgers Art Review 8 (1987): 29; Philip McEvansoneya, “Italian Paintings in the Buckingham Collection,” in The Evolution of English Collecting: The Reception of Italian Art in the Tudor and Stuart Periods, edited by Edward Chaney, New Haven and London, 2003: 320.  The picture, described as “Paulo Veroneso. Abraham’s Servt and Rebecca,” is included in the 1635 inventory of Buckingham’s collection at York House in the Strand. See Randall Davies, “An Inventory of the Duke of Buckingham’s Pictures, etc., at York House in 1635,” The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs 10 (1906–1907): 381.  Brian Fairfax, A Catalogue of the Curious Collection of Pictures of George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham . . ., London, 1758: 7, no. 5 (of the list of paintings by Veronese). For the sending of the greater part of the Buckingham collection to Amsterdam for safekeeping in 1648 and the circumstances of its acquisition by Leopold Wilhelm on behalf of the emperor, see Klara Garas, “Die Sammlung Buckingham und die kaiserliche Galerie,” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 40 (1987): 114-115; and Philip McEvansoneya, “The Sequestration and Dispersal of the Buckingham Collection,” Journal of the History of Collections 8 (1996): 133-154.  The picture is recorded in the Prague inventories of 1685 and 1718, no. 478, and 1737, no. 486: see Karl Köpl, “Urkunden, Akten, Regesten, und Inventare aus dem K. K. Statthalterei-Archiv in Prag,” Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses 10 (1889), cxxxviii and clxi. It is still recorded in Prague by Woltmann 1877, but in Vienna by Engerth 1884: Alfred Woltmann, “Die Gemäldesammlung in der kaiserlichen Burg zu Prag,” Mittheilungen der K. K. Central-Commission, N. F., Vienna (1877): 44-45; Eduard R. von Engerth, Kunsthistorische Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses, Gemälde, vol. 1: Italienische, Spanische und Französische Schulen, Vienna, 1884: 401. See also Jaromír Neumann, The Picture Gallery of Prague Castle, Prague, 1967: 290; Klara Garas, “Die Sammlung Buckingham und die kaiserliche Galerie,” Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte 40 (1987): 118.  M. Knoedler & Co. Records, accession number 2012.M.54, Research Library, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles: Series II, Sales Book 16, Paintings, 1945 January-1953 June, page 383, no. CA3945 (copy in NGA curatorial files).