Death and the Miser
oil on panel
93 x 31 cm (36 5/8 x 12 3/16 in)
Private collection, England, possibly in or near Arundel, Sussex, around 1826.  (unnamed dealer, Highgate Village, London), c. 1926.  (Raven, Massey, and Lester, London), by 1926. (Asscher and Welker, London), by 1931.  Baron Joseph van der Elst, Brussels, Biot, France, and numerous diplomatic posts, by 1932 or slightly later.  sold 1951 though (Messrs. E.D. Lowy and Franz Mayer) to the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, New York; gift 1952 by exchange to NGA.  This may be deduced from a drawing after the painting. Mr. E. Kersley, in a letter of 17 June 1961 to John Walker in the NGA curatorial files, places the drawing in or near Arundel based on its original position in a sketchbook of primarily topographical scenes. Attributed to the English artist William Henry Brooke (1772-1860), this drawing is now in the National Gallery of Art (1983.48.1).  J. Massey, London, letter of 21 July 1961 to Perry Cott, in NGA curatorial files.  Letters, 30 September and 3 October 1931, Asscher and Welker to Jean Guiffrey, Director, Musée du Louvre, Paris, in NGA curatorial files (transferred from René Huyghe material in NGA Photographic Archives); the painting was then in Asscher and Welker's possession and they were offering it for sale to the Louvre. The second letter informed Guiffrey that the painting was "out of a small unknown collection, and as such has no pedigree." See also Gustav Glück, Brueghels Gemälde (Vienna, 1932), 57.  A letter from William Suida to the Baron of 25 October 1951 in the Kress files requests the Baron's written confirmation that he once owned the painting, and that he sold it through an agent to the Kress Foundation: "The Foundation bought the painting through Messrs. [E.D.] Loewy and [Franz] Mayer. It is well-known that the painting was formerly in your collection but we have no record of the fact in our file concerning it." Although the file contains no reply to Suida's letter, it does contain the old painting label which reads, "...KRESS COLLECTION/ ACQUIRED MARCH 17, 1951/FROM THE VAN DER ELST COLLECTION".