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Portrait of Andries de Graeff (1611–1678), Burgomaster of Amsterdam

Gerard ter Borch the Younger (Zwolle 1617 – 1681 Deventer)
oil on canvas
39.3 x 29 cm
signed information

unsigned but inscribed and dated (incorrectly) by a later hand, upper left corner: “Andries de Graeff lxiii Jaer M.D.C.LXXIIII”

inventory number

Wieseman, Marjorie E. “Portrait of Andries de Graeff (1611–1678), Burgomaster of Amsterdam” (2017). In The Leiden Collection Catalogue, 4th ed. Edited by Arthur K. Wheelock Jr. and Elizabeth Nogrady with Caroline Van Cauwenberge. New York, 2023–. (accessed July 13, 2024).

Andries de Graeff (1611–78) was one of the wealthiest and most influential men in the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic. He was the son of Jacob Dircksz de Graeff (several times burgomaster of Amsterdam) and Aeltge Boelens; through marriage and political affiliation he was allied with the powerful Bicker family, as well as with the Republican anti-Orangist raadpensionaris (Grand Pensionary) Johan de Witt (1625–72). In 1646 Andries married his niece, Elisabeth Bicker van Swieten (1623–56), and had three children by her. Especially after the death of his brother Cornelis in 1664, Andries was a dominant force in Amsterdam politics: he served seven terms as burgomaster between 1657 and 1672, and was a member of the vroedschap (city council) between 1665 and 1672. The change in government brought about by the closing of the First Stadholderless Period and the appointment of Willem III as stadholder of the Netherlands in 1672 signaled the end of De Graeff’s political career.

Around 1670 De Graeff built an impressive house on Amsterdam’s fashionable Herengracht, which he filled with the fruits of his assiduous collecting and patronage of the arts, including ceiling paintings by Gerard de Lairesse (now in the Vredespaleis, The Hague). De Graeff was instrumental in commissioning decorations for Amsterdam’s new Town Hall, and in 1660 helped organize a strategic gift of artworks to King Charles II of England. Alongside his commitment to the visual arts, De Graeff was also Maecenas to the poets Joost van den Vondel, Jan Vos, Caspar Barlaeus, and Gerard Brandt.

De Graeff was portrayed on several occasions by some of the most sought-after artists of the era: in paintings by Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–69) from 1639 () and Govaert Flinck (1615–60) from the early 1650s, in a drawing by Jan Lievens (1607–74) from about 1657 (), and in a marble bust by Artus Quellinus (1609–68) made in 1661 (). Painted in 1673, Gerard ter Borch the Younger’s portrait is the last of these, depicting the subject at the age of sixty-two or sixty-three. De Graeff is dressed plainly, in a black doublet and breeches and wearing a simple flat linen collar; with both hands, he pulls close around him the black cloak draped over his shoulders. On the table at right is a slim book, closed securely with ribbons and seals. Despite the sober attire, Ter Borch’s portrait of De Graeff hints discreetly at some personal vanity: the man’s luxuriantly full and glossy brown wig is ill matched to his mustache and carefully clipped mouche, which reveal the silvery hair of a man in his sixties.

Ter Borch painted several portraits of the extended De Graeff family (as well as other prominent Amsterdam sitters) while in Deventer between 1672 and 1674: Andries’s son Cornelis and Cornelis’ wife, Agneta Deutz, and his nephews Pieter and Jacob de Graeff. The portraits of Andries and Cornelis de Graeff are both inscribed with a date of 1674, which, as Dudok van Heel has shown, is incorrect. An entry in Pieter de Graeff’s almanac for 22 July 1673 mentions the commission for Ter Borch’s portrait of his brother Jacob and implies that the portrait of Cornelis was already completed by that date. Presumably Andries’s portrait was painted at about the same time. Although the inscriptions were added at a later date, they appear to be quite old (possibly from the eighteenth century); in both instances the painting’s craquelure also runs through the paint of the inscriptions.

Three versions of Ter Borch’s Portrait of Andries de Graeff are extant. The present version was unknown to scholars until it was exhibited at the monographic Ter Borch exhibition held in The Hague and Münster in 1974. The painting did not find universal acceptance at the time; Gerson, in his review of the exhibition, suggested it might be by Caspar Netscher, although there is no specific stylistic reason to think this is the case. A second version of the portrait, in the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon (), is probably a studio work. Another, weaker version, which is slightly larger in its dimensions, is in the Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum in Aachen. Although the Leiden Collection’s painting has probably been trimmed at the sides and at the top, the excellent condition of the paint surface allows one to appreciate fully Ter Borch’s sensitive depiction of this imposing individual.

- Marjorie E. Wieseman, 2017
  • George Granville Sutherland-Levenson-Gower, 2nd Duke of Sutherland (1786–1861), York House, England, until 1846.
  • (George J. Morant, London).
  • (John Lewis Rutley, London, by whom sold to Frewen for £25, 1848).
  • Thomas Frewen (1811–70), Brickwall, Northiam, Sussex, 1848; by descent to Admiral Sir John Byng Frewen, G. C. B. (1911–75), Northiam, Sussex; until ca. 1969.
  • (Sale, Sotheby’s Mak van Waay, Amsterdam, 24 April 1978, no. 110).
  • Private collection, the Netherlands.
  • Private collection, Switzerland (sale, Sotheby’s, London, 11 April 1990, no. 41 [David Koetser Gallery, Zurich, 1990–91]).
  • Private collection (sale, Sotheby’s, Amsterdam, 18 May 2004, no. 31, unsold [Salomon Lilian, B. V., Amsterdam, 2004]).
  • From whom acquired by the present owner in 2004.
  • The Hague, Mauritshuis, “Gerard ter Borch, Zwolle 1617–Deventer 1681,” 9 March–28 April 1974; Münster, Landemuseum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte, 12 May–23 June 1974, no. 56a [lent by a private collection].
  • Zurich, David Koetser, “Fine Old Master Paintings Principally of the Dutch and Flemish Schools,” 1990–91, no. 24 [lent by a private collection].
  • Amsterdam, Amsterdam Historical Museum, “Kopstukken: Amsterdammers geportretteerd 1600–1800,” 10 October 2002–26 January 2003, no. 33 [lent by a private collection].
  • Langemeyer, Gerhard, ed. Gerard ter Borch, Zwolle 1617–Deventer 1681. Exh. cat. The Hague, Mauritshuis; Münster, Landesmusuem fur Kunst und Kulter Geschichte. Münster, 1974, 186–87, no. 56a.
  • Gerson, Horst. “Gerard ter Borch: Zur Ausstellung im Landesmuseum Münster.” Kunstchronik 27, no. 2 (1974): 374.
  • Brown, Christopher. “Gerard ter Borch at The Hague and Münster.” Burlington Magazine 116 (May 1974): 291.
  • Dudok van Heel, S. A. C. “In presentie van de Heer Gerard ter Borch.” In Essays in Northern European Art Presented to Egbert Haverkamp Begemann on His Sixtieth Birthday. Edited by Anne Marie Logan, 67, n. 8. Doornspijk, 1983.
  • Weber, Gregor J. M. “Dus leeft de dappre Graaf. Zu einem Bildnis Andries de Graeffs von Jan Lievens (1607–1674).” Oud Holland 99 (1985): 48–49, no. 5, 55, n. 26.
  • David Koetser Gallery. Fine Old Master Paintings Principally of the Dutch and Flemish Schools. Sales cat. Zurich, David Koetser Gallery. Zurich, 1990–91, no. 24.
  • Kettering, Alison McNeil. “Gerard ter Borch’s Portraits of the Deventer Elite.” Simiolus 27 (1999): 67, n. 84.
  • De Bell, Wim, and Norbert Middelkoop. “Andries de Graeff, ca. 1673.” In Kopstukken: Amsterdammers geportretteerd 1600–1800. Edited by Norbert Middelkoop, 134–36, no. 33. Exh. cat. Amsterdam, Amsterdam Historical Museum. Bussum, 2002.
  • Van Suchtelen, Ariane. “Portrait of Cornelis de Graeff (1650-1678), 1673.” Portraits in the Mauritshuis, 1430–1790. Edited by Quentin Buvelot, 51–55, no. 7. Zwolle, 2004.
  • Fusenig, Thomas. Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum Aachen: Bestandskatalog der Gemäldegalerie, Niederlande von 1550 bis 1800. Aachen and Munich, 2006, 39–40.
  • Vis, Pieter C. “Andries de Graeff, 1611–1678,’t Gezagh is heerelyk: doch vol bekommeringen.” Paper submitted to Universiteit van Amsterdam, 2010, 16, no. 20.

The support, a single piece of fine-weight, plain-weave fabric with tacking margins removed, has been lined. The horizontal threads slope downward when viewed from left to right, and there is pronounced cusping along the lower edge only. There are inscriptions identifying the sitter but no wax collection seals, stencils or import stamps along the lining canvas or stretcher.

A light-colored, radio-opaque ground has been thinly and evenly applied. The paint has been applied with loose, fluid brushstrokes in thin, smooth glazes with no use of impasto or raised brushwork.

The painting is unsigned but is dated (incorrectly) and inscribed with the sitter’s name in parallel strokes of highlight and shadow along the upper left corner.

No underdrawing is readily apparent in infrared images captured at 780–1000 nanometers. The infrared images, the X-radiograph, and a pentimento suggest the middle finger of the figure’s proper left hand was originally depicted shorter, similar in length to the pointer.

The painting was cleaned and restored in 2004 and remains in a good state of preservation.


  1. Dated (incorrectly) and inscribed with the name of the sitter at the upper left: Andries de Graeff / lxiii Jaer /M.D.C. LXXIIII

Versions and Copies

  1. After Gerard ter Borch, Andries de Graeff, oil on canvas, 42 x 34.5 cm, Suermondt-Ludwig Museum, Aachen, inv. no. GK 509.
  2. Studio of Gerard ter Borch, Andries de Graeff, oil on canvas, 39 x 29 cm, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon, no. CA T 63.
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