Gerard ter Borch's works often hint at romantic subject matter, but they are always understated and decorous. In this painting, the figure of the woman is not fully dressed. A lace collar would have covered her upper chest, and so the scene, while it appears perfectly proper to the modern viewer, was probably considered tastefully intimate in its own day. Ter Borch was particularly skilled in the depiction of textiles and the luxury items of the wealthy Dutch bourgeoisie.
Artist Gerard ter Borch, Dutch, 1617-1681
  • Lady at Her Toilette
Date ca. 1660
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 30 × 23 1/2 inches (76.2 × 59.7 cm)
Framed: 44 inches × 37 5/8 inches × 3 1/4 inches (111.8 × 95.6 × 8.3 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase, Eleanor Clay Ford Fund, General Membership Fund, Endowment Income Fund and Special Activities Fund
Accession Number 65.10
Department European Painting
On View Dutch Golden Age S380, Level 3 (see map)
Signed Signed, upper left, on mantle: GTB (the G, T and B form a monogram)
collection Pieter van Winter (Amsterdam, Netherlands).
1797, Louvre (Paris, France);
1802, Chateau Saint Cloud (Saint-Cloud, France);
1833, Collection Willems (Frankfurt am-Main, Germany);
1836, Collection Lionel de Rothschild (London, England);
collection Sir Nathaniel Mayer Rothschild (London, England);
collection Lord Alfred Rothschild (London, England);
daughter of Lord Rothschild, Collection Mrs. Clive Behrens;
son-in-law of Mrs. Behrens, Collection Major P. E. C. Harris (London, England);
1965, dealer, Rosenberg & Stiebel (New York, New York, USA);
1965-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
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Smith, J. Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most eminent Dutch, Flemish and French Painters, vol. 4. London, 1833, no. 61.

Exhibition. Exh. cat., British Institution. London, 1844, cat. 103.

Waagen, G. Treasures of Art in Great Britain, vol. 2. London, 1854, p. 129.
Exhibition. Exh. cat., Royal Academy. London, 1878, cat. 157.

Exhibition. Exh. cat., Royal Academy. London, 1885, cat. 121.

Hofstede de Groot, C. Beschreibendes und kritisches Verzeichnis der Werke der hervorragendsten Holländischen Maler des XVII. Jahrhunderts 5. Esslingen, 1912, cat. 47.

Hofstede de Groot, C. Catalogue Raisonné of the Works of the most Eminent Dutch Painters of the Seventeenth Century, vol. 5. London, no. 47.

Exhibition. Exh. cat., Royal Academy. London, 1929, cat. 223.

Plietszch, E. Gerard ter Borch. Vienna, 1944, no. 82, repr.

Dutch Pictures 1450-1750. Exh. cat., Royal Academy. London, 1952, cat. 395.

Gudlaugsson, S. J. Gerard Ter Borch, vol. 1. The Hague, 1959, pp. 123-124, 315, no. 165, repr.

Gudlaugsson, S. J. Gerard Ter Borch, vol. 2. The Hague, 1960, p. 169, no. 165.

Haverkamp-Begeman, E. "Terborch's Lady at Her Toilet." Art News 64, no. 8 (Dec. 1965): 38-41, 62, repr.

The Age of Rembrandt. Exh. cat., California Palace of the Legion of Honor. San Francisco, 1966, cat. 85, repr.

Artforum 5, no. 5 (Jan. 1967): 43, repr.

Paintings of 17th Century Dutch Interiors. Exh. cat., Nelson Gallery of Art and Atkins Museum. Kansas City, 1967, pp. 14-15, cat. 23, repr.

Mayer, D. "Les tablelaux de Saint-Cloud sous Napoleon Ier." Archives de l'Art Français 24 (1969): 246, 267.

DIA Handbook, 1971, p. 109.

Gerard Ter Borch Zwolle 1617 Deventer 1681. Exh. cat., Mauritshuis. The Hague, 1974, pp. 158-159, cat. 45, repr.

Bailey, A. "The World of Jan de Witt.” Horizon 17 (Winter 1975): 5-23, esp. p. 21, repr.

Exhibition of Pictures from Museums in the United States of America. Exh. cat., Hermitage Museum. Moscow, 1976, cat. 10, repr.

Chefs-d'Oeuvres des Musées des Etats-Unis: de Giorgione à Picasso. Exh. cat., Musée Marmottan. Paris, 1976, cat. 16, repr.

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Cummings, Frederick J. "Preface.” Bulletin of the DIA 57, no. 1 (1979): 5-8, esp. p. 6, fig 1. (volume devoted to Edsel & Eleonor Ford as collectors).

Cummings, Frederick J., ed. Selected Works from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Detroit, 1979, pp. 69, 77, no. 47 (ill.).

Masters of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Genre Painting. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1984, pp. 150-151, cat. 134, pl. 72.

Glueck, G. "When Genre Painting reached its Zenith." The New York Times, March 25, 1984, section H, p. 35.

100 Masterworks from the Detroit Institute of Arts. New York, 1985, pp. 112-113, repr.

Stone-Ferrier, L. Images of Textiles: the Weave of Seventeenth-Century Dutch Art and Society. Ann Arbor, 1985, p. 164, fig. 77.

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Masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Exh. cat., Bunkamura Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1989, pp. 61 208, cat. 29, repr.

Priem, R. "The 'most excellent collection' of Lucretia Johanna van Winter: the years 1809-22, with a catalogue of the works purchased.” Simiolus 25, nos. 2/3 (1997): 103-234.

A Moral Compass: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Century Painting in the Netherlands. Exh. cat., Grand Rapids Art Museum. Grand Rapids, 1999, p. 48, cat. 3, repr. (cat. entry by H. M. Luttikhuizen).

Art & Home Dutch Interiors in the Age of Rembrandt. Exh. cat., Newark Museum. Newark, 2001, pp. 41-42, 197, cat. 86, fig. 59 (exh. organized by M. Westermann).

Wieseman, M. E. Late Seventeenth-Century Dutch Painting. Doornspijk, 2002, p. 63, fig. 19.

Keyes, George S. et al. Masters of Dutch Painting: The Detroit Institute of Arts. London, 2004, frontispiece, pp. 2, 30–33, no. 9 (ill.).

"Gerard ter Borch.” Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art. Washington, D.C., 2004-2005, pp. 135-137, 207, cat. 34, repr. (exh. organized by A. K. Wheelock, Jr., for the AFA).

Keyes, G.S. "A Brief History of the European Paintings Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts with a Focus on the Dutch School.” Iin the catalogue for TEFAF Maastricht (2005): 10-15.

Liedtke, W. Dutch Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007, vol. 1, p. 76 (cited under Terborch, Curiosity, inv. 49.7.38--not likely as a companion painting).

Westermann, Mariët. Sound, Silence and Modernity in Dutch Pictures of Manners. Edinburgh, 2007, pp. 26-28.

Baer, Ronni et al. Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Boston, 2015, p. 135; p. 151; p. 169, fig. 30 (ill.); p. 218; p. 320, no. 30.

Roodenburg, Herman. “Smelling Rank and Status” In Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Boston, 2015, pp. 41–54, p. 49.

Winkel, Marieke de. “Ambition and Apparel” In Class Distinctions: Dutch Painting in the Age of Rembrandt and Vermeer. Boston, 2015, pp. 55–73, p. 56.

Wheelock, Jr., Arthur K. "Reflections." In Vermeer and the Masters of Genre Painting. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Ireland. Dublin, 2017, pp. 152-156, cat 7.2 (ills.). [as Lady at her Toilet.]