Signed with initials at left, in faded brown ink, "A.V.V:".
Collection J. Pierpont Morgan : Drawings by the Old Masters Formed by C. Fairfax Murray. London : Privately printed, 1905-1912, III, 226(2), repr.
Stampfle, Felice. Rubens and Rembrandt in Their Century : Flemish and Dutch Drawings of the Seventeenth Century from The Pierpont Morgan Library. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1979, under no. 124.
Watermark: none visible through lining.
The drawing is one of six red chalk studies of cows by the artist owned by The Library. The present sheet is the only one of the six that was unsigned.
This study is connected with several of van de Velde's paintings. It was used, both in the same sense and in reverse, for the artist's picture of "Cows in a Meadow", signed and dated 1658, in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin (Inv. no. 903A); and for the "Farm and Cattle with Figures", also signed and dated 1658, in the collection of the Duke of Westminster, London; as well as for at least three separate versions of "Mercury and Argus"-dated in consecutive years 1663, 1664, and 1665-the earliest in the collection of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Vaduz (Inv. no. 689), the second formerly on the London art market (Sotheby's. London,, 23 March 1960, lot 48), and the last in the Dutuit collection, Petit Palais, Paris. A preliminary pen-and-ink study for the Mercury and Argus compositions is preserved in the Prentenkabinet der Rijksuniversiteit, Leiden (Inv. no. 634).
Robinson, J. C. (John Charles), Sir, 1824-1913, former owner.
Murray, Charles Fairfax, 1849-1919, former owner.
Morgan, J. Pierpont (John Pierpont), 1837-1913, former owner.