The Expulsion of Hagar

The Expulsion of Hagar
Salomon De Bray (Dutch, 1597-1664)
Oil on panel 
21-1/4 x 18-5/8 in. (54.0 x 47.3 cm) 
Credit Line:
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon 
Accession Number:
© Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Not on View

The story of Hagar was extremely popular in Dutch art because it touched on the basic human feelings of love, jealousy and fear. De Bray depicts the moment when Abraham reluctantly banishes the servant girl Hagar with their son Ishmael as ordered by his wife Sarah following the birth of their legitimate son Isaac, whose inheritance she sought to protect. In this anecdotal presentation, Sarah peers out from the interior of the house as a deeply conflicted Abraham gives a final blessing to his son. De Bray underscores the bond between father and son through the orchestration of their gestures. Hagar, forlorn and tearful, descends stone steps which serve to reinforce the transition awaiting her and Ishmael as they move from home to homelessness.

De Bray was very active in the civic and cultural life of Haarlem where he spent most of his life. In addition to the religious and mythological subjects for which he is best known, he was also active as an architect and published a book on the subject. His skills as a draftsman were considerable and generative as the presence of a lively underdrawing in this panel suggests.


Possibly Anonymous (sale, Ghent, Goesin, 30 April 1776, lot 45).
Jan Gildemeester, Amsterdam, (sale, Amsterdam, Van der Schley...Pruyssenaar, 11 June 1800, lot 26, bought in/sold to);
P. van der Schley.
Possibly L.C. Sommers (sale, Paris, Hôtel Bullion, Denailly, 14 January 1805, lot 12).
Aubert fils et al (sale, Paris, Paillet, 17-18 April 1806, lot 31, sold to);
Jean-Pierre Rolland.
Probably Edward Solly, London and Berlin (sale, London, Christie’s, 8 June 1819, lot 90, bought-in).
Probably Anonymous (sale, London, Stanley, 13 April 1824, lot 94, sold £16.5).
Mr. Tate of Leicester Sq. (sale, London, Foster, 27-28 February 1833, lot 208, sold £6.10 to);
Craig or Craigg.
Anonymous (sale, London, Christies, 8 December 1967, lot 44, sold for £1155 to);
Fitzalan Howard.
Anonymous (sale, London, Sotheby’s, 25 June 1969, lot 66, sold £2000 to);
[?Martin B. Asscher, before 1970 (as recorded on Witt mount)].
Anonymous (sale, London, Christie’s, 12 March 1976, lot 96, to);
Norton Simon, gift 1979 to;
Norton Simon Art Foundation.

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