The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of March 24, 2018

Laban Searching for his Stolen Household Gods, c. 1665-1670

oil on canvas, Framed: 278 x 398 x 14 cm (109 7/16 x 156 11/16 x 5 1/2 in.); Unframed: 243 x 362 cm (95 5/8 x 142 1/2 in.). Gift of the John Huntington Art and Polytechnic Trust 1965.469

This story comes from the Old Testament book of Genesis and stresses the value of reconciliation. Jacob lived with his uncle Laban for years, marrying Laban’s daughters Rachel and Leah. When the relationship between the men soured, Jacob and his family departed, while Rachel secretly stole her father’s household gods. When Laban discovered that the statues were missing, he pursued Jacob, accusing him of theft. Here, Jacob invites Laban to search his tent, while Rachel sits on the saddlebag containing the statues. After coming up empty-handed, Laban proposes a truce, ending the squabble.

Royal Academy 1/3/83.
Fort Worth, TX: Kimbell Art Museum (3/10-6/16/02); Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art (7/14-10/6/02) "Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682): Paintings from American Collections" exh. cat. no. 14, p. 137, no color repr.

1665- Marquis of Villamanrique, Seville1
By 1774 Marquis of Villamanrique, Madrid2
By 1775-1808 Marquis of Santiago, Santiago Palace, Madrid, sold to William Buchanan and W.G. Coesvelt through G. Augustus Wallis
c. 1808-1809 (William Buchanan and W.G. Coesvelt, London, acquired in Spain through Buchanan’s agent, G. Augustus Wallis), sold to the Marquis of Westminster)3
After 1809 Possibly Robert Grosvenor, Marquis of Westminster [1767-1845]4
Possibly until 1899 Hugh Grosvenor, Marquis of Westminster [1825-1899], Grosvenor House, London, to his grandson, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor
By 1907-1924 Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, second Duke of Westminster [1879 –1953]
1924 (Christie, Manson, and Woods, London, sale, July 4, 1924, no. 21, sold to Hibbard)
1924- Hibbard5
By 1926 Jacques Barou de la Lombardière de Canson [d. 1958], Paris
By 1931 Carlos Guinle [1889-1956], Rio de Janeiro
Until 1965 (Wildenstein & Co., New York, NY, sold to the Cleveland Museum of Art)
1965- The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio


1The Marquis of Villamanrique, probably Manuel Luis de Guzmán y Manrique de Zúñiga, IV Marqués de Villamanrique (d. 1692) commissioned this painting from Murillo. The painting then passed down through the family, likely following this line of descent: Melchor de Guzmán Osorio Davila Manrique de Zuñiga, V Marqués de Villamanrique (d. 1710); Ana Nicolasa de Guzmán Osorio Dávila y Manrique de Zúñiga, VI Marquesa de Villamanrique (d. 1762); Ventura Antonio Osorio de Moscoso y Guzmán Dávila y Aragón, VII Marqués de Villamanrique, (d. 1746); Ventura Osorio de Moscoso y Fernández de Córdoba, VIII Marqués de Villamanrique (d. 1776).

2Probably Ventura Osorio de Moscoso y Fernández de Córdoba, VIII Marqués de Villamanrique, who died in 1776.

3The Marquis of Westminster purchased the painting in exchange for two Lorrains, a Poussin, and 1200 livres.

4There is no documentation confirming that Robert Grosvenor owned this painting. However, it was in the collection of Grosvenor House by 1821, and neither Hugh Grosvenor nor his father, Richard, could have purchased the painting from William Buchanan c. 1809.

5Several copies of the 1924 Christie's sale catalogue have handwritten notations indicating "Hibbard" that Hibbard was the buyer of this painting. Hibbard's first name has not been identified, but a collector by the name of "Hibbard" does appear in several other auction catalogues, as well as in the provenances of several paintings currently in museum collections.


Angulo Iñiguez, Diego. Murillo. Madrid: Espasa-Calpe, 1981.

Buchanan, William. Memoirs of Painting: With a Chronological History of the Importation of Pictures by the Great Masters into England Since the French Revolution. London: Printed for R. Ackerman, 1824.

Christie, Manson & Woods. Pictures by Old Masters of the Italian and Flemish Schools. July 4, 1924.

Curtis, Charles Boyd. Velazquez and Murillo; A Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of the Works of Don Diego De Silva Velazquez and Bartolomé Estéban Murillo. London: S. Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1883.

Esteban, Claude, and Juan Antonio Gaya Nuño. Tout l'œuvre peint de Murillo. Paris: Flammarion, 1980.

Mary Crawford Volk, letter to Alan Chong, Aug. 12, 1992, in CMA curatorial file.

Valdivieso, Enrique. Murillo: catálogo razonado de pinturas. Madrid: Ediciones El Viso, 2010.

Young, John, and Robert Grosvenor Westminster. A Catalogue of the Pictures at Grosvenor House, London: With Etchings from the Whole Collection. Executed by Permission of the Noble Proprietor and Accompanied by Historical Notices of the Principal Works. London: Printed by W. Bulmer and W. Nicol, Cleveland-Row, St. James's. Published by the Proprietor, No. 65, Upper Charlotte-Street, Fitzroy-Square, 1821.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

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