Jean Dollfus was a textile industrialist in Colmar, in the Alsace. He started collecting in the middle of the 19th century, and in little more than fifty years of collecting and travelling in Germany, Belgium, Holland and Italy he gathered fine works of art from a wide range of artists, schools and periods. His residence at rue Pierre Charron in Paris, near the Champs-Elysées, offered a journey through time and space: the walls were covered with works by German primitives; Flemish and Dutch masters (such as a beautiful Kermesse by Brueghel); Italian masters of the Trecento and Quattrocento; 17th century masterpieces by Rubens, Frans Hals and Murillo; and 18th and 19th century French chef-d'oeuvres by Largillière, Chardin, Drouais, Delacroix, Millet and Corot. The crowded walls were accompained by miniatures, sculptures, bas-reliefs and tapestries, notably a Crucifixion made after a cartoon by Roger van der Weyden (for a description and several illustrations of his collection see A. Alexandre, 'La Collection e M. Jean Dollfus', Le Arts, February 1904, pp. 1-16).
This painting later entered the illustrious collection of Antoon van Welie, a celebrated draughtsman and painter of genre and portraits. Trained in Belgium, he first achieved success in Paris. During his long career he lived in Paris, London and Rome, where he even used a studio in the Vatican. When in Holland, he lived in The Hague, where he painted portraits of famous members of Parliament and artists, as well as members of the Royal family and the aristocracy.