Gerard Ter Borch was the son of a minor painter and was very precocious. He was in Amsterdam and Haarlem 1632/4, when Rembrandt was making his name and Hals was working in Haarlem; in 1635 he visited England; in 1640 he was in Italy; he returned to Holland probaly via France, and in 1646 he went to Munster in Westphalia (presumably to paint portraits of the dignitaries at the Congress of the Peace of Westphalia), and in 1648 he accompanied the Spanish Envoy to Madrid, returning to Holland in 1650.
On account of these travels Ter Borch must have had first-hand knowledge of almost all the great 17th-century artists - Rembrandt, Hals, Velazquez, Bernini - and yet his style betrays no hint of this, for he is content to paint small portaits and genteel genre scenes, diligent in style, paying particular attention to the rendering of silk and satin.
His most famous work is the Peace of Munster, May 15, 1648 (London, NG), a group portrait of all the dignitaries at the treaty-signing at full-length, on copper, 17 and a half by 22 and a half inches: all his other pictures are small portraits and portrait groups, usually full-length, and scenes of well-to-do Dutch family life or else Kortegaardjes. Most of his figures have a curious doll-like charm and the costumes and accessories recur so often in his portraits, even down to identical folds, that it is possible he painted the pictures in advance and simply added heads and hands as necessary. His works are often similar to those of his junior, Metzu, but his subtle treatment of colour and light were far exceeded by Vermeer
There are works by him in the Royal Coll. and in Aix, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Berlin, Boston (Gardner), Bremen, Budapest, Cape Town, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland Ohio, Cologne, Copenhagen, Detroit, Deventer (Town Hall), Dresden, Dublin, Florence (Uffizi), Frankfurt (Stadel), Glasgow (Burrell), Haarlem, The Hague, Hamburg, Indianapolis, London (NG, V&A, Wallace Coll.), Malibu Cal. (Getty), Munich, New York (Met. Mus., Frick Coll., Hist. Soc.), Paris (Louvre, Petit Pal.), Philadelphia, Richmond VA, Rotterdam, Rouen, Toledo Ohio, Vaduz (Liechtenstein Coll.: Portrait of van Goyen), Vienna, Washington (NG) and Wellesey College Mass.
Source: The Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists (Penguin Reference Books)