Anonymous sale, Stockholm, Bukowski, 5 November 1969, lot 203; With Leger Galleries, London; From whom purchased in 1971 by a private collector; Anonymous sale ('The Property of a Lady'), London, Sotheby's, 12 Dec 2002, lot 5.
The forested landscapes of Alsloot – an artist whose works are rare – often incorporate views of castles and abbeys located in the Forêt de Soignes, near Brussels, a frequent source of inspiration. This was a region with close ties to the Brussels court, where Alsloot was employed from around 1599 by Archduke Albert and Archduchess Isabella as court painter. For them he painted landscapes, views of their estates and images of court festivities. The signature form adopted by Alsloot on this and other works indicates his official position (S.A.Pic.: Serenissorum Archiducum Pictor).
Two drawings relate to Alsloot’s Flight into Egypt. Both are signed and dated 1608. One is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and shows a Forest Landscape with a distant Castle (fig. 1).1 Most striking is the bridge and its placement in the lower right corner, repeated in the painting. The other is a Forest Landscape with a View of the Château at Tervueren in the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris (fig. 2).2 Comparison with this sheet shows that the building depicted with topographical accuracy in its lakeside setting can now be identified with certainty as the château at Tervueren, an important site tied to the Brussels court. In the painting this vista is given greater prominence at the composition’s centre.
The very same building viewed from the same angle appears in a Winter Landscape by Alsloot dated 1618 that sold in 2000.3 In the case of the present painting, both highly finished drawings serve as compelling evidence for a date of around 1608. As in many of Alsloot’s paintings the figures are probably the work of Alsloot’s principal collaborator, Hendrik de Clerck (circa 1570–1629).
1. See G. Goldner and L. Hendrix, European Drawings 2, Malibu 1992, cat. no. 81. 2. Paris, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts and Hamburg, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Renaissance et Maniérisme dans les Écoles du Nord, Dessins des collections de l’École des Beaux-Arts, E. Brugerolles, Paris, 16 October – 16 December 1995 and Hamburg, 16 May – 29 June 1986, no. 121. 3. London, Phillips, 12 December 2000, lot 71, for £270,000.
The panel has been cradled and is flat and stable. The painting has fairly recently been cleaned and restored and is in good overall condition. Inspection under ultra-violet reveals a band of restoration around a central horizontal join or split. Apart from this and an area around the tree stump and figures on the path in the central foreground, perhaps caused by another small split from the left margin, restoration is confined to local repairs, and the majority of the paint surface is well preserved.
Offered in a parcel gilt and veneered wood frame in good condition. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."