Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Workshop
Lote. Vendido 245,000 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)


Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Workshop
Lote. Vendido 245,000 GBP (Precio de adjudicación con prima del comprador)

Details & Cataloguing

Old Masters Day Sale


Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Workshop
Cantidad: 2
a pair, both oil on canvas laid down on panel
each: 111.2 x 74.3 cm.; 43 7/8  x 29 1/4  in.
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Fragments from the altarpiece commissioned for the high altar of the church of Notre-Dame de Finistère, rue Neuve, Brussels, where displayed until sold, through Jacob van der Borcht, on 11 October 1711, to Nuijs;
With François Nuijs, Antwerp;
With Gerard Vervoort, Brussels;
With Wachters [or Wuchters?], Antwerp (when the canvas was cut into fragments and the cherubs were united as one composition, arranged in flight around a garland of fruit);
His sale, Antwerp, 25 August 1762, lot 90 (as Rubbens [sic]);
Dr Jean-Jacques-Joseph Leroy d'Étiolles (1798–1860), Paris;
His Estate sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 21–22 February 1861, lot 103, for 1190 francs, to Sedelmeyer (as Rubens);
With Charles Sedelmeyer, Paris, by whom sold in 1894 to
Rodman Wanamaker (1863–1928), Philadelphia;
Marczell von Nemes (1866–1930), Budapest, 1910–11;
Dr Karl Lanz (1873–1921), Mannheim, 1912;
With Dr Hans Wendland, Paris, Berlin and Switzerland, 1926 (when cleaned and the fruit garland replaced with a piece of drapery);
With Galerie Tuchler, Zurich, 1935;
Paul Rosenthal, Amsterdam, 1938 (according to Leo van Puyvelde; see literature);
Gaston Dulière (d. 1996), Brussels, 1959 (when the painting was cleaned, re-divided and given on long-term loan to the Rubenshuis, Antwerp, inv. nos S195 and S196);
From whose descendants acquired by the present owner.


Budapest, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Budapest, Les peintures de la collection de Marcel de Nemes, 1910–1911, no. 24;
Mannheim, Kunsthalle, 42 Gemälde aus der Sammlung Dr. Karl Lanz Mannheim, December 1912 – February 1913, no. 37;
Tokyo, Takashimaya Art Gallery; Yamaguchi, Prefectural Art Museum; Tsu, Mie Prefectural Art Museum; and Kyoto, Takashimaya Art Gallery, Pierre-Paul Rubens et son entourage, 8 August 1985 – 20 January 1986, nos 39 and 40;
Tokyo, Tokyo Fuji Art Museum, The 17th Century. The Golden Age of Flemish painting, 8 April – 26 June 1988, nos 58 and 59;
Antwerp, Rubenshuis, Rubens Cantoor. Een verzameling tekeningen ontstaan in Rubens' atelier, 15 May – 27 June 1993, nos 123 and 124;
Antwerp, Rubenshuis, on long-term loan, 1959–1999 (lent by Gaston Dulière and his descendants); and 2010–2012 (lent by the present owner), inv. nos S195 and S196.


Opgank en voorganck der parochiale kercke van onse L Vrouw Finis Terre binnen Brussel, Brussels 1724, folio 52 (as Rubens);
G. Hoet, Catalogus of Naamlyst van Schilderyen met derzelver prysen, Zedert den 22 Augusti 1752. tot den 21 November 1768. Zo in Holland, als Braband en andere Plaatzen in het openbaar Verkogt, vol. III, The Hague 1770, p. 278, no. 3;
F. Mols, ms. no. 5733, fol. 154 (KBR, Brussels);
F. Mols, ms. no. 5735, fol. 461 (KBR, Brussels);
M. Rooses, L’Œuvre de P.P. Rubens. Histoire et Description de ses Tableaux et Dessins, Antwerp 1886, vol. I, pp. 177–78, under cat. no. 138 (as Rubens);
C. Sedelmeyer, Illustrated catalogue of 300 paintings by old masters of the Dutch, Flemish, Italian, French, and English schools, being some of the principal pictures which have at various times formed part of the Sedelmeyer Gallery, Paris 1898, p. 179, cat. no. 159, reproduced p. 180 (as Rubens);
A. Rosenberg, P.P. Rubens. Des Meisters Gemälde in 551 Abbildungen, Klassiker der Kunst, vol. 5, Stuttgart 1905, reproduced p. 331 (as Rubens);
E. Dillon, Rubens, London 1909, p. 223 (as 'attribution doubtful');
42 Gemälde aus der Sammlung Dr. Karl Lanz Mannheim, exh. cat., Mannheim 1912, p. 14, cat. no. 37 (as Rubens);
Gemälde-Sammlung Dr. Karl Lanz Mannheim, Mannheim 1917, p. 31, cat. no. 67 (as Rubens);
L. Burchard, in E. Henschel-Simon (ed.), Die Gemälde und Skulpturen in der Bildergalerie von Sanssouci, Berlin 1930, p. 31, under cat. no. 101 (as Workshop);
G. Glück (ed.), Rubens, Van Dyck und ihr Kreis, Vienna 1933, p. 165, cat. no. 331 (as the work of a pupil, such as Jan van den Hoecke);
L. Burchard, ‘Zum Rubens-Band der 'Klassiker der Kunst'’, in G. Glück (ed.), Rubens, Van Dyck und ihr Kreis, Vienna 1933, p. 390, note 2 (as workshop);
L. Van Puyvelde, 'De lotgevallen van een 'H. Maagd in de Glorie' van Rubens', in Verslagen en mededelingen van de Koninklijke Vlaamse Academie voor Taal- en Letterkunde, Ghent 1963, pp. 45–59, reproduced pls 2–5 (as Rubens);
K. Nakayama et al., Rūbensu ten: kyoshō to sono shūhen, exh. cat., Tokyo 1985, p. 142, cat. nos 39 and 40, reproduced (as Rubens);
M. Wilmotte, in The 17th Century. The Golden Age of Flemish Painting, exh. cat., Tokyo 1988, unpaginated, cat. nos 58 and 59, reproduced (as Rubens);
P. Huvenne, Het Rubenshuis, Brussels 1988, p. 136, cat. no. 4, reproduced (as Rubens);
M. Jaffé, Rubens. Catalogo Completo, Milan 1989, p. 300, cat. no. 883 and cat. no. 883A-B, reproduced (as Rubens);
P. Huvenne and H. Nieuwdorp, Het Rubenshuis, Antwerpen, Brussels 1990, pp. 38–41, reproduced in colour (as Rubens);
P. Huvenne, in Rubens Cantoor. Een verzameling tekeningen ontstaan in Rubens' atelier, exh. cat., Antwerp 1993, pp. 214–16 and 218, cat. nos 123 and 124, reproduced in colour pp. 76–77, plates 22 and 23 (as Rubens).

Nota del catálogo

These two putti originally formed part of the lower section of a large altarpiece depicting The Virgin Immaculate, commissioned for the main altar in the church of Notre-Dame de Finistère, Brussels.1 The composition of the original canvas is known through several copies, drawings, and engravings, such as that by Schelte à Bolswert (fig. 1).2 Following the traditional iconography of this subject, it pictures the Virgin embracing the Christ Child and crushing the head of a serpent, which has wound itself around a globe beneath her feet. The two putti are shown playfully dipping through the clouds surrounding the Virgin and holding up the hems of her robe, sections of which are visible in the present works.

In 1711, the church council of Notre-Dame de Finistère alighted upon The Virgin Immaculate as a suitable source of capital with which to finance the rebuilding of the church (undertaken from 1713-30). The painting was consequently sold to an Antwerp dealer, François Nuijs, and subsequently passed to one Wachters [or Wuchters] who, at some point before 1762, ordered the canvas to be cut into sections and proceeded to sell them off individually. The Virgin and Child fragment was purchased for the Schloss Sanssouci, Potsdam, in the nineteenth century, where it remained until its regrettable destruction in 1945.3 The globe is now in a private collection, Oxford.4

Meanwhile, the two putti were united to form a new, single composition, shown in flight around a garland of fruit.5 They remained in this arrangement until the early twentieth century when, in the collection of Dr Hans Wendland, the painting was cleaned, the garland removed and a piece of flowing drapery was added instead.6 It was not until the putti were acquired by Gaston Dulière that they were separated and given on long-term loan to the Rubenshuis. In 2010 the paintings were cleaned and restored, removing all the overpaint and finally revealing the pair as the dynamic, whimsical cherubs from the dismembered altarpiece.

Jaffé dates the original painting to 1626–28, shortly before Rubens left for Madrid. It is undoubtedly related to the version of the subject the artist painted in 1628 for the Marqués de Leganés when he reached Spain (Prado Museum, Madrid).7 Several authors, including Gustav Glück, rejected the putti when they were still combined in one composition and extensively overpainted. Since their separation, however, scholars have unanimously accepted the works as containing the hand of the master. The pentimento visible in the right leg and foot of the dark-haired cherub is testament to this. Most recently Arnout Balis of the Rubenianum, Antwerp, to whom we are grateful, has inspected the paintings first-hand and endorsed an attribution to Rubens and his workshop.

Exhaustive research has failed to yield any record of these paintings other than as stated in the provenance. They do not appear in any list of missing works sought for restitution as either a single composition or a pair, nor to the best of our knowledge could they be confused with any such work. The identification of Paul Rosenthal from Amsterdam in 1938, mentioned only in Van Puyvelde’s article of 1963, has not been established with any certainty, it is unclear who he was, and there are no known recorded losses associated with this name. An Art Loss Register Certificate has been issued for this work.

1. No records of the original commission have been traced.
2. Painted copies include those by Balthasar Beschey (Stadhuis, Leuven); another, dated 1664 (Cathédrale Saint-Louis de la Rochelle); and an anonymous 18th-century canvas (Kerk OL Vrouw Hemelvaart, Bassevelde). Drawings include that possibly by Rubens’ apprentice, Willem Panneels (Nordico Stadtmuseum, Linz, inv. no. S/257); another by Abraham van Diepenbeeck (Private collection, Antwerp); and one by an anonymous hand (Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, inv. no. 14020). For a list of other engravings, see Rooses 1886, p. 178, under cat. no. 138.
3. Inv. no. 7577; see Puyvelde 1963, reproduced plate 1.
4. Sold London, Christie’s, 23 July 1982, lot 148.
5. See Puyvelde 1963, reproduced plate 2.
6. See Puyvelde 1963, reproduced plate 3.
7. Inv. no. P01627, on canvas, 198 x 135 cm. The Prado composition differs from the Brussels painting in several ways: the Christ Child is not present and the putti are positioned differently, holding a palm and a laurel crown, symbols of the Virgin’s triumph over the evil serpent, which clasps an apple in its mouth; see M. Díaz Padrón, Museo del Prado. Catálogo de pinturas: Escuela Flamenco Siglo XVII, Madrid 1975, vol. I, pp. 224–26, cat. no. 1627, reproduced vol. II, p. 162, fig. 1627.

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