Lot 34
  • 34

Frans Pourbus the Elder

30,000 - 50,000 USD
37,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Frans Pourbus the Elder
  • Portrait of a Man


  • oil on panel
  • 15 1/8 x 11 inches

Catalogue Note

This engaging study of a man's head traditionally thought to be by Frans Pourbus the Younger, is in fact the work of his father, Frans Pourbus the Elder and probably dates from late in his career,  circa 1575-1580.  Pourbus was probably first a pupil of his father, Pieter Pourbus, in Bruges, but by 1564 is recorded as working in the studio of Frans Floris in Antwerp.  We see the influence of Floris in the broad, confident brush strokes that describe the face and beard, as well as in the psychological engagement we have with the sitter.

The Portrait of a Man can perhaps best be compared to Pourbus's Portrait of Abraham Grapheus in the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco (acquisition no. 1957.159).  The size and informality of the present work create a sense of intimacy and suggest that this may be a portrait of someone close to Pourbus.

We are very grateful to Koenraad Jonckheere for his attribution of the present work (on the basis of digital images) and for his assistance in preparing this note.