P.M. Turner, probably by whom sold at; Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 26 July 1950, lot 110; There purchased by Denton; Anonymous sale, New York, Sotheby's, 22 January 2004, lot 281; Thence by descent.
Representations of Saint Felix of Cantalice (1515-1587) are rare in art. This Capuchin friar, upon moving to Rome, became known for his charity. He delivered food to the needy in a sack (as shown in the present composition). Saint Felix was beatified in 1625 and canonized in 1712, making him the first Capuchin saint.
Stylistically, the painting is close to Rubens or an associate, and should date in fact to the second quarter of the 17th Century. As this is about the time that Felix was beatified, it seems that there must have been some interest in portrayals of him, perhaps for a Capuchin patron in the Low Countries. The name of the artist Melchior de la Mars (1570/1590-1650) has also been suggested.
The panel has been cradled.
It is difficult to discern of how many planks it consists; 2 joins are clearly visible, these have been retouched, one at circa 8 cm from the left edge and one at circa 7 cm from the right edge.
A crack of circa 5 cm can be seen in the lower left corner.
We can see some minor paint losses due to the framing around the edges and 2 very tiny ones along the upper edge.
The painted surface seems to be in a good condition; it is covered with a rather thick, dirty and discoloured varnish layer.
Some discoloured retouchings can be seen in the flesh tones and in the darker areas of the composition.
Under UV light
The varnish layer fluoresces almost completely showing a different area of fluorescence in the white bag.
Offered with a carved and wooden frame.
Please note that Sotheby’s does not guarantee the condition of the frame. "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."