Münster or Rees circa 1604 - 1668 Antwerp
ALEXANDER THE GREAT CROWNING ROXANA
oil on canvas, laid on panel
19½ by 16 in.; 49.4 by 40.6 cm.
Panel consists of a single plank and is flat and stable. A bold image reads well under clear varnish with no visible losses. A few small retouches in the upper quadrant are visible to the naked eye as discolored shadows. Under UV these retouches are visible as well as scattered small retouches throughout the background and in the shadows of figures' costumes. Retouching is also visible along a verticle line just right of center, probably at the site of a repaired crack. Overall the painting is in good condition and can hang as is. Offered in a decoratively carved ebonized wood 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Wöllfeld collection, Vienna;
Marczell von Nèmes, Budapest;
Anonymous sale, Berlin, Rudolph Lepke, 4 April 1911, lot 133 (as A. van Dyck);
Dr. Karl Lanz, Mannheim, by 1917;
Felix Ziethen, Munich;
By whom sold, Munich, Galerie Hugo Helbing, 22 September 1934, lot 23 (as van Dyck); H. Helbing, Munich, in 1934;
Anonymous sale, London, Sotheby's, 5 July 1967, lot 48 (as Sir P. P. Rubens);
With Newhouse Galleries, New York;
Acquired from the above by Bernard C. Solomon, Los Angeles;
Anonymous sale, London, Christie's, 24 March 1972, lot 68 (as Sir Peter Paul Rubens); With Everest-Pickwick Fine Arts, Los Angeles;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Private Collector"), New York, Sotheby's, 5 June 1986, lot 63 (as attributed to Sir Peter Paul Rubens);
Private collection, Los Angeles;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Private Collector, Los Angeles"), New York, Sotheby's, 28 January 1999, lot 263 (as Jan van Boeckhorst), for $68,500;
Anonymous sale ("The Property of a Gentleman"), London, Christie's, 7 December 2007, lot 119, for £58,000;
Mannheim, Kunsthalle, 42 Gemälde aus der Sammlung Dr Karl Lanz, Mannheim, December 1912 – February 1913, no. 11 (as van Dyck);
Darmstadt, Mathildenhöhe, Ausstellung der Sammlung Dr. Karl Lanz, March – April 1913;
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1974–1977.
F. Goeler van Ravensburg, Rubens und die Antike, Jena 1882, p. 169;
M. Rooses, L'Oeuvre de P.P. Rubens. Histoire et description de ses tableaux et dessins, 5 vols, Antwerp 1886-1892, vol. IV, pp. 10-11 (as doubtfully by Rubens);
A.L. Mayer, Kunstchronik, vol. XXVI, 1914–15, p. 390 (as van Dyck);
H.G. Evers, Rubens und sein Werk. Neue Forschungen, Brussels 1943, pp. 269-71;
A. Pigler, Barockthemen: eine Auswahl von Verzeichnessen zur Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunders, vol. II, Budapest 1956, p. 246 (as School of Rubens);
M. Jaffé, "Rediscovered oil sketches by Rubens – II," in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXI, September 1969, p. 533, reproduced p. 532, fig. 4 (as Sir Peter Paul Rubens);
A. Pigler, Barockthemen: eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zue Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Budapest 1974, vol. II, p. 361 (as School of Rubens);
J. S. Held, The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens, Princeton 1980, vol. I, p. 630, cat. no. A12, reproduced vol. II, plate 480 (as by an artist in the Rubens circle, possibly Jan Boeckhorst);
J. G. van Gelder, "Rubens Marginalia IV," in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CXXIII, September 1981, p. 545, note 19;
H. Lahrkamp, "'Der 'Lange Jan' - Leben und Werk des Barockmalers Johann Bockhorst aus Münster," in Westfalen. Hefte für Geschichte, Kunst und Volkskunde, vol. 60, 1982/1, p. 104, no. 59, reproduced;
E. McGrath, Rubens Subjects from History, Corpus Rubenianum XIII, London 1997, vol. II, pp. 87–90, under cat. no. 15, reproduced vol. I, fig. 59 (as Jan Boeckhorst);
M. Galen, Johann Boeckhorst. Gemälde und Zeichnungen, Hamburg 2012, p. 244, cat. no. Z9, reproduced.
By Samuel Czetter (c. 1770-1829), as 'Alexander and Campaspe' by Rubens, when in the Wöllfeld Collection in Vienna
The subject is taken from Lucian's Herodotus 4-6 and depicts the marriage of Alexander the Great to Roxana, the daughter of a chieftain of Sogdiana, one of the conquered territories of Asia. Alexander is accompanied by his faithful companion Haephestion, who holds a torch aloft. This oil sketch was long thought to be the work of Rubens himself, and considered a preliminary study for his painting of the same subject of circa 1625 now in the Anhalt Gallery in Schloss Dessau, to which it is undoubtedly indebted.1 Julius Held rejected the association with Rubens and was the first to suggest a possible connection to the work of Boeckhorst, and this view has been adopted by all subsequent scholars. McGrath has associated it with two further oil sketches depicting Alexander and Diogenes and Alexander cutting the Gordian knot, and suggested that they may jointly have formed part of a series of studies in preparation for a cycle of the life of Alexander. The left-handed arrangement of Alexander and Roxana's hands (rather than the normal right-handed union) hints that this may have been in the form of engravings or perhaps a tapestry cycle. Galen dates this sketch to around 1639-40.
1. McGrath 1997, II, p. 85, no. 15, reproduced fig. 58.