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Property from a Private Collection, Miami

The Master of the Antwerp Adoration

Adoration of the Magi

Lot Closed

October 21, 04:07 PM GMT


40,000 - 60,000 USD

Lot Details


Property from a Private Collection, Miami

The Master of the Antwerp Adoration

Active in Antwerp in the first half of the 16th Century

Adoration of the Magi

oil on panel

panel: 27¼ by 21⅜ in.; 69.2 by 54.3 cm.

framed: 33¼ by 27 in.; 84.5 by 68.6 cm.

With Galerie Ritter Gaston von Mallmann, Berlin, by 1915;

By whom sold, Berlin, Rudolph Lepke, 12 June 1918, lot 101 (as Master of the Antwerp Adoration).

M. J. Friedlander, “Die Antwerpener Manieristen von 1520,” Jarhbuch de Königlich Preussischen Kunstsammlungen, XXXVI, 1915, p. 81, no 41a (as a copy of a painting then with Pourtalès)
M.J. Friedlander, Early Netherlandish Painting, 1974, XI, no. 45a, reproduced, plate 48 (as by the Master of the von Groote Adoration).

This panel by the Master of the Antwerp Adoration likely once formed the central element of a triptych and is a characteristic example of the Mannerist style that flourished in Antwerp during the first three decades of the 16th century.  This movement—one based on exuberance and virtuosity—found its fullest flowering in Antwerp, the economic capital of Northern Europe at the time. A favored subject among Antwerp Mannerist artists was the Adoration of the Magi, for it allowed artists to indulge in depictions of rich, exotic costumes as well as elaborate architectural settings. Such is evident in the present panel. 

The Master of the Antwerp Adoration was an anonymous artist active in Antwerp from about 1500-1520 whose name piece is today housed in the Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp.1 Friedländer was the first scholar to attribute the present panel to this master, linking it compositionally to the central panel of a triptych formerly in the Pourtales Collection in Paris.2 Friedländer subsequently re-attributed both of these panels with some hesitation to the Master of the Van Groote Adoration, qualifying this shift by noting the irrelevance of trying to distinguish these two distinct yet closely related and accomplished hands and surmising that these two painters may have been active in the same workshop.3 Most recently, though, scholars have placed the present panel once again in the oeuvre of the Master of the Antwerp Adoration, an idea reinforced by the affinities it shares with the artist’s eponymous work: the physiognomies of figures as well as the positions and poses of the three Magi. 

We are very grateful to Till-Holger Borchert and Peter van den Brink for endorsing the present attribution, the former on the basis of digital images and the latter after firsthand inspection. 

1. Inv. no. 208-210, oil on oak panel, 29 by 22.2 cm (central panel). See P. van den Brink, ExtravagAnt: A forgotten Chapter of Antwerp Painting, exhibition catalogue, Antwerp 2005, pp. 162-163, cat. no. 68, reproduced.   

2. Friedländer 1915, p. 81, cat. no. 41.

3.  Friedländer 1974, p. 26.