Lot No. 50


Anthony van Dyck


(Antwerp 1599–1641 London)
Portrait of a lady, half-length, said to be a Genoese noblewoman,
oil on copper, 58 x 45 cm, framed

Provenance:
(probably) Collection of Guillaume-Joseph Feigneaux;
(probably) his sale, Dacosta, Brussels, 18 July 1820 (sold for 14 fl.);
(probably) sale, Foster, London 12/13 March 1834, lot 12 (sold for fifteen old pence);
(probably) Collection of Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, early 1920s;
Collection Achillito Chiesa, Milan;
his sale, New York, American Art Association, 27 November 1925, lot 29 (sold for $ 1,600);
sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2011, lot 265 (as Attributed to Peter Paul Rubens);
where bought by the current owner

We are grateful to Susan Barnes, who has examined the work in the original, for confirming the attribution.

We are also grateful to Katlijne van der Stighelen for confirming the attribution to van Dyck and dating the painting to circa 1627/28. This situates the picture either towards the end of the artist’s stay in Italy (1621–27) or at the beginning of his so-called Second Antwerp Period (1627–1632/34).

The present painting of an as yet unidentified aristocratic female sitter is an extremely rare example of a work by the artist on copper and a distinctive and elegant testament to the links between Antwerp and Genoa in the seventeenth century. Van der Stighelen notes particularly the precious and unusual support – ‘Until now we did not know that van Dyck ever used the medium’ – and remarks how it affords the master ‘an even more convincing palette with less reflection’.

It was in Italy that both van Dyck’s career as an accomplished portraitist and his own compositional techniques became firmly established. Visiting Venice, the artist made several sketches after Titian, whose relaxed refinement is evident in the Flemish master’s portraits of Genoese nobility for which he earned contemporary renown. Rubens, whom van Dyck had assisted in his Antwerp workshop, had published his only book, Palazzi di Genova, in 1622. Consequently, van Dyck would have been able to obtain introductions to the noble Genoese families whose personages and homes his master had portrayed. Furthermore, as Barnes points out, ‘long standing trade relations between the two cities meant there were Genoese families resident in Antwerp and Flemish families resident in Genoa’.

While the dark palette and the rich costume – with a high neckline – are suggestive of Italy, van der Stighelen refers to the ‘impressionistic touches suggesting the lace of the collar’ as evidence of the artist’s mature style. She also notes the ‘different black tones, the splendidly painted jewellery, and the highlighted buttons, delicately touched with red in the centre; representative of van Dyck’s style in the second half of the 1620s.’ These features compliment the pentimenti on the upper right side of the collar’ in characterising the hand and manner of van Dyck as the artist frequently changed his composition in the final stages of execution.

Barnes also admits to the complexity of placing the work exactly within the artist’s oeuvre: ‘Although the support and the Flemish-seeming facial features of the sitter point towards Antwerp, the pose, palette, and dress suggest Italy.’ She adds conclusively that ‘the facture and feeling of presence – the sense of the character in the person herself – are van Dyck’s’.

Furthermore, the uniqueness of the support, habitually used in Flanders for works intended for export, allows for the possibility, according to van der Stighelen, that preliminary sketches were made of the sitter in Italy by the artist, before being painted by him upon his return to Antwerp and then shipped back.

Technical analysis by Gianluca Poldi:

Small traces of underdrawing can be read by IR reflectography: made with a small brush, they define the profile of the nose, the circles of the irises (a little enlarged with the paint) and some line of the eyes and the small fold under the lower lip.

Although it is quite uncommon to be able read the underdrawing in paintings on copper, here it is apparent because the painter applied a pale layer under the face, to complete it with that preliminary drawing and the subsequent precise layers of pigments.

The pictorial film is made with great accuracy, with a mixture of lead white with vermillion and iron oxides (ochre and earths), adding a pink layer containing more brilliant vermillion in the cheeks and reddish areas, and a thin layer with more ochre for the shadows. The highlights of the flesh tones comprise more lead white, and are added in the central zone over the upper lip, in the tip of the nose, along the profile and in the irises in order to enlighten them as well as along the lower edge of the eyes, as was typical practise for Van Dyck.

The buttons and jewels are painted with an initial base of brown earth, followed by yellow highlights made with lead-tin yellow in the paler and brighter points, goethite in the mid-lights and a small touch of vermillion red. The blue hairband is composed by natural ultramarine (lapis lazuli) and some lead white, as well as the necklace, that appears to be more greyish because it is painted over black.

Specialist: Damian Brenninkmeyer Damian Brenninkmeyer
+43 1 515 60 403

damian.brenninkmeyer@dorotheum.at

22.10.2019 - 17:00

Realized price: **
EUR 466,900.-
Estimate:
EUR 120,000.- to EUR 180,000.-

Anthony van Dyck


(Antwerp 1599–1641 London)
Portrait of a lady, half-length, said to be a Genoese noblewoman,
oil on copper, 58 x 45 cm, framed

Provenance:
(probably) Collection of Guillaume-Joseph Feigneaux;
(probably) his sale, Dacosta, Brussels, 18 July 1820 (sold for 14 fl.);
(probably) sale, Foster, London 12/13 March 1834, lot 12 (sold for fifteen old pence);
(probably) Collection of Alessandro Contini-Bonacossi, early 1920s;
Collection Achillito Chiesa, Milan;
his sale, New York, American Art Association, 27 November 1925, lot 29 (sold for $ 1,600);
sale, Sotheby’s, New York, 27 January 2011, lot 265 (as Attributed to Peter Paul Rubens);
where bought by the current owner

We are grateful to Susan Barnes, who has examined the work in the original, for confirming the attribution.

We are also grateful to Katlijne van der Stighelen for confirming the attribution to van Dyck and dating the painting to circa 1627/28. This situates the picture either towards the end of the artist’s stay in Italy (1621–27) or at the beginning of his so-called Second Antwerp Period (1627–1632/34).

The present painting of an as yet unidentified aristocratic female sitter is an extremely rare example of a work by the artist on copper and a distinctive and elegant testament to the links between Antwerp and Genoa in the seventeenth century. Van der Stighelen notes particularly the precious and unusual support – ‘Until now we did not know that van Dyck ever used the medium’ – and remarks how it affords the master ‘an even more convincing palette with less reflection’.

It was in Italy that both van Dyck’s career as an accomplished portraitist and his own compositional techniques became firmly established. Visiting Venice, the artist made several sketches after Titian, whose relaxed refinement is evident in the Flemish master’s portraits of Genoese nobility for which he earned contemporary renown. Rubens, whom van Dyck had assisted in his Antwerp workshop, had published his only book, Palazzi di Genova, in 1622. Consequently, van Dyck would have been able to obtain introductions to the noble Genoese families whose personages and homes his master had portrayed. Furthermore, as Barnes points out, ‘long standing trade relations between the two cities meant there were Genoese families resident in Antwerp and Flemish families resident in Genoa’.

While the dark palette and the rich costume – with a high neckline – are suggestive of Italy, van der Stighelen refers to the ‘impressionistic touches suggesting the lace of the collar’ as evidence of the artist’s mature style. She also notes the ‘different black tones, the splendidly painted jewellery, and the highlighted buttons, delicately touched with red in the centre; representative of van Dyck’s style in the second half of the 1620s.’ These features compliment the pentimenti on the upper right side of the collar’ in characterising the hand and manner of van Dyck as the artist frequently changed his composition in the final stages of execution.

Barnes also admits to the complexity of placing the work exactly within the artist’s oeuvre: ‘Although the support and the Flemish-seeming facial features of the sitter point towards Antwerp, the pose, palette, and dress suggest Italy.’ She adds conclusively that ‘the facture and feeling of presence – the sense of the character in the person herself – are van Dyck’s’.

Furthermore, the uniqueness of the support, habitually used in Flanders for works intended for export, allows for the possibility, according to van der Stighelen, that preliminary sketches were made of the sitter in Italy by the artist, before being painted by him upon his return to Antwerp and then shipped back.

Technical analysis by Gianluca Poldi:

Small traces of underdrawing can be read by IR reflectography: made with a small brush, they define the profile of the nose, the circles of the irises (a little enlarged with the paint) and some line of the eyes and the small fold under the lower lip.

Although it is quite uncommon to be able read the underdrawing in paintings on copper, here it is apparent because the painter applied a pale layer under the face, to complete it with that preliminary drawing and the subsequent precise layers of pigments.

The pictorial film is made with great accuracy, with a mixture of lead white with vermillion and iron oxides (ochre and earths), adding a pink layer containing more brilliant vermillion in the cheeks and reddish areas, and a thin layer with more ochre for the shadows. The highlights of the flesh tones comprise more lead white, and are added in the central zone over the upper lip, in the tip of the nose, along the profile and in the irises in order to enlighten them as well as along the lower edge of the eyes, as was typical practise for Van Dyck.

The buttons and jewels are painted with an initial base of brown earth, followed by yellow highlights made with lead-tin yellow in the paler and brighter points, goethite in the mid-lights and a small touch of vermillion red. The blue hairband is composed by natural ultramarine (lapis lazuli) and some lead white, as well as the necklace, that appears to be more greyish because it is painted over black.

Specialist: Damian Brenninkmeyer Damian Brenninkmeyer
+43 1 515 60 403

damian.brenninkmeyer@dorotheum.at


Buyers hotline Mon.-Fri.: 9.00am - 6.00pm
old.masters@dorotheum.at

+43 1 515 60 403
Auction: Old Master Paintings I
Date: 22.10.2019 - 17:00
Location: Vienna | Palais Dorotheum
Exhibition: 12.10. - 22.10.2019


** Purchase price incl. charges and taxes

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