Circle of Rogier van der Weyden (Tournai c. 1399-1464 Brussels)

Portrait of a young man, bust-length, in a fur-trimmed red doublet

Lot 23 / Sale 6652
portrait of a young man, bust-length, in a fur-trimmed red doublet

Price Realized £127,650
Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and do not reflect costs, financing fees or application of buyer’s or seller’s credits.

  • £25,000 - £35,000
  • ($39,275 - $54,985)

Sale Information Sale 6652
11 December 2002
London, King Street

Lot Description Circle of Rogier van der Weyden (Tournai c. 1399-1464 Brussels)
Portrait of a young man, bust-length, in a fur-trimmed red doublet
oil on panel
14½ x 10½ in. (36.9 x 26.8 cm.)

Provenance Charles-Léon Cardon, Brussels, 1902.
with F. Kleinberger, Paris, 1911.
Mortimer L. Schiff, New York; (+) Christie's, London, 24 June 1938, lot 85, as 'Roger van der Weyden' (unsold).
with Agnews, London.
Sale, Amsterdam, 20 October 1947.
Dr. Alejandro Pietri, Caracas.
Anon. Sale, Christie's, London, 24 November 1967, lot 35, as 'Rogier van der Weyden', sold with a certificate from Friedländer dated 1947 (3,600 gns. to Betts).
with Galerie Robert Flinck, Brussels, as 'Roger van der Weyden', from whom acquired by the family of the present owners.

Literature G. Hulin de Loo, Bruges 1902 Exposition de tableaux flamands, Catalogue critique, Ghent, 1902, no. 27.
F. Winkler, Der Miester von Flémalle und Rogier van der Weyden, Strasbourg, 1913, p. 162.
M.J. Friedländer, Die Altniederländische Malerei, Leiden, 1924, II, no. 33.
J. Destrée, Roger de la Pasture-van der Weyden, Paris and Brussels, 1930, I, p. 179; II, pl. 134.
G. Hulin de Loo, 'Weyden (Rogier de le Pasture, alias van der)', DNB, XXVII, Brussels, 1938, col. 239.
H. Beenken, Rogier van der Weyden, Munich, 1951, p. 99.
E. Panofsky, Early Netherlandish Painting: Its Origins and Character, Cambridge, Mass., 1953, p. 478.
E. Diem, 'Portrait d'Homme de la Collection Dr. A. Pietri, Caracas', Alte und Neue Kunst Zurich, 1956, VI, pp. 1-3, no. 3.
M.J. Friedländer, Rogier van der Weyden and the Master of Flémalle, Leiden, 1967, pp. 26 and 66-7, no. 33 (where confused with the version in The Clowes Fund, Indianapolis Museum of Art).
M. Davies, Rogier van der Weyden, London, 1972, p. 217.
L. Campbell, National Gallery Catalogues. The Fifteenth Century Netherlandish Paintings, London, 1998, p. 430.
D. de Vos, Rogier van der Weyden, New York, 1999, p. 410, no. C10, illustrated.

Exhibited Bruges, L'Exposition des Primitifs Flamands, 1902, no. 27.
London, Guildhall Gallery, Works by the Early Flemish Painters, 1906, no. 11.
Caracas, Exposición Pintura Flamenca en las colecciones privadas de Caracas, 1958, no. 1.
Brussels, Galerie Robert Flinck, Tableaux de maîtres du XV au XIX siècle, 1968, no. 1.
Brussels, Musée Communal de Bruxelles, Maison du Roi, Rogier van der Weyden Rogier de le Pasture, Peintre officiel de la Ville de Bruxelles Portraitiste de la Cour de Bourgogne, 6 October-18 November 1979, pp. 155-6, no. 19.

Lot Notes As noted by Dr. Lorne Campbell in the catalogue of the 1979 Brussels exhibition (loc. cit.), there are two other versions of this portrait: that in the Museum of Art, Indianapolis (The Clowes Collection), and that formerly in a Berlin Collection (now only known from photographs at the RKD, The Hague). The latter version provides a tantalising clue as to the possible identity of the sitter through the presence on the reverse of the panel of the coat-of-arms of the Bruges-based van Themseke family. It is, as Dr. Campbell has commented, 'interesting and unusual that three versions of a portrait should survive' (private correspondence).

Beside Van der Weyden's portraits of Burgundian princes and donor portraits, Friedländer (loc. cit., 1967, p. 26) listed a distinctive group of only nine fully accepted individual portraits of men; he included the present lot in that group, dating it to circa 1450. Hulin likewise accepted the panel and dated it to circa 1450-5. The attribution had, however, been questioned by Winkler, whose doubts the opinions of both Panofsky and Davies confirmed. More recent scholars have refrained from offering definitive opinions because of the picture's condition. Dirk de Vos, in his recent monograph (loc. cit.) conflated the present work with the other versions, making his view that it has been fundamentally reworked hard to assess (although there is certainly some degree of later work), but he nonetheless remarked that any reworking was based on an old core.

The handling of the present picture has been compared with that of The Exhumation of Saint Hubert in the National Gallery, London, currently regarded as a work in whole or in part by Van der Weyden's studio. As yet, however, very little study has been undertaken into Van der Weyden's workshop practice and the collaborative work of his assistants, and so it remains possible that a similar attribution may yet be given to the present lot.

Van der Weyden's production of portraits was concentrated around the decade 1450-60. Particularly notable is the way he pared down the traditional style of portraiture, placing his sitters in a neutral, evenly lit background, their heads turned at a three-quarters angle, almost relief-like, conveying a degree of meditative calm and aloofness traditionally associated with the Burgundian Court. Typical also in the present lot is the pyramidal composition and the highly articulated clasped hands that seem to rest against the edge of the frame, creating, in turn, a secondary pyramid. Features such as the neck and nose are typically elongated, whilst the sitter's haircut is that in fashion in circa 1450-60.

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