• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2785

    19th Century European Art

    15 April 2008, Amsterdam

  • Lot 214

    Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven (Belgian, 1798-1881)

    Sir Anthony van Dyck; and Peter Paul Rubens: a pair of equestrian portraits

    Price Realised  


    Eugene Joseph Verboeckhoven (Belgian, 1798-1881)
    Sir Anthony van Dyck; and Peter Paul Rubens: a pair of equestrian portraits
    both signed and dated 'Eugène Verboeckhoven/ft 1850.' (lower left)
    oil on canvas
    82 x 65 cm.
    a pair (2)

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Portraits such as the present pair are rare in the oeuvre of the animal painter Eugene Verboeckhoven. These two portraits were finished in 1850 and can been seen as an ode to the important 17th Century Flemish artists Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and Anthony van Dyck (1599-1641), two of the greatest Flemish artists of that period.

    In 1850 Verboeckhoven had gained the recognition of important customers. King Leopold I, the first king of Belgium, commissioned him to paint an impressive equestrian portrait (fig. l). Verboeckhoven was enormously succesful from the start of his career. This was partly due to his father Barthélemy Verboeckhoven from whom he received his first artistic training. His fame increased in the 1840's following a stay in Rome were he became inspired by his 17th Century predecessors, the Dutch Italianists. During this time royalty already acknowledged his talent. In 1842 Prince Ludwig of Bavaria visited the painter in Rome and acquired a painting. Shortly afterwards Verboeckhoven was decorated with the Order of Sankt Michael of Bavaria.

    It is likely that Verboeckhoven used 17th century self-portraits by Van Dyck and Rubens for the present paintings. The depiction of Rubens, for example, shows a remarkable likeness to a self-portrait by Rubens from 1623 which is kept in the The Royal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II (inv.no. RCIN 400156). The fact that Verboeckhoven was also part of the committee established to protect the paintings by Rubens in the Antwerp cathedral, may very well have been the inspiration for the artist to portray Rubens in one of these striking portraits.

    Special Notice

    “!” Lots imported from outside the EU. The Buyer’s Premium is 37.05% incl. VAT over the first €5,000, plus 31.1% incl. VAT of the Hammer Price between €5,001 and €400,000, plus 21.58% incl. VAT of any amount in excess of €400,001.


    Anonymous sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 13 December 1967, lot 9.
    Anonymous sale, Sotheby's Parke-Bernet, Los Angeles, April 1973.


    P. & V. Berko, Eugène Verboeckhoven, Brussels 1981, p. 128-129, ill.