• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7448

    Old Master and British Pictures

    7 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 119

    Jan Boeckhorst (Münster or Rees c. 1604-1668 Antwerp)

    Alexander crowning Roxana

    Price Realised  


    Jan Boeckhorst (Münster or Rees c. 1604-1668 Antwerp)
    Alexander crowning Roxana
    oil on fine canvas laid on panel
    20 x 16½ in. (50.8 x 41.9 cm.)

    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

    The act of crowning signifies Alexander's marriage to Roxana, in 327 B.C.. She was the daughter of Oxyartes of Balkh, a chieftain of Sogdiana. Balkh was the last of the Persian Empire's provinces to fall to Alexander, and the marriage was arranged primarily as a means of reconciling the Bactrian governors to Alexander's rule, however, Plutarch commented that Roxana was 'the only passion which he, the most temperate of men, was overcome by' (Life of Alexander, 33:47). She accompanied him on his campaign in India in 326 B.C., and bore him a son, Alexander IV Aegus, who was born after Alexander's sudden death in Babylon in 323 B.C.

    Traditionally ascribed to Rubens, the attribution to Boeckhorst was first tentatively proposed by Julius Held in 1980. More recently, Elizabeth McGrath published the painting as Boeckhorst along with two other scenes from the story of Alexander: Alexander cutting the Gordian knot (Musée des Beaux-Arts, Lille), and Alexander and Diogenes, known through an engraving, all three of which must have made up part of a series of some kind. According to McGrath, they all display 'Rubens' style...translated through Van Dyckian elegance', as imaginative derivations from both masters. Importantly, she noted that the characters in the present sketch are shown in a sinistrarum iunctio rather than a dextrarum iunctio, that is, holding their left hands rather than right hands, a clear indication that the sketch was made to be reproduced in the opposite direction, thus in preparation for a print or book illustration, or possibly even a tapestry.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Wöllfeld, Vienna.
    Marczell von Nemès, Budapest.
    Anonymous sale; Rudolph Lepke, Berlin, 4 April 1911, lot 133, as A. van Dyck.
    Dr. Karl Lanz, Mannheim, by 1917.
    Felix Ziethen, Munich; sale, Galerie Hugo Helbing, Munich, 22 September 1934, lot 23, as van Dyck.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, London, 5 July 1967, lot 48, as Sir P.P. Rubens.
    with Newhouse Galleries, New York, where acquired in 1969 by
    Bernard C. Solomon, Los Angeles; Christie's, London, 24 March 1972, lot 68, as Sir Peter Paul Rubens.
    Anonymous sale; Sotheby's, New York, 5 June 1986, lot 63, as attributed to Sir Peter Paul Rubens.
    Private collection, Los Angeles; Sotheby's, New York, 28 January 1999, lot 263, as Jan van Boeckhorst.

    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A GENTLEMAN (LOTS 119, 125, 138, 157, 187, 193, 216 AND 235)


    A.L. Mayer, Kunstchronik, XXVI, 1914-15, p. 390, as van Dyck.
    A. Pigler, Barockthemen: eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zur Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Budapest, 1956, II, p. 346, as School of Rubens.
    Michael Jaffé,'Rediscovered oil sketches by Rubens - II', The Burlington Magazine, CXI, 1969, p. 533, fig. 4, as Sir Peter Paul Rubens (it is not included in his Rubens. Catalogo Completo, Milan, 1989).
    A. Pigler, Barockthemen: eine Auswahl von Verzeichnissen zur Ikonographie des 17. und 18. Jahrhunderts, Budapest, 1974, II, p. 361, as School of Rubens.
    J.S. Held, The Oil Sketches of Peter Paul Rubens, Princeton, 1980, I, p. 630, no. A12 and II, pl. 480, as by an artist in the Rubens circle, possibly Jan Boeckhorst.
    J.G. van Gelder, 'Rubens Marginalia IV', The Burlington Magazine, CXXIII, September 1981, p. 545, note 19.
    E. McGrath, Rubens Subjects from History, Corpus Rubenianum, XIII, II, London, 1997, pp. 87-90, under no. 15 and I, fig. 59, as Jan Boeckhorst.


    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 Lant, March-April 1913.
    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1974-77.