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    Sale 7446

    Important Old Master & British Pictures Including works from the Collection of Anton Philips

    6 December 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 17

    The Master of Frankfurt (active Antwerp, late 15th/early 16th Century) and Workshop

    The Adoration of the Magi: a triptych; outer faces: The Annunciation

    Price Realised  


    The Master of Frankfurt (active Antwerp, late 15th/early 16th Century) and Workshop
    The Adoration of the Magi: a triptych; outer faces: The Annunciation
    oil on panel, arched tops
    central panel: 45½ x 29 in. (115.5 x 73.6 cm.); wings: 45½ x 13 in. (115.5 x 33 cm.)

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    The artist has been tentatively identified as Hendrik van Wueluwe, who was active in Antwerp from 1483 until his death there in 1533. The Master's hand was originally identified by, and named for, two paintings commissioned by Frankurt patrons: the great altarpiece of The Holy Kinship for the Dominican church in Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Historisches Museum; inv. no. 261), and the Crucifixion triptych (Frankfurt, Städelsches Kunstinstitut; inv. no. 715) for the Frankfurt patrician family of Claus Humbracht (1440-1504), whose son was resident in Antwerp by 1503. It is possible that the artist visited Frankfurt, but his having painted on oak panels probably precludes his actually having painted there.

    Stylistically, the Master of Frankfurt's oeuvre is connected with the work of Hugo van der Goes, and it is interesting that Van Wueluwe may have originally come from Woluwe, where Van der Goes lived at the end of his life. The Master's earliest known works include some of the earliest documented from that city, and, with his large workshop, he is recognised as one of the founders of the Antwerp school: an eminence that accords with Van Wueluwe's having been Dean of the Antwerp Guild of Saint Luke six times, as well as having had at least seven known apprentices.

    The present triptych is one of a group of closely similar variants on the composition, including those in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart, the Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, and that in the church of the Convent of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe and San Paolo, Guadalupe. The nature of the Master's workshop practice is, of course, unknown without a secure identification of the artist, however, the nature of artistic production in the Netherlands at the time makes some degree of contribution almost inevitable. The quality of the present triptych is very high, and is a testament not only to the Master's ability, but also to the extremely high standard of his assistants, for example in the beautiful rendition of the brocade (for which, see S. Goddard, 'Brocade Patterns in the Shop of the Master of Frankfurt, An Accessory to Stylistic Analysis', The Art Bulletin, 67, no. 3 (September 1985), pp. 401-41).

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    Bernard Marmaduke Fitzalan-Howard, 16th Duke of Norfolk, KG, GCVO, GBE, TD, PC (1908-1975), by whom donated in 1948.

    Pre-Lot Text



    S.H. Goddard, 'The Master of Frankfurt and his shop', Verhandelingen van de Koninklijke Academie voor Wetenschapppen, Letteren en Schone Kunsten van België, 46, 1984, no. 38, pp. 154-5, nos. 90, the wings open, and 91, the wings closed (incorrectly described as that listed by M.J. Friedländer, Early Netherlandish Painting, VII, Leiden and Brussels, 1971, p. 75, no. 125e).