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Pieter Brueghel II (1564-1637/8)
Pieter Brueghel II (1564-1637/8)

The birdtrap

Pieter Brueghel II (1564-1637)
The birdtrap
oil on panel
39.4 x 57.4 cm
Friedrich Bayer Jr (1851-1920), Eberfeld (acquired via the Museumsverein Wuppertal in 1909 (Reichmark 3700);
thence by descent to Alfred Wollf;
thence by descent to the present owner.
G. Marlier, Pierre Brueghel le Jeune, 1969, p.247, as incorrectly signed with initials P.B.
Dsseldorf, Kunstverein Westphalen, "Ausstellung Alter Malerei aus Privatbesitz", 1 June-15 July 1928, no.11.
Sale Room Notice
To be published in Das Haus des geheimen Kommerzienrates Knigsstrasse 146 - So wohnte Friedrich Bayer Junior in Elberfeld um der Jahrhundertwende, to appear this month

Lot Essay

Pieter Brueghel the Elder's Birdtrap of 1565, formerly in the collection of F. Delporte and now in the Muses Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, provided the model for many repetitions, many of which were the work of his son Pieter Brueghel II. These are discussed by Georges Marlier, Pierre Brueghel le Jeune, Brussels 1969, pp.239-51 and by Klaus Ertz, in the exhibition catalogue, Brueghel-Breughel, Villa Hgel 1997, pp.381-84. Dated replicas by Pieter Brueghel the Younger are known between 1601 and 1626. The present painting is of identical dimensions to the prototype and shows exactly the same scene.
The exact meaning of the popular scene is not totally clear. Marlier (op. cit., p.240) compares the endangered birds to the carefree skaters and in his view the birdtrap refers to the brevity of life. Wolfgang Stechow (Pieter Brueghel the Elder, New York 1969, p.110) interprets the paintings as the 'Slipperiness of human life'. Whether any symbolic meaning was intended seems unclear, if not unlikely.

The buyer of the present lot is requested to lend this picture to the Bonnefantenmuseum, Maastricht and to the Palais des Beaux-Arts, Lille, for the exhibition The Brueghel Enterprise to be held from March-September 2001.

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