SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN 1577-1640 ANTWERP)
SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN 1577-1640 ANTWERP)
SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN 1577-1640 ANTWERP)
2 More
THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN 1577-1640 ANTWERP)

A wooded landscape at sunset

Details
SIR PETER PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN 1577-1640 ANTWERP)
A wooded landscape at sunset
oil on canvas
19 3⁄4 x 25 1⁄2 in. (49.3 x 64.8 cm.)
Provenance
Charleston Wallace.
Art market, Holland, where acquired by,
August Neuerburg (d. 1944), Hamburg, probably in the late 1920s, and most probably in or shortly before 1928, and by descent.
[The Property of a Family]; Sotheby's, London, 7 July 2010, lot 10, where acquired by the present owner.
Literature
G. Glück, Die Landschaften des Peter Paul Rubens, Vienna, 1945, pp. 45-47, 72, no. 39.
J. Müller Hofstede, 'Zwei Hirtenidyllen des späten Rubens,' Pantheon, XXIV, 1966, pp. 38, 41, notes 29, 20, fig. 7.
W. Stechow, Dutch Landscape Painting, London, 1966, p. 221, note 27.
W. Adler, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, XVIII, Landscapes and Hunting Scenes, Oxford, 1982, I, pp. 158-159, no. 51, plate 134, as datable to circa 1635.
D. Bodart, M. de Battisti and A. Biffi, Peter Paul Rubens, Milan, 1985, p. 199, no. 890.
M. Jaffé, Rubens. Catalogo Completo, Milan, 1990, p. 350, no. 1217, as datable to circa 1635-38.
D. Jaffé, 'Rubens back and front. The case of the National Gallery Samson and Delilah,' Apollo, August 2000, p. 25, as datable to circa 1638.
Sale room notice
Please note the additional literature for this painting as follows:

C. Kleinert, Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) and His Landscapes: Ideas on Art and Nature, Turnhout, 2014, pp. 170, 382, no. 35, fig. 211, as ‘Ascribed to Rubens’.

Brought to you by

John Hawley
John Hawley Specialist

Lot Essay

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was arguably the most cultured, versatile and influential artist active in northern Europe in the seventeenth century. In addition to historical, religious, mythological and allegorical subjects; portraiture, hunting scenes and genre paintings, Rubens painted some sixty landscapes, roughly half of which he produced in the final decade of his life. Unlike his other works, Rubens’ activity as a landscape painter appears to have been an intensely personal pursuit, one that saw him retain much of his output for the remainder of his life. Indeed, the Specificatie, or inventory of paintings in Rubens’ house following his death, lists no fewer than seventeen landscapes by the artist that were still in his possession (see J. Muller, Rubens: The Artist as Collector, Princeton, 1989, nos. 84, 104-106, 108, 112, 132-137, 150, 171-173 and 294).

Traditionally dated to between circa 1635 and 1638, this late landscape has been published by all modern commentators – Wilhelm von Bode (1928), Ludwig Burchard (undated certificate), Gustav Glück (1945), Wolfgang Stechow (1966), Wolfgang Adler in the Corpus Rubenianum (1982) and Michael Jaffé (1990, 2000) – as an autograph work. The late Julius Held was more nuanced, suggesting in private correspondence in 1985 that ‘Rubens’s authorship is possible, though not completely compelling.’ He did, however, continue by noting that it was ‘evidently of some importance that no-one seems to have ever seriously doubted the attribution to Rubens.’

Rubens’ late landscape paintings were all of the same idiosyncratic nature, and most probably painted at his castle Elewyt for his personal delight. The tree trunks at left are strongly illuminated by the setting sun. A long vertical strip of light runs down the base of the trees, curving around to run laterally along the ground and ultimately illuminating a diagonal passage extending into the painting’s right background. Rubens had previously used a highly comparable compositional schema in his largescale Summer: Peasants Going to Market of circa 1618, today in the Royal Collection Trust (inv. RCIN401416). As in the Royal Collection painting, which still recalls the landscapes of Pieter Bruegel the Elder in its elevated, bird's-eye view, the present landscape depicts early morning. Rubens frequently used the time of day to set the mood of his landscapes. Here, dawn is suggested by the contrast between the dark foreground at left and the bright light that pours in above the trees. The overall effect is that of a plein air experience, one that challenges Titian in its bravura brushwork.

More from Old Masters

View All
View All