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Circle of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Westphalia 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Circle of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Westphalia 1577-1640 Antwerp)

Portrait of a gentleman, probably Peter van Hecke; and Portrait of a Lady, probably his wife, Clara Fourment.

Details
Circle of Sir Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Westphalia 1577-1640 Antwerp)
Portrait of a gentleman, probably Peter van Hecke; and Portrait of a Lady, probably his wife, Clara Fourment.
oil on panel
44 5/8 x 35¼ in. (113.5 x 89.5 cm.), each
a pair (2)
Provenance
Baron von Grote, Berlin.
Purchased by Hackenbroich in Brussels.
Baron Max von Goldschmidt-Rothschild, Frankfurt am Main by 1926; by descent to
Baron Albert von Goldschmidt-Rothschild by 1950.
Brussels, art market, circa 1950, whence acquired by the family of the present owner.
Literature
O. Götz, Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Alter Malerei aus Privatbestitz, Sommer 1925, exhibition catalogue, Frankfurt, 1926, nos. 58-9, pl. LXXI, as 'Van Dyck'.
H. Vlieghe, Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard, XIX, Portraits II, London, 1987, pp. 116-19, under nos. 107-8, figs. 125-26, as '?Rubens' (listed provisionally as copies, since not seen in the original).
P. Sutton and M.E. Wieseman, The Age of Rubens, exhibition catalogue, Boston, 1993, p. 255, under nos. 15a-15b, note 13, as 'copies'.
Exhibited
Frankfurt am Main, Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Ausstellung von Meisterwerken Alter Malerei aus Privatbesitz, 1926, nos. 58-9, as 'Van Dyck'.

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Lot Essay

These portraits repeat the compositions of originals by Rubens that entered the collection of the Mauritshuis, The Hague, in 2003. A black chalk study for the male portrait is in the British Museum, London (see P. Sutton and M. Wieseman, op. cit., p. 254, fig. 1). The identification of the sitters as Peter van Hecke the Younger (1591-1645) and Clara Fourment (1593-1643), the older sister of Rubens' second wife, Hélène, dates at least to the late-nineteenth century when Max Rooses first published Rubens's prototypes (M. Rooses, L'oeuvre de P.P. Rubens, Antwerp, IV, 1890, pp. 192-93, no. 966), although it most likely stems from a much older tradition. The couple was part of Rubens's intimate circle: their families were closely linked to the artist through multiple marriages and he was the godfather of one of their children. Peter and Clara were born into two of the wealthiest and most powerful families of silk, tapestry and diamond merchants in Antwerp. Peter would successfully continue his family business and Clara too, would eventually deal in the lace trade.

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