30 April 2010
Hendrik van Balen I (Antwerp c. 1574/5-1632) and Jan Breughel I (Brussels 1568-1625 Antwerp)
The Gathering of Manna
oil on copper
20 x 28 in. (50.8 x 71.2 cm.)
(Possibly) Prof. R. Oertel (photo Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte, Munich, no dimensions given).
(Possibly) Georges de Zuttere Terschnieck, Essen, Belgium, 1935 (photo Rubenianum, Antwerp, no dimensions given).
Michel van Gelder, Château Zeecrabbe, Uccle, near Brussels, Belgium, by whom sold via the following,
with Maurice Lagrand, Brussels; Dorotheum, Vienna, June 1944, where acquired by
The German Reich, possibly for the planned Führermuseum, Linz (listed in the 'Anhang' of the Linz Project, no inventory number); sent for storage to the salt mines in Altaussee, Austria, on 20 November 1944.
Transferred to the Munich Central Collecting Point by Allied Forces (Mü. 33900) and restituted to
The Kingdom of Belgium, 20 October 1946; Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 30-31 January 1950, lot 47.
with Chaucer Fine Arts, London, 1988, where acquired by the present owner.
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B. Werche, Hendrick van Balen (1575-1632): Ein Antwerpener Kabinettbildmaler der Rubenszeit, Turnhout, 2004, I, p. 138, no. A10; II, p. 320, illustrated, as 'location unknown'.
Described by Werche as a 'qualitätvollen Arbeit' (work of quality), this richly detailed copper belongs to the best group of refined cabinet pictures for which the artist is most admired. Werche proposes a date of circa 1621, pointing to the close similarity between the centrally placed female gesturing upwards and the figure painted as the personification of Air, in the picture of 1621 in the Louvre (inv. 1093). Van Balen collaborated frequently throughout his career with his friend Jan Brueghel the Elder and Klaus Ertz endorses his participation in this work, which may, as Werche suggests, be confined to the still-life elements in the foreground.
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