Monday, 26 September 2016

Former "Brueghel the Younger?" now for sale as "Brueghel the Younger"!

Dorotheum, from Vienna, Austria, sells on 18 October 2016 a "Pieter Brueghel II" Flemish proverb tondo, estimated at 180,000 to 220,000 Euro.

It is the same painting I highlighted in my 25 May 2016 post on an auction by Wannenes. It was then "Attributed to Pieter Brueghel (1564-1638)" and estimated at 1,600 to 1,800 Euro only. I discussed the painting and other examples of the same image (engraving, drawing) extensively, but didn't dare to conclude that it really was by Pieter Brueghel II (stating "it seems quite certain that the painting for sale is either by Brueghel II or more likely a direct copy after a painting by him". However, I indicated that the estimate was way too low in any case (even as an old copy), and said it "should be worth a lot more than the estimate, at least 10,000 Euro." I haven't been able to confirm it online yet, but a good source tells me it eventually was sold for 60,000 Euro.

Dorotheum, which doesn't seem to list any provenance, not even the Wannenes sale, had it expertised by Klaus Ertz, who is the current leading expert on Brueghel the Younger, and he has confirmed it as an original work by Brueghel (and also probably an original composition by him, not a copy after his father). It has also been reframed inbetween, the current frame looks more like the original probably. The work may also have been lightly cleaned, or the picture is simply somewhat lighter.

The auction catalogue offers a detailed description of the work and its origins, listing some other versions I hadn't found. It doesn't seem to list the above drawing from the Museum in Dresden though, which is somewhat strange. While I'm a bit disappointed that the one time I had the chance to discover a real Brueghel II, I was too cautious and didn't believ it wise to promote it to you as the real deal, I'm still glad that I did post about it and indicated the origins and qualities of it (and the way too low estimate of the original auction). Very curious to see what it will fetch now of course! The estimate seems cautious for a newly discovered Brueghel II original.

UPDATE: sold for 216,000 Euro, good estimate by the auction house, serious profit for the seller and a bit sour for the seller at the previous auction of course...


  1. Chapeau and gratulation for knowledge and taste!! Stephan

  2. Thanks. Obviously, I'm less inclined to draw attention to all blog posts where my knowledge and taste are snubbed by the buyers :-)

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