Monday, 28 November 2016

"Antwerp School": Goswin van der Weyden?

Sala Retiro, from Spain, sells on 30 November 2016 an "Antwerp School, ca. 1530" circumcision, a large panel (130 by 100 cm) estimated at 19,000 Euro.

The auction catalogue says nothing about the provenance of the work. But thanks to the RKD, we can connect this sale with some much older catalogue entries and an interesting name.

In 1923, the work was in the Rothschild collection in London, and seen there by Max J. Friedländer who attributed it to Goswin Van der Weyden. The work was then sold in 1968 by Sotheby's for £5,000, and bought by a certain Marsworth. It is now listed in th RKD database as Attributed to Goswin van der Weyden. And now it suddenly reappears in Spain, with quite a lot of damage to the painting and the frame to boot, and no mention of Van der Weyden at all.

Goswin van der Weyden (1465-1538) is an interesting figure. In 19th and early 20th century art history, he was considered to be the son of Rogier Van der Weyden, and many paintings who were derivative of Rogier were attributed to him (like the relation between Pieter Brueghel the Elder and the Younger). Later research revealed though that he was the grandson, not the son (an otherwise unknown painter Peter van der Weyden was the link), and that he worked in Antwerp between about 1500 and his death. Only a few works are with some certainty attributed to him.

This work, while good and very interesting in its own right, seems not to be of the same high standards as these few certain works, so is better described as Circle of Van der Weyden, but it would warrant a good scientific study to see if the attribution to Goswin still has any merit. But I would guess that it would sell easier with the provenance and attribution than without... I would also like to know whether the damage is old, and has been revealed by cleaning it, or whether it really has happened between 1968 and now, which would be a real shame.

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