Thursday, 15 December 2016

Variation on the Tower of Babel, probably from the Francken clan

Dorotheum, from Austria, sells on 22 December 2016 a "Flemish School, 17th century" Tower of Babel of unusual dimensions (25 by 76 cm), estimated at 4,000 to 6,000 Euro.

I could find no other examples of this composition, which may be a (large) fragment of a bigger (higher) work: the cutting off of the top of the Tower is a bit strange.

The closest examples are some works by Frans Francken (I or II). The remarkable blue roofs on the Tower can be seen in the above Francken from ca. 1620.

The use of big figures in the foreground which nearly dwarf the actual tower is also rather unusual, but has been practiced most often by Francken.

The work for sale seems, looking at both the composition and the style, to have been inspired by the works of Frans Francken, and is good enough to be by one of the lesser or later members of the clan, like Frans Francken III.

E.g. the  boy on the left can be compared with similar figures in other Francken works.

The King, and his turban / crown, also is comparable to other works by one of the Franckens.

In 2008, it was for sale in Italy at Blindarte as a work by Frans Francken II with an estimate of 25,000 to 35,000 Euro, which was a bit too much. However, the current estimate seems too low,  more of a come-and-get-me one, and the work should be worth about 8,000 Euro.

UPDATE: sold for 5,000 Euro only.

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