Monday, 6 March 2017

Bruges school, ca. 1550: Pieter Pourbus?

Brussels Art Auctions, from Belgium obviously, sells on 14 March 2017 a "Bruges School, ca. 1550" portrait of a lady, estimated at 7,000 to 10,000 Euro.

It is a very fine portrait, much better than most of these "School of" works, and I wonder if it isn't by the master of the Bruges Portrait school of the time, Pieter Pourbus the Elder.

While the hands and arms are perhaps not of the finest quality (though still very good, and perhaps overpainted somewhat in the past?), the head is very accurate and compelling. Very few painters from Bruges from the period would have been able to produce such a realistic, convincing work.

Pieter Pourbus (1523-1584) is the first of the Pourbus family to become famous; descendants include Frans Pourbus the Elder and the Younger, and Pieter the Younger. He was  Dutch but worked almost whole his life in Bruges. The paintings which are attributed to him are of varying quality, but some of the better ones are closely related to the composition we have here.

A very good portrait was sold by Christie's in 2006 for $132,000.

But on the other hand we also have much more schematised works like the portrait of Jacquemyne Buuck from the Groeningemuseum.

Benson, portrait of Anne Stafford

Pourbus, Portrait of a Lady, Metropolitan Museum

The only other painter from the period and region who in my opinion was capable of such good portraits was Ambrosius Benson, but the work for sale more closely resembles Pourbus in my opinion.

But whoever painted it, 7,000 Euro seems cheap to me and it should be worth closer to 20,000 Euro, also considering its relatively large size of 95 by 68 cm (large for the type of painting that is).

UPDATE: note how a very similar type of bonnet can be seen in a ca. 1550 small Pieter Pourbus painting from the National Trust building "Ascott".

No comments:

Post a Comment