Yesterday the Rubenshuis announced that it has a ‘new' Anthony van Dyck on loan. In addition to the small portrait of Clara Serena by Peter Paul Rubens, this is the second important loan in a short amount of time.
The priest Jamie MacLeod (Derbyshire, England) once purchased a painting for 500 euro. In the popular TV programme ‘Antiques Roadshow' (BBC), it was revealed to be an authentic Van Dyck, the most valuable find in the history of the television show. After restoration and research, it was estimated to have a value of 500.000 euro. The Van Dyck came into the possession of a private collector. Ben van Beneden, the Director of the Rubenshuis, met the current owner and made an arrangement for a long-term loan.
The portrait is a study for one of the seven Brussels' aldermen on a life-size painting, which was destroyed in 1695 during a French bombardment of Brussels. A composition sketch also still exists for the group portrait and four studies for the heads. The portrait in the Rubenshuis is one of the four studies. The two others are found in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and a final one is in a private collection. The sketch was finished after Van Dyck's death in order to stimulate sales. During the restoration the later additions were removed. The difference between the two versions is quite remarkable. With a few brushstrokes, Van Dyck knew how to capture a personality.
Up to and through 10 February 2016 the portrait is to be seen in the Rubenshuis. Afterwards it will depart, along with the ‘Self-portrait' of Van Dyck to the Frick Collection in New York, where it will make up a part of a monographic exhibition on Van Dyck until the middle of June. The self-portrait of Van Dyck, from the Rubenshuis's permanent collection, was attributed to Rubens up until recently. MA-XRF research ascertained that it is a work by Van Dyck.
A ‘New' Van Dyck-400 years old yet brand new
From 18 November 2015 through 13 February 2016
Rubenshuis, Wapper 9-11, Antwerp
(News item November 18, 2015)