Anthony Van Dyck (1599 – 1641) | Etude De Buste Provenant De La Collection Julius S Held

Anthony Van Dyck (1599 – 1641) | Etude De Buste Provenant De La Collection Julius S Held

25 000

Dimensions H. 25 cm × l. 14 cm



Sir Anthony van Dyck
ANTWERP 1599 – 1641 LONDON

Black and white chalk on blue-green paper 254 by 135
16ème siècle

128 RUE LA BOETIE, PARIS, France - 75008
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Sotheby’s 7 july 2011 lot 11
Prof. Julius S. Held (bears his mark, verso, not in Lugt)

In this characterful figure study, Van Dyck concentrates on the positioning of the sitter’s hands – one resting on the sash, the other holding a glove – and has only indicated the figure’s face in the most cursory manner. Although the drawing does not appear to have been directly used as a preparatory study for any surviving painting, the overall pose is extremely similar to that seen in a portrait of an unknown man (1) and the positioning of the sitter’s right hand is also very close to another painted portrait, also of an unknown sitter, in the Ca’ d’Oro, Venice (2) Both of those paintings date from Van Dyck’s Genoa period, circa 1627-28, but as Dr. Christopher Brown has kindly pointed out, the rapid, confident construction of the hands and the swiftly hatched shading seen here are much more typical of the artist’s drawings dating from the next phase of his career, the second Antwerp period, 1628-32. Perhaps the closest comparison of all in terms of technique is with the study for the Lamentation, in the British Museum (3) and in the realm of portrait drawings, there are also many similarities with the important study in the Pierpont Morgan Library for the portrait of Anna van Thielen and her daughter, executed circa 1631-32.(4) One should also not ignore in this context the great series of portrait drawings that Van Dyck executed circa 1627-35, in preparation for plates in the Iconography, the highly influential set of portrait prints based on Van Dyck’s drawings, depicting major artistic and cultural figures of the day. Although those studies are generally on white, not blue paper, there are certainly similarities in handling with, for example, the Chatsworth portrait of Karel van Mallery.(5)

Another portrait drawing by Van Dyck in which the concentration is entirely on the hands and drapery, and the sitter’s face is only cursorily indicated, is the splendid study on blue paper, in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (6) for the 1633 portrait of Queen Henrietta Maria and her Dwarf, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., while also very similar in general approach to the present sheet, if somewhat more rapidly drawn, is the study for the 1634-35 portrait of Justus van Meerstraeten, in Christ Church, Oxford.(7)

1. S.J. Barnes, N. De Poorter, O. Millar, H. Vey, Van Dyck. A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings, New Haven/London 2004, cat. II.83
2. Ibid, cat. II.80
3. H. Vey, Die Zeichnungen Anton van Dycks, Brussels 1962, cat. 130; C. Brown, Van Dyck Drawings, exhib. cat., New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, 1991, cat. 50
4. Vey, op. cit., cat. 185; Brown, op. cit., cat. 52
5. Vey, op. cit., cat. 277; Brown, op. cit., cat. 61
6. Vey, op. cit., cat. 206; Brown, op. cit., cat. 66
7. Vey, op. cit., cat. 202; Brown, op. cit., cat. 77

SOLD 49,250£ in 2011