ATELIER DE PIERRE-PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN, 1577 - ANVERS, 1640)

Lot 8
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25 000 - 30 000 EUR
Result with fees
Result : 29 900 EUR

ATELIER DE PIERRE-PAUL RUBENS (SIEGEN, 1577 - ANVERS, 1640)

Study of a seated woman, probably Hélène Fourment
Oil on canvas
87 x 56 cm

This painting, representing a new image in the production of Rubens and his entourage, comes from an old private collection in the South of France.
It was certainly sold in lot 710 of the after-death sale of Rubens' studio in 1640. Although this sketched painting is still full of mystery, certain clues help us to understand its elements. For example, the strange light-coloured section that connects the model's face to her hand in the background is understood as a veil, which falls out of her hair, as in other known compositions such as the Holy Family preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago. In this last painting, we also find the profile pose and the almost identical arrangement of the hands, modified only by the addition of the figure of the child, as well as the sleeve in a brilliant blue, the veil descending from the head to the shoulder, and the hairstyle.
In addition, an oil sketch composed on a 17th century oak panel, which constitutes lot 9 of this sale, confirms the reading of these elements. The veil is more detailed, and the frame is enlarged. The entire silhouette of the model can be seen, sitting on a carved wooden seat, barefoot under her dress. This last detail is essential: it indicates that this young woman, painted as an allegory of Melancholy, is in an intimate and familiar world, facing a painter she knows, probably from Rubens' studio. The resemblance of the figure to Hélène Fourment, Rubens' young wife of 1630, who often served as his model, is all the more striking. The painting allows us to imagine a posing session during which Rubens would have asked his young wife to adopt a pensive attitude, motionless for his students, in a pose immortalized in both works.
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