Anthony van Dyck – not for sale

Anthony van Dyck
(Antwerp 1599 - 1641 Blackfriars, London)

Christ on the Cross
Verso: Fragment of a Sketch of a larger Composition

Pen and brown ink, 159 x 73 mm

Provenance:
Unknown art dealer, Vienna, 1924;
Miss D. Redpath;
her sale, London,Sotheby’s, 25 march 1965, lot 49 (with image);
art dealer B. Houthakker, Amsterdam, exhibited in Houthakker’s sale catalogue Master Drawings (1965), no. 21,
Piet de Boer;
P & N. de Boer, Amsterdam, inv. no. B 401

Exhibited:
Master Drawings, Bernard Houthakker, Amsterdam, 1965, no. 21;
Oude tekeningen, een kreuze uit de verzameling P. en N. de Boer, Laren, Singer Museum, 1966, no. 72, fig. 19;
Amsterdam 2015, no. 34 (upstairs exhibition)

Literature:
Benesch ‘Ein Skizzenbuchfragment von Van Dyck’, in Belvedere, V, 1924, pp. 6-7 (unknown art dealer, Vienna);
Vey, Bulletin Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, X, 1959, p. 21, pl. 9 (as unknown collection);
Vey, Die Zeichnungen Anton van Dycks, Brussels 1962, no. 122, pl. 164 (as unknown collection)

 

The De Boer drawing is a representation of Christ when he already passed away, according to Vey. This type of crucifixion also occurs mirrored on Van Dyck’s own paintings in Malines (Minderbroeder church, but currently placed in St. Rombouts church) and Lille (Musee Lille, 224) and is also close related to a drawing with studies by the artist of the Crucifixion in the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (inv.no. 34698). The rather coarse hatching suggests that the De Boer sheet must derive from Van Dyck’s first stay in Italy (1621-1625), according to Vey. Benesch thought that the sheet could be the first design for the painting in Malines. Certain is that the De Boer sheet has been a part of much larger design for a crucifixion. Benesch also suggested on base of the sketchy appearance, that it had been part of a lost sketchbook. The sheet has been lost for long time but appeared in 1965 in the sale catalogue by the art dealer Bernard Houthakker. The drawing is a striking representation of both van Dyck’s powerful studies with pen and ink, and of his religious depth.

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