Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640Portrait of a Young Man in Armor, ca. 1620Oil on canvas, 64.8 x 50.8 cm (25-1/2 x 20 in.)By the 1620s, Peter Paul Rubens was recognized as the foremost painter of decorative projects outside Italy, such as altarpieces and ceiling paintings for churches. He also produced portraits and mythological and biblical pictures for private patrons. This bust-length picture of a young man has traditionally been identified as a young captain but is almost certainly merely a work of practice called tronie. The unknown sitter wears armor with a red sash or scarf thrown over one shoulder. The painting is a study head that was used for reference by the artist or his workshop assistants in the painting of other works.Provenance:Probably the painting listed as no. 129 in the posthumous inventory of Peter Paul Rubens’s estate, 1640 [1]Mr. Alfred SeymourMiss Seymour (by inheritance), by 1920Miss Seymour, her sale, Christie’s, London, January 23, 1920, lot 98, as The Duke of Burgundy, to Colnaghi, London [2]Colnaghi, London (in partnership with Horace Buttery, London, and Agnew, London) 1920 [3]Acquired by Leonard Gow, Glasgow, from Colnaghi (Colnaghi stock #A892) for £9000, July 31, 1920 [4][Duveen?] [5]Collection Henry Goldman (d. 1937), New York, by 1927–37 [6]Mrs. Henry Goldman (by inheritance), 1937–1952 [7]Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1952 [8]Provenance Notes:[1] Walter Liedtke (catalog entry for Timken Museum of Art: European Works of Art, American Paintings and Russian Icons in the Putnam Foundation Collection [San Diego, 1996], pp. 95–99, ill.) argues against the earlier identification (London, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, 1927, Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art: Memorial Volume, exh. cat. by Sir Martin Conway, p. 106, no. 258) with a portrait in the collection of Vicenzo II, 7th Duke of Mantua, at the time of his death, 1627.[2] An annotated copy of this auction catalog exists at the Getty Research Institute (1920 Jan. 23 LoChS; copy 2).[3] Per emails of March 29 and 30, 2005, from Tim Warner-Johnson of Colnaghi [copies in object file], Agnew was a half owner of the painting at the time of the sale to Gow. It is not known exactly when Agnew purchased this share; it may have been purchased from Buttery.[4] Per email of March 29, 2005, from Tim Warner-Johnson of Colnaghi.[5] There is an undocumented notation in the Timken files indicating possible connection with Agnew and/or Duveen during the period prior to Henry Goldman’s acquisition (by 1927). Agnew’s involvement may now be explained by his part ownership in 1920. An inquiry to Colnaghi, London, has clarified details of the 1920–21 transactions. Apparently the painting was owned jointly by Colnaghi, Horace Buttery, and Agnew. Agnew is listed as half owner at the time of sale to Gow. (It is possible that Agnew bought out Buttery’s share; according to Colnaghi, the entries in their ledger are partially crossed out and unclear on the details of the shares.) Buttery was a noted London art restorer (later he became the first appointed to care for the collections at Kenwood House).[6] Conway, 1927, has the piece “Lent by Henry Goldman, Esq.” This is probably the year of acquisition, since W. R. Valentiner, a close art advisor to Goldman, in 1927 refers to a “Meleager and Atalanta” as “the Rubens” in Goldman’s collection (in Art News XXV, no. 32; pp. 3–4).[7] McCall (New York, New York World’s Fair, 1939, Masterpieces of Art, Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300 to 1800, exh. cat. by George Henry McCall [W. R. Valentiner, ed.], pp. 156–57, no. 320. pl. 60) has the piece “Lent by Mrs. Henry Goldman, New York,” as do Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held (Rubens in America, [New York, 1947], p. 27, no. 9, pl. 4).[8] Acquired from Wildenstein.n.b. Goldman purchased Rembrandt’s “St. Bartholomew” now in the Timken’s collection from Duveen in 1912. An agent of Agnew had acquired it earlier that year. Both the Rembrandt and the Rubens were acquired from Wildenstein in 1952.Given the documented ownership and exhibition history of the “Portrait of a Young Man,” it seems clear that the painting remained in the Goldman family throughout the World War II era, and there is no reason to doubt its provenance during that period.



 

Peter Paul Rubens, 1577-1640
Portrait of a Young Man in Armor, ca. 1620
Oil on canvas, 64.8 x 50.8 cm (25-1/2 x 20 in.)

By the 1620s, Peter Paul Rubens was recognized as the foremost painter of decorative projects outside Italy, such as altarpieces and ceiling paintings for churches. He also produced portraits and mythological and biblical pictures for private patrons. This bust-length picture of a young man has traditionally been identified as a young captain but is almost certainly merely a work of practice called tronie. The unknown sitter wears armor with a red sash or scarf thrown over one shoulder. The painting is a study head that was used for reference by the artist or his workshop assistants in the painting of other works.

Provenance:

Probably the painting listed as no. 129 in the posthumous inventory of Peter Paul Rubens’s estate, 1640 [1]
Mr. Alfred Seymour
Miss Seymour (by inheritance), by 1920
Miss Seymour, her sale, Christie’s, London, January 23, 1920, lot 98, as The Duke of Burgundy, to Colnaghi, London [2]
Colnaghi, London (in partnership with Horace Buttery, London, and Agnew, London) 1920 [3]
Acquired by Leonard Gow, Glasgow, from Colnaghi (Colnaghi stock #A892) for £9000, July 31, 1920 [4]
[Duveen?] [5]
Collection Henry Goldman (d. 1937), New York, by 1927–37 [6]
Mrs. Henry Goldman (by inheritance), 1937–1952 [7]
Acquired by the Putnam Foundation, 1952 [8]

Provenance Notes:

[1] Walter Liedtke (catalog entry for Timken Museum of Art: European Works of Art, American Paintings and Russian Icons in the Putnam Foundation Collection [San Diego, 1996], pp. 95–99, ill.) argues against the earlier identification (London, Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts, 1927, Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Flemish and Belgian Art: Memorial Volume, exh. cat. by Sir Martin Conway, p. 106, no. 258) with a portrait in the collection of Vicenzo II, 7th Duke of Mantua, at the time of his death, 1627.

[2] An annotated copy of this auction catalog exists at the Getty Research Institute (1920 Jan. 23 LoChS; copy 2).

[3] Per emails of March 29 and 30, 2005, from Tim Warner-Johnson of Colnaghi [copies in object file], Agnew was a half owner of the painting at the time of the sale to Gow. It is not known exactly when Agnew purchased this share; it may have been purchased from Buttery.

[4] Per email of March 29, 2005, from Tim Warner-Johnson of Colnaghi.

[5] There is an undocumented notation in the Timken files indicating possible connection with Agnew and/or Duveen during the period prior to Henry Goldman’s acquisition (by 1927). Agnew’s involvement may now be explained by his part ownership in 1920. An inquiry to Colnaghi, London, has clarified details of the 1920–21 transactions. Apparently the painting was owned jointly by Colnaghi, Horace Buttery, and Agnew. Agnew is listed as half owner at the time of sale to Gow. (It is possible that Agnew bought out Buttery’s share; according to Colnaghi, the entries in their ledger are partially crossed out and unclear on the details of the shares.) Buttery was a noted London art restorer (later he became the first appointed to care for the collections at Kenwood House).

[6] Conway, 1927, has the piece “Lent by Henry Goldman, Esq.” This is probably the year of acquisition, since W. R. Valentiner, a close art advisor to Goldman, in 1927 refers to a “Meleager and Atalanta” as “the Rubens” in Goldman’s collection (in Art News XXV, no. 32; pp. 3–4).

[7] McCall (New York, New York World’s Fair, 1939, Masterpieces of Art, Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture from 1300 to 1800, exh. cat. by George Henry McCall [W. R. Valentiner, ed.], pp. 156–57, no. 320. pl. 60) has the piece “Lent by Mrs. Henry Goldman, New York,” as do Jan-Albert Goris and Julius S. Held (Rubens in America, [New York, 1947], p. 27, no. 9, pl. 4).

[8] Acquired from Wildenstein.

n.b. Goldman purchased Rembrandt’s “St. Bartholomew” now in the Timken’s collection from Duveen in 1912. An agent of Agnew had acquired it earlier that year. Both the Rembrandt and the Rubens were acquired from Wildenstein in 1952.

Given the documented ownership and exhibition history of the “Portrait of a Young Man,” it seems clear that the painting remained in the Goldman family throughout the World War II era, and there is no reason to doubt its provenance during that period.