Peter Brueghel The Younger 'The Lawyers Office' oil on panel
Lot 52
Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Antwerp 1564-1638) The Payment of the Tithes 54.2 x 86.6 cm. (21 3/8 x 34 1/8 in.) the reverse stamped with the coat-of-arms and the hands of the City of Antwerp
Sold for £423,200 (US$ 724,132) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
(n/a) Pieter Brueghel the Younger (Antwerp 1564-1638)
The Payment of the Tithes
signed '.P.BREVGHEL.' (lower left)
oil on panel
54.2 x 86.6 cm. (21 3/8 x 34 1/8 in.)
the reverse stamped with the coat-of-arms and the hands of the City of Antwerp

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Possibly W.N.Arnold Collection, Norwich
    Anonymous sale, Christie's London, 26 November 1971, lot 3 (sold 5,000 Gns)
    where purchased by the present owner's family

    LITERATURE:
    Possibly G. Marlier Pierre Brueghel le Jeune, Brussels, 1969, p.439, cat.no. 30
    K. Ertz, Pieter Brueghel der Jungere, Die Gemälde, Germany 1998/2000, vol. I, cat. no. F531, illus. p. 516 (possibly also identifiable with cat. nos. F534 and F542)

    The composition of the present painting was evidently a popular one, given the large number of versions known. In his 2000 catalogue raisonné on Brueghel's work, Klaus Ertz lists 19 signed and dated examples and further undated versions are known.

    The composition of The Payment of the Tithes within Pieter Brueghel II's oeuvre is interesting in that it does not appear to originate in his father's studio. The painting marks a departure from those of Brueghel I with the contemporary figures and distinctive characterization of the faces.

    The many versions of The Payment of the Tithes can be divided into two distinct groups, those with a dark cloth on the far wall beneath the window and the far left figure wearing red, and those with plaited rushes and the far left figure wearing grey. The present painting is of the former type, which was, for the most part, produced in Brueghel's studio between 1618 and 1622. However, there are three exceptions to this; two pictures dated 1616 and 1617, and a later example dated 1626 (offered at Drouot, Paris, 27 June 2003). The signature also provides a terminus post quem for the present painting, given that Brueghel changed the spelling of his name from BRVEGHEL to BREVGHEL after 1616. The most probable dating for the current picture is therefore between 1617 and 1622. However, given the existence of the example dated 1626, a dating of a little later than 1622 cannot be ruled out.

    We are grateful to Dr Christina Currie, of the Institut Royal du Patrimonie Artistique, Brussels, for her assistance in the cataloguing of this lot. Her forthcoming Scienta Artis will publish her research on the work of Pieter Brueghel II.
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