Abel Grimmer (Antwerp circa 1570 - 1618/9), Mary and Joseph halting at an inn (Luc. 2). Photo Sotheby's

oil on panel, circular; inscribed lower right: LVC. 2; diameter: 25.1 cm. Estimate 30,000—50,000 EUR. Lot Sold 300,750 EUR

PROVENANCE: Monsieur Ch. Delbeke, Antwerp, by 1935.

EXHIBITED: Antwerp, Antwerpsche propagandaweken. Tentoonstelling van Kunstwerken uit Antwerpsche Verzamelingen, 20 April - 19 May 1935, no. 63 (lent by Mr. Ch. Delbeke).

LITERATURE AND REFERENCES:. R. de Bertier de Sauvigny, Jacob et Abel Grimmer: catalogue raisonné, Brussels 1991, reproduced in reverse p. 40, plate 14 (with incorrect provenance and as signed and dated 1592, see pp. 197-8).

NOTE: This circular panel originally belonged to a series of the twelve months, where it represented December. These series in its turn were based on a set of engravings by Adriaen Collaert (circa 1560-1618), after works by Hans Bol (1534-1593), which had been published by Sadeleer in 1585. It was a popular theme to which the multiple versions by Grimmer himself attest. These numerous versions possibly let to the confusion of De Bertier de Sauvigny, reproducing the present painting, in reverse, as plate 14 in his monograph of 1991, and wrongly identifying it with another circular painting out of a series of months belonging to A. Schloss, Paris, before 1940.1

In a letter to the present owner R. de Bertier de Sauvigny confirms the attribution to Abel Grimmer and compares it to a signed, rectangular work in the Prado Museum, Madrid.2 The same composition, signed and dated 1592, is in the Kapel van Notre Dame de Montfeucon en Velay (Haute Loire), as also part of a series,3 as is another one, recorded at Galerie St.-Lucas, Vienna by 1936, also of rectangular format.4 De Bertier de Sauvigny mentions the use of colour and the handling of these paintings as very characteristic for Grimmer.

1. See R. de Bertier de Sauvigny under Literature, pp. 197-8, reproduced p. 40, plate 14.
2. op.cit., p. 338, reproduced plate 81.
3. Oil on panel, 52 by 67 cm.
4. op.cit., p. 230, cat. no. LVII, reproduced plate 114.

Sotheby's. Old Master Paintings Sale, 10 May 11, Amsterdam

Abel Grimmer (ca. 1570, Antwerp – ca. 1620, Antwerp), was a Flemish Baroque painter. He learned to paint from his father, the painter Jacob Grimmer. According to the RKD his earliest dated work is from 1586 and his latest dated work reads "162", so after 1620.[1] Most of his works are landscapes and buildings using a great insight into perspective. (Wikipedia)