Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens To Be Sold By Christie’s

London | United Kingdom

It is always exciting when a new work by one of the great masters is rediscovered. One of these rediscoveries that has sent the artwork into a tizzy is a unique painting by the Baroque master Rubens. The portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, was until recently, attributed as the work of one of the artist’s followers. Covered with a layer of green over-paint, which prevented accurate analysis of the picture, the portrait was gifted to the New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1960.


Purchased at auction, Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, was purchased by its current owner for US$20 000, 30 times the lower than its current estimate. It was only after a transformative restoration process by its new owner that the true artist of the masterpiece was relieved. The portrait of Clara Serena Rubens, the only daughter of Sir Peter Paul Rubens will be offered for sale by Christie’s on the 5th of July in London at the London Old Masters Evening Sale. The Head of Old Master Paintings at Christie’s London, Henry Pettifer commented:

“Rubens’ paintings of his family members, freer and bolder than those of his wealthy clientele, count amongst his greatest achievements in portraiture. This spontaneous likeness of Clara Serena, his only daughter with his wife Isabella Brant, painted around the time of her untimely death at the age of twelve, is extraordinary for its intimacy and timeless appeal. Its appearance on the market this summer comes after the picture has featured in recent high profile exhibitions at the Rubenshuis in Antwerp and the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, and it is the first major work by Rubens to appear at Christie’s in London since the record breaking sale of Lot and his Daughters in July 2016″.

Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens
Portrait of Clara Serena Rubens | Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen 1577 - 1640 Antwerp) | Oil on panel | 36.2 x 26.4 cm | Estimate: £3 – 5 million

Up to now, the portrait has been on display in New York City and will be heading to Hong Kong where it will be on display from 24 to 28 May 2018. Thereafter the piece will be displayed in London leading up to the historic sale where it is expected to be met with great apatite from the art collecting world.

The exceptionally intimate portrait was never meant for public display and formed part of Ruben’s private collection. The level of intimacy between the artist and the subject is clearly visible in its composition, the familiar detail of the subject as well as the feel of the portrait. The loving glare found in the girl’s eye shows evident signs of admiration, love, intimacy and affection.

Clara Serena Rubens
Old Masters specialist Maja Markovic noted “This close-up of Clara Serena’s forehead shows thick, impasto paint worked with a badger-hair brush”
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