Louis XIII

[FRANS POURBUS THE YOUNGER (1569 – 1622), Louis XIII (1601 – 1643), King of France, Oil on unlined canvas: 27 x 21 ½ in. (68.5 x 54.5 cm.). Inscribed on reverse: ‘LUDOVICO XIII RE DI FRANCIA FIGLIO DI ENRICO IIII E MARIA DE MEDICI’. Painted c. 1620. Image courtesy of The Weiss Gallery]

The Weiss Gallery, leading dealer in Tudor, Stuart and North European Old Master portraiture, is delighted to present a remarkable collection of seven portraits by Frans Pourbus the Younger (1569 – 1622) in a dedicated exhibition this Winter.

Outside the Medici collection in the Uffizi and Pitti Palace, this will be the largest group of works by Pourbus ever assembled, and is a tribute to Mark Weiss’s dedication to the artist.

Their exhibition, ‘The Master of Truth and Expression,’ for which a catalogue is also available, showcases Pourbus’ extraordinary talent and artistic development, with works from the very first years of his career in the early 1590s as painter of the merchant class, through the first two decades of the 17th century as portraitist of choice for the royal and ducal families of the Hapsburgs, Gonzagas, Medici and Bourbons.

Catherine van Damme

[FRANS POURBUS THE YOUNGER (1569 – 1622), Catherine van Damme. Oil on panel: 41 ¾ x 29 ½ in. (106 x 75 cm.) Painted 1591, Inscribed with an armorial of the de Groote family upper left, and upper right: ‘AETATIS SUAE. 51/ ANNO.DNI.1591’. Inscribed on the reverse of the panel: ‘IONCVRAVWE-CATERINE-VAN-DAMME-HVVSVRAVWF-VAN-MR-FRANCOIS-DE-CROOTE’. Provenance. Private collection, France; with The Weiss Gallery, 1997; Private collection, England. Image courtesy of The Weiss Gallery]

One of the highlights is the magnificent An Unknown Man aged fiftysix, widely regarded as a masterpiece. It has been in the same private collection for over fifty years and has only recently come back onto the market.

Described in 1867 by the renowned art historian Thoré- Bürger as ‘a masterpiece of truth and expression’, it once was part of one of the greatest art collections ever formed, that of Count Lothar Franz von Schönborn (1655 – 1729), for his Castle Weissenstein in Pommersfelden, Germany. There it hung with its pendant, An Unknown Lady aged fifty-four, which is now in the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco in California.

Pourbus’ work can be seen as a bridge between the great Netherlandish tradition of meticulously painted realism, and the broader brushwork and vision of the later Baroque, as espoused by Rubens, who arrived in Mantua the very same year as Pourbus.

That Pourbus shaped the iconography of European royalty is clearly reflected in this group of paintings, as indeed he was portraitist of choice for the most powerful courts in Europe. It is now that he is experiencing, thanks to The Weiss Gallery’s dedication, a renaissance of appreciation.

Portrait of a man aged fifty-six

[FRANS POURBUS THE YOUNGER (1569 – 1622). Portrait of a man aged fifty-six. Oil on panel: 47½ x 38 in. (119.4 x 96.5 cm.) Inscribed upper left: ‘AN.DNI.1591.’ and upper right: ’AETATIS SUAE. 56/ f.pourbus fil.fr.fecit.’ Painted 1591. Image courtesy of The Weiss Gallery]

Gallery owner, Mark Weiss, is “very proud to have assembled such a distinguished group of portraits by one artist, unparalleled in London. I am sure it will generate great interest amongst both museums and collectors alike. These paintings demonstrate the significance of Pourbus’ artistic legacy, and contribute to the continuing reinstatement of this great Master in the canon of 17th-century portraiture.”

The Weiss Gallery has made many notable sales over the past decades, that now grace distinguished private and public collections around the world, including works by Lucas Cranach the Younger, Hans Holbein the Younger and Sir Anthony van Dyck.

The Weiss Gallery (59 Jermyn Street, London, SW1Y 6LX)