A drawing by Toussaint Dubreuil resurfaces

1. Toussaint Dubreuil (1561-1602)
Study of a Man
Pen and brown
ink - 38 x 16 cm
Sold 11th April 2008
by SVV Delvaux
Photo : SVV Delvaux

12/4/08 — Art Market — Toussaint Dubreuil — A sheet presented as being from the XVIth century Italian school and annotated Michel-Ange (ill. 1), drew high bids at the Delvaux sale on 11th April (no. 69) reaching 56,000 euros (without charges) after an estimate of around 1,000/1,5000 euros.
The drawing can be directly linked to a very accomplished sheet from the Louvre (ill. 2) ascribed to Toussaint Dubreuil (1561-1602), a supposed project for the small Galerie of the Palais du Louvre where a section of it was to be decorated with representations of illustrious men. Jacob Bunel, with the help of his wife Marguerite Bahuche, executed the decor. Their collaboration had either been planned from the start — since Bunel was famous for this type of work and to follow a practice of artistic “marriages” encouraged by Henry IV — or because they were assigned the project after the brutal and precocious death of Dubreuil.

2. Toussaint Dubreuil (1561-1602)
Antique Warrior
and his Servant

Black chalk, pen, wash and brown ink,
red chalk, heightened with gold - 54.9 x 34.5 cm
Paris, Musée du Louvre
Photo : Louvre

The work sold at Drouot, although it no longer carried any identification, was in fact perfectly well-known and had been published by Dominique Cordellier in Mélanges en Hommage à Pierre Rosenberg, 2001 in his article “Quelques feuilles de Toussaint Dubreuil”, p. 161, figure 6, as being by Toussaint Dubreuil. It had come up for auction under this name in Paris, Hotel Druout, rooms 1 & 7 on 4 June 1993 (SVV Poulain Le Fur, expert de Bayser). M. de Bayser announced the painter’s name before the start of the bidding. Nevertheless, this case shows how a work that has been correctly identified and published can, in just a few years, completely lose its attribution, especially when family estates are settled.

Version française

Sylvain Kerspern, jeudi 17 avril 2008

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